Friday, October 24, 2014

Spectating is FUN!

I have some amazing friends that do some kick ass things! It is seriously so much fun to go watch them do their thing. I had three friends doing a 25k a few weeks ago and another who did the Portland Marathon the same day. A successful day was had by all.   I didn't get to see my friend in Portland but I got to watch two out of three friends come across the finish line at the 25k.  Love seeing them finish strong and smiling!  I even like giving them hugs when they are all sweaty.  I think maybe some of their badassery will rub off onto me.  :-)

I like watching races for a couple of reasons.

Now that I'm a runner I understand the work that goes into a race.  It doesn't matter if you are walking or running, there is a certain amount of effort that goes into getting ready.  I can appreciate that effort when I watch because I have been on the working towards a goal side of things.  I like watching people cross the finish line and be excited that they accomplished something they never thought they can do.  It makes me remember my first 5k, my first 10k and my first Half Marathon.  I was pretty sure each time that I wasn't going to be able to do it.  I will NEVER forget how I felt crossing the finish line at the Eugene Half Marathon in 2011.  Watching people have that first time experience is really fun at any level and I love being a part of that, even for complete strangers!!

I had originally planned to not participate in the  the Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon.  It would have the first time since the race was started that I wouldn't be participating.  It seemed a little weird to not have it on the calendar as part of my goals.  However it has been good for me not to have the additional stress of training for a half marathon while starting off the school year, taking grad classes and all the normal, every day stuff that I do as a wife and mother.  Originally I had planned to go and watch some of my co-workers and friends cross the finish line.  This race happens in the community that I work in and benefits the local ABC House which is an organization that helps children that have been involved in child abuse.  Here is a link for more information if you are interested in helping out a VERY worthy cause! ABC House

I have done this run ever since it started and I love this race! The bag of goodies you get when you pick up your packet has sooooooo much good stuff from the many, many sponsors of this race.  Everything from toothbrushes to a wooden coin that gets you chowder at Mo's.  If you are from Oregon you know how awesome that is!!  And it's an excuse to go to the beach which I always love.  The volunteers at this race are the best!!  They have a local motorcycle group that volunteers every year at all the intersections.  They are all so friendly and awesome!  The volunteers at the aid stations are the best!  I don't think I have ever been at a race with more enthusiastic helpers!  It helps keep the runners going to have that kind of encouragement and positive atmosphere around you.  A big shout out to the organizers of the Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon!  You guys put on an amazing event that benefits an important cause.

My original plan of spectating only got sidetracked in a couple of ways.  On the Friday before the race I was getting a pedicure with my good friend Faylene.  I always enjoy pedicures with Faylene because it gives us a chance to catch up AND my toes look pretty when we are done.  It's a win/win!  Faylene has been part of organizing and running the Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon since it started.  She was helping with the staggered start at the race and asked if I wanted to go along with her and help.  The person who was originally supposed to had a conflict.  I said sure, it would be fun. So we made plans for her to pick me up in the morning.  The start of a race is always fun because people are excited, nervous and sometimes a little scared.  There are those people that just do their thing and never get anxious but I am not one of those people so I find myself looking for the people that are like me so I can give them a smile or a high five.

Later that same evening I get a text from my friend Wendie asking me if I would be interested in doing the run the next morning.  Um....No!  I haven't been training.  lol  I learned a few years ago that doing a half marathon without training is asking to be in a whole lot of pain later.  We texted back and forth for a bit and it turns out that she is walking with another friend who has never done a half marathon.  They are walking the whole thing.  I decide to go for it.  I know I can walk that far.  I have been doing hikes that are almost nine miles without too much trouble.  I know the course is not really hilly so it should be fine AND I would get to hang with my friend Wendie.  That was the deal breaker.  She has had a couple of rough weeks and I wanted to have some Wendie time to laugh and talk and just be with her in a fun way.  Totally selfish on my part.  So I made arrangements that Josh and Wendie would take me home.  That way I could volunteer at the beginning of the race and then just join the walkers at the end and be part of the race.  It worked out pretty well.

