As you saw in my previous post, I am injured and can’t run so I had to scrap the half-marathon and 5K I had on my race calendar for this past weekend; instead, I did something I never get to do- I served as a one-woman runner support crew…twice…in the same weekend. (Runner friends: if you have never been a part of a race day support crew before, you need to do it immediately, it’s so incredibly exciting and rewarding.) Eight runners from my beginner’s 5K running program signed up for a couple of races over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend. I had planned to run with them before…well, you know. These ladies had worked so hard over the past weeks in my training program and there was simply no way I was going to let any injury stop me from being there to support and hug them when they crossed that finish line. So this post will include two race reports, neither of which I actually ran in…
Rock & Roll USA Race Report
– My weekend began at 4:00AM on Saturday morning when I got up, readied myself and packed a bag full of race day essentials for my runners. I had three 5K runners and one half-marathoner (not a beginner but I’ll get into Lauren later) to support and I planned to take the role of coach and race day support crew very seriously. I even made a sign.
|My very first race sign-making experience!
I helped my runners get focused in the corral, pinned on their race numbers, made sure they had water, held their belongings, and gave them each a pre-race hug to wish them good luck. I found a place at the finish line and camped out with my camera where I waited with anticipation. When my first runner, Alissa, crossed the line, I teared up. She came in so fast and strong. It was a VERY emotional moment for me when I looked up and saw the clock as she crossed the finish line. But then the next two, Emily and Dodi, came in with the same gusto only minutes behind Alissa. I was absolutely overjoyed. When I saw these ladies post-race, I hugged them so hard. I was so proud of what they’d done and how far they’d come.
| Not even two “bad” runs leading into race day and a calf cramp at the start could stop Dodi (on the left).
Baltimore Shamrock 5K
– at 10:45AM on Sunday, this crew of four 5K runners and I met up and drove Baltimore. I revised my sign from the day before to include this group of runners…
|…even adding some St. Patty’s Day flair.
I walked to the start with my runners, got some pre-race photos, hugged them all, wished them luck and walked back to the finish area to await their arrival. I found a spot right at the finish line and before I knew it the first of my runners, Jessica, was cruising in WAY faster than anticipated- three minutes faster
!! The race is 3.1 miles so, doing quick math in my head, she took almost an entire minute per mile off her goal time- totally incredible!! That made me get emotional again (I’m such a sap, I know). The rest of my runners, Lauren, Beth and Sasha, came in with amazing times too and each time one crossed that line, I felt a tremendous sense of pride in them and for them. Each one looked so strong at the finish, Beth was even throwing elbows on her way in- that’s my girl 🙂 I was totally blown away by this group, they made it look easy.
|Too much pre-race hydration and free post-race beer plus horrible Baltimore parade/race traffic equals emergency bathroom stops at random hotels and hospital emergency rooms. Adventures in Baltimore…but that’s another story for another day.
It was a truly unique experience for me to have the opportunity to support so many awesome runners in one weekend. I expected to feel pretty bummed that I couldn’t run these races with them but all I felt was overwhelming pride and joy. The memories made at these two races will be with me for years to come.
So, back to Lauren (in the left picture above she is furthest to the right and in the right picture she is behind me with the green t-shirt). Although she is not anywhere close to being a beginner (she was a pacer for the participants and served as my program support), she also had some accomplishments as well that I have to highlight and share. This gal didn’t just run (for the first time ever) back-to-back races, she ran a half marathon PR (by an astonishing 5 minutes) on Saturday and then a sub-30 minute 5K on Sunday! A truly awesome and inspiring athlete! I hope that she got a glimpse of just how tremendous her true potential is (I see it regularly during our 5:30AM workouts- it’s undeniable). Congratulations, Lauren, on your amazing back-to-back finishes and thank you for your efforts which helped to make this 5K program a success!!
As I shared with my runners recently in a program wrap-up email, I am blown away by the progress they’ve made and the transformations that have occurred.
It was only eight short weeks ago that this group began the process, many were convinced that they couldn’t run 1.5 miles without stopping, and they smashed all expectations! I couldn’t be prouder of this group and I’m so incredibly grateful that they have allowed me to be a part of their journey. What an awesome honor to have been their coach.