Monday, June 2, 2014

We Came, We Ran (Like Girls), We Rocked

What an exciting weekend of running this turned out to be!

First, Saturday was the first day of MTT. It was like the first day of school, only way better. I was literally jumping up and down with excitement as we all gathered in front of Sports Backers stadium. Jill laughed at me, Katie told me I was way too excited for the hour of the morning (as did Kylie), and pretty much everyone else just shook their heads at me knowingly.

It was a beautiful first day of MTT too - the weather was quite lovely this year and I am happy to report that there was no pavement surfing, though we did take advantage of the moment and played a prank on Greg regarding last year's incident.

As we pulled into the stadium I told Kit, Lauren, and Katie to tell Greg that I had fallen again and was in the bathroom cleaning myself up. When we spotted him coming, I disappeared into the ladies and came out looking dejected and angry, clutching a paper towel to my shoulder.

As I approached the group, Greg rushed toward me "Oh my gosh, are you ok???"

"I suck!" I said. "I can't believe I did this again!"

"Let me see it!" says Greg (he always love to see gore and couldn't get enough of staring at last year's wound).


"Come on!"

"Fine!" I said, and whipped the paper towel off of my shoulder, revealing my perfectly fine shoulder. He looked stunned and as the prank washed over him, we both started laughing our butts off and I gave him a bit old sweaty hug.

"Ah haaaa - GOTCHA!"

It's going to be a great year for MTT.

As if that excitement wasn't enough, yesterday was also Run Like a Girl!

I must tell you all, I was kind of nervous about putting together a team for this event. I've never done such a thing before and all I could think was that it would end in disaster; disaster being that it turns out nobody in the world reads this blog or likes me enough to pay $35 to run a race with me. But I am so glad that I did it anyway, because today was a blast! Not only were some of my best long-time running buddies there, but I also got to meet some great new ladies and managed to wrangle some of my friends-turned-newbie-runners into the group too.

Team Run Eat Play RVA! 
From left to right:
Allison, Danielle, Katie, Pat, Jennifer, Teresa, Me, Cassie, Marcey

There were a few ladies who signed up that I didn't find - I'm sorry and please give me a shout to let me know how it went!

We had runners of every kind on the team, from those who were about to earn their first medal to an Iron Woman. But despite this wide range of experience, we all enjoyed each others' company and fellowship (at least I think so!). That is part of what is so awesome about running.

Aside from having a great time as part of Team Run Eat Play RVA, my goal for this race was to PR my 4 mile distance, which I thought meant running faster than a 37:35 (last year's RLaG). That seemed to be pretty achievable, even though I admit my legs felt pretty tired and my feet have been hurting for the past week.

 To achieve this, I lined up near the front of the starting corral along with Allison (Iron Woman) and Jennifer (new-to-me running buddy!). To be honest with you, I was on a mission today and after that starting horn went off, I don't remember very much! Jennifer, Allison, and I all hung together until mile 2 and then Jennifer cooled a bit, so it was just Allison and I. The overall field of runners seemed smaller this year, so there weren't a lot of other ladies around us. The miles ticked off very quickly and neither of us was talking too much, a sure sign of a good effort.

I remarked on that, and Allison said, "Yup, it's feeling kinda hard, but ya know, whenever I feel like I want to slow up I think about my grandma, who died of ovarian cancer, and keep going."

The reason we were running this race was right beside me and wow, was that inspiring. Even though my legs were tired and I wanted to slow up, I urged myself to stick with Allison for the rest of the race. We chatted about what we thought our grandparents would think about us being runners and about who we run for, who we think of when the going gets tough. That last mile thinking about our loved ones watching over us was a beautiful thing.

When we crossed the line, my Garmin read 33:34. I had gotten that PR! But I still had work to do, so after a hug from Allison, I went back up the trail to wait for everyone else and try to snap some photos as they came into the finish. I didn't get everyone - Jennifer ended up crossing just after Allison and I, and then some of the others just seemed to come out of nowhere before I was ready. But I got a few.

Teresa taking it to the finish

Pat rounding the corner to the finish

Marcey, demonstrating some fabulous jazz hands technique
I really am so proud of everyone on Team Run Eat Play RVA (I feel like a den mother or something, which is so weird!). Cheering you all in to the finish was so much fun and so exhilarating.

Then came the icing on the (cup)cake.

When Allison, Jennifer, and I had crossed, we had felt like we may have been among some of the first finishers. There just didn't seem to be many people with medals milling around and we also hadn't been near a lot of others out on the course. It seemed possible that we may have placed, so we decided to wait around until the awards ceremony.

As it turns out, today I finished first in my age group.

When my name was called I really couldn't believe it. I think I've placed 3rd in my age group once or twice before but I certainly didn't expect to ever finish first. My theory is just that I got lucky - the fast runners aged 30-34 must not have shown up or something. I still don't know my chip time, but here is the breakdown from the Almighty Garmin.

Really, the best part of today was hanging out with such an awesome group of ladies. Thank you all so much for coming out and being a part of Team Run Eat Play RVA! I hope that you had as much fun as I did.

Cassie celebrating her first medal with a fabulous leap.

The traditional "made an ugly face" with Marcey

The Symphony Expatriate Contingent
Running Twin Love

Medals and smiles all around

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