On the way to the race it was raining so I had decided to wear capri running pants and a t-shirt and a hoodie.  It was only overcast at the beginning of the race and about half way through the clouds started clearing off and the sun came out.  I was wishing I had worn a tank top and running skirt instead!  Wouldn't have thought that I would still be wearing my summer stuff in the middle of October but that would have been better.

I enjoyed meeting Wendie's friend Angie and her mom.  They were both a lot of fun and we chit chatted the entire walk.  Walking or hiking is an interesting thing, especially when you are going long distances.  Every topic under the sun comes up and is discussed.  We talked about silly things, serious things, things that made us laugh, a few things that made us cry and of course we talked about poop.  I am pretty sure that Angie thought Wendie was lying when she said that is a common topic for runners and walkers.  But those of you who are know that it is true.  Bathroom issues before and during an event are discussed openly and without shame, but usually with a lot of laughter because it is not possible to discuss this topic without a few giggles or snickers.
First time Half Marathoner and her awesome support person (aka her Mom!)
I was happy with how my legs felt but I started getting blisters around mile nine, the worst one was on the ball of my right foot.  At mile 10 I put some moleskin on the worst one to see if that would help.  Unfortunately my feet were all sweaty so the moleskin wouldn't stick like it was supposed to.  That meant it was moving and ended up pushing up into my toes which started causing other pains.  So at mile 12 I sat down and took it out again.

Wendie's husband had gone on his own run that morning and then walked from the finish line out to find us and finish the race with us.  Josh is a SUPER encouraging person to have around.  I mean not just top ten encouraging people to have around, probably the number two spot on my list right behind my husband.  He always has a way of saying just what I need to hear and always is just sure I will get it done.  All very matter of fact and no big dealish, if that makes sense and it is usually just what I need.  So I had the group continue on while I was dealing with the moleskin issue and then I was going to catch up with them.  I wasn't sure how well that would work but I was going to try.  I just get my shoe back on and I look up and there is Josh walking back to me with his big grin on his face.  I told him he didn't need to come back for me and he just laughed and said "Yes I did."  So we started running and it was difficult but having Josh there kept me going.  I had to rest once and then came one of my favorite parts of the morning.  Josh tells me that I should just turn on the speed and blow by the ladies like I'm perfectly fine.  At first I think there is no way in hell because my feet hurt so bad.  Then I think why not? I might as well try.  So I crank it up and sprint about 20 feet to catch up with the group and just keep going.  As I zip by them I say "Slow Pokes!!!" and keep right on going! lol  They were cracking up!  Angie didn't realize it was me at first so her first thought was that I was rude.  Ha!  When she realized it was me she started to laugh.  I think that little stunt got me through the rest of the walk.  Thanks Josh!
Had a great time walking with these ladies!  Thanks for inviting me Wendie!
I always feel uplifted after spending time with this wonderful lady! 
Here are the things that were a bummer about the walk:

  • Blisters!

Here are the things that were awesome about the walk:

  • Making new friends.
  • Encouraging someone that was accomplishing a first half marathon.
  • Spending quality time with a good friend.
  • Having legs that felt really good after a 13.1 mile walk! (Without actively training!)
  • Remembering what I love about race day as a volunteer, spectator and a participant.

Gotta love it when the positives FAR outweigh the negatives!!

I am still not actively working at my running and I'm still okay with that.  It has been a very good thing for me and has allowed me to focus on grad school.  However, when I'm done with that I might need my friends and family to kick me in the rear end in order to get me moving again.  I'm doing the Silver Falls 7 Miler in a little over a week and while I won't be running it, I will be enjoying the beautiful Silver Falls State Park and spending time with many of my favorite people.  I already know it is going to be a great day!

Bonus picture:
How can you not enjoy a walk with views like this?