I had one last event to run. I ran it last year. It was my first race, free of the GI distress caused by the mess of RnRLV 2011.
This year...it was about a friend, Jill Whittaker. You may know her from her successful blog, JillWillRun.com. Jill and I met shortly after my first Half in 2010, we have been close friends ever since.
This was a special event for Jill, as it was her first race after giving birth to her daughter in August. I didn't make a big whoopee-do about running with Jill, in advance. I didn't want to put any pressure on her. I knew many runners would expect a certain time from her and she just wanted to run to run.
Without discussion between us - neither of us showed up with our Garmin's. Why bother? She was going to run by feel and I was going to run with her every step of the way, no matter if she was sprinting, walking or jogging. At no time, was I going to push her pace. I may pull her back, but I was not going to push her. This was not the time.
The race we chose as her "comeback" was Elemental Running's Resolution Run 10k/5k/1mile at Kellogg-Zaher Park. Both of us are friends with the RD, so this was a perfect place to make it happen for her.
For my running gear, I wore my UnderArmour Cold Gear shirt and tights (wore it for RnRLV and Hoover Dam) Big news - no running skirt. I could not stomach putting on that skirt, again (over the tights). Those who know me, know that is a BIG issue for me to wear tight fitting clothes on my bottom section.
This night - I didn't care. My focus was Jill and only Jill. If someone wanted to laugh at my saddlebags and jiggly butt - I didn't care.
I arrived at Kellogg-Zaher Park early to help out with packet pickup. Once Jill arrived, it was time for us to gather our thoughts and warm up a bit. It was SO cold and with winds. Much, much cooler than last year's race.
Elemental Running knows how to put on a great race. They have state-of-the-art timing equipment, so we don't have to deal with the old fashioned, turning into chips & most importantly, racers can be assured their timing is correct. They have fun music pre-race and the energy was great. The event was a sell-out. That speaks volumes of their ability to put on a great race.
Met up with many local friends - Nino, Jodi, Koryn, Sara & Ixa (I hope I spelled that, correctly). Then, a woman walked by me with a dog...who could be Ladybug's twin. Same years, same size, same spots on the body. I gasped, but I felt good. It made me smile.
There are many variables of on how to run a 10k course at this park. I have run so many, but I like this 10k course layout the best.
As we were standing at the Start Line, I could tell Jill was getting nervous. Little did I know, this was the first time she had run without her daughter. New mom's can relate to that type of separation anxiety. Yet, her spirits were up and I reminded her, "it's all you, Jill. Whatever pace you go...that's what we do."
- I knew in her mind, she REALLY wanted a sub 1:00:00. I wasn't sure that would happen, so I was hoping for a 1:05-1:07.
We started off well...I went into Coach mental mode. I am constantly looking out of the corner of my eye to check her form, check her pace...looking for pushing to hard. Even though Jill is also a RRCA Certified Running Coach...she became my client, for that day. The Coach was coaching the Coach.
We chatted away and after the first Aid-Station, I saw the dog that looked like Ladybug, again. No sadness, only happiness. Both Jill and I agreed that it was a gift from my Ladybug & what a wonderful thing to see on my last event of 2012. That's my babygirl, always knowing what I needed.
The most difficult part of the course is around 3.5-4 miles - a slow, but not long hill. She did great and I could tell by the way I felt, we were easily at no slower than a 10-10:15 pace. We walked through the water stations to bring down her heart rate, as she was getting a little red in the face. Safety first.
We came into the final stretch and as we came into the Finish Line - I heard a few of her friends scream her name.
We were greeted by the RD with champagne glasses and a hearty "welcome back" to Jill!
The RD gives away Finisher Champagne Glasses instead of medals. I think that is really clever! I have a set of 2.
|2012 and 2011|
I wanted a picture right away. Jill was BEAMING from ear-to-ear. I was not going to miss this moment & I wanted to get a picture of the dog. She looked great and she had a great run. What a confidence booster, huh?
Well...I soon realized I had locked my keys in my car. :( Called my husband, but he was at least 40 minutes away.
Jill took a picture on her iPhone - Look at her BEAMING smile! (sparkling apple cider in the glasses)
We stood around for a bit to listen to the 5K's Overall & AG award winners. I asked her to check our chip times...I was curious.
58:XX (can't remember the exact seconds and as of this writing, results have not been posted). That's a 9:20-9:30 pace. She smoked it!
That smile you see in the picture....GOT MUCH BIGGER! I have to admit, I got tears in my eyes watching her. I knew she was very happy with her run, but to have that added prize of a sub 1:00:00 was just perfect. I couldn't of asked for a better time for her, on that night.
She needed to leave before the 10k awards and of course, since I was waiting on my husband to open up my car...I stuck around. Much to my surprise I got 2nd AG.
Yet, that wasn't my prize. Being a part Jill's comeback race and crossing that Finish Line with her. I am always grateful for any Overall/AG award, but that is not what I will remember from that night.
I have several 2012 memorable races...this is one of the top. I will be back next year, of course.
Jill - thank you for allowing me to be a part of this night. You could of run with anyone else, and I am honored I was the one. You inspire me and I KNOW you will have an awesome 2013 on your terms. I am SO proud of you!
To my FAB-O Friends...if you want a memorable race experience, run with a friend to help them achieve their goal. Pick a race...and run with them. Not for socialization, but for a goal. I can promise you - you will love the experience! Make 2013 the year you give back to the racing community. Pace a friend, volunteer at a race or be on the side lines cheering on the racers. Give back. It makes you a better runner and makes our community better.
Happy New Year to everyone!
(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-12
Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored Brand Ambassador for RobKellerMD.com
*San Francisco Marathon Ambassador 2012-13
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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