Thursday, September 8, 2011

Running Races....even when i can't

So I know, I know, I have avoided talking about exercise at all costs since I was put on RICE, but honestly, it wouldn't be that interesting to keep writing about how I did the same Windsor Pilates DVD every other night, or how I tried hot yoga again and felt alright (modified a few poses), or how I tried to walk the 3/4 of a mile to get my car last week from the shop.  Yes those are all exercise, but I am bored with them as much as you would be by reading about them!

I have, however, started PT (tonight will be apt #2) and her outcome for me is looking bright - she is pretty sure I will be able to get through Newport in 5 weeks (5 weeks?@!) which is AWESOME news, and I did get a good workout (and sweat on) on the elliptical yesterday (low resistance speed intervals).  So hopefully soon, you will read about my long runs, and great workouts...but for now, you can enjoy sunsets and other ramblings :)

Even though you can't read about my racing and running, I have a great race recap for you today, from my Mom's half marathon on Sunday! You know how the race I was supposed to run with her got cancelled? Well she is such a motivated and tough cookie, and she didn't want all of her training to go to waste, so she piggy backed into a race her friend was running in NH, The Covered Bridges Half Marathon.  The first thing I am so proud of, is that she took a crappy situation and made it a great opportunity, the second thing I am so proud of, is her killer results from the race!

Last Sunday, I trekked up to Swanzey, NH to do the thing I fear most, watch someone else compete in an event I am unable to.  It is really a silly and selfish fear though if you think about it, you are ruining the excitement you have for your friend or family's performance by wallowing about your own misfortune, instead of celebrating their accomplishments and performance.  So I pulled up my big girl pants, charged my camera, filled up an extra handheld water bottle (in case she needed a little extra along the route), re-visited my running relay skills of supporting runners frequently throughout the course (I knew there was something important to learn from those two 200 mile relays!) and met up with the happiest, go-lucky ladies I have seen before a 13.1 mile race.
My Mom is the one in blue/white!
The day was a little overcast, so there was no extra heat from the sun, but boy was it humid! The humidity really snuck up on the senses, and I was happy I brought the extra water in case Mom was in need.  The start line was about a 1/2 mile walk/jog from the check-in and finish line area, which I thought was smart because if it had been more than 200 or so runners, there would be less congestion at the start line because there is more room to spread out without spectators, tents, and cars - it also was a fantastic warm-up time for the runners, to get their legs moving and warming up before the start!

The one thing I noticed, is that this race was really organized for a small, local half.  They had great print-outs of the course route for runners to carry (or spectators to follow) and everything was clearly marked with white spray paint, from the starting line to where to turn along the course.  I thought that was pretty thoughtful (and cheaper than signs for a local budget).  The race is run in honor of the kid who first organized it, so his Dad said a few words before the gun....then they were off!

And I was off to my car, with map and camera in hand.  I drove the course backwards (the route was an open-road course, but I didn't want to get stuck behind the runners or disrupt them too much) and pulled over to wait at about mile 5.5.  There were already a few spectators set up along the course, which was a positive surprise (I didn't think too many people would be out, it was kind of a cowtown).  The water stations were located every 2 miles and manned by kids from the local school's band, all dressed up in costumes/themes and post-race, the runners get to vote on the best themed water station, kind of fun!
I had some good reading material to keep my busy til I saw the runners
I saw the leader come zooming by early, but the next guy wasn't until about 3 or 4 minutes later! I cheered on about half the field, until I saw my special lady trucking up the hill.  I grabbed my camera and had the focus ready, grabbed the hand-held and jogged with her for a couple of minutes to get a sense of how she was feeling and if she needed anything.  She said she was ahead of her goal pace, but felt great, so she was going to keep going at that pace and hope for the best.

I met back up with her at about mile 8.5, still powering through the course, not missing a beat.  A few of the women she had been running with fanned out, a couple moved ahead and a couple dropped behind, but boy did she look strong and steady!

My next stop was around mile 10.4 (2.7 to the finish) and it was right where they come through the final covered bridge (there were 4 total on the course, how cool?!).  At this point, she still looked strong, but she mentioned she didn't think she was going to finish in her goal of sub-2 hours.  I told her to keep powering through, but not to kill herself - she wanted some juice to finish strong - and she was off!

Next time I saw her, she was crossing the finish line, despite not getting that sub-2, she finished with a greater than 5 minute PR!!
Here she comes!
Awesome Finish!
After waiting for all the ladies she started with to finish, we were told that one would not finish that day, she was rushed to the hospital with suspected heatstroke....we were all very worried, but the woman who waited with her for the ambulance said they had her under control, and would take care of her.

Something that led to a happier ending, though, was that Mom found out her, 2:02:25 finishing time landed her 3rd place in her age division (like mother like daughter?!)! I was so proud of her, and I think she was pretty darn excited herself.

I am so happy I decided to go cheer her on, as it was so cool to see her dominating a half marathon and smiling the whole time.  It was motivational and inspirational to me, making me want this recovery even more, but in a positive way.  Mom - even though you didn't get your sub-2, you ROCKED that race, and I am so proud of you and happy for you.  It was truly amazing to watch you race, and I loved every minute of it - GREAT JOB, I LOVE YOU!
Do you get the same fear/anxiety watching races/events when you know you can't participate?

Have you or someone you were running with ever experienced heat stroke?


  1. I get such anxiety watching my brother do his triathlons... especially when he's biking because I'm always worried about crashes, flat tires, etc.

    Congrats to your Mom on her 3rd place finish! That is pretty spectacular and INSPIRING!! I love how proud you are and I'm sure she's just as proud of you :-)

  2. Your Mom did so awesome in this race. Love the pics of her looking so strong and sure and confident. Great that you were there to cheer her on and I bet she was loving that too.

    And nice news for you from your PT too.

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  4. Congrats to your mother--what a great inspiration to have your mom running as well! I admit, it can be hard for me to watch people race when I can't.

  5. Your mom is a baller! How cool that you all can share running, I love that!


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