Monday, November 18, 2013

That Time I Won a Race

AKA my Heroes in Recovery 6K Recap

Warning - this post might get a little emotional.

Saturday morning my alarm went off bright and early for the Heroes in Recovery 6K.  I left my house before 7am to meet my running buddy Kristan at her house so we could ride downtown together. I added this race to my schedule even though it was supposed to be a rest day, since the cause was really important to me.  I had picked up our packets the night before so we got downtown and only had a few minutes to spare before the race began.

Which was good because it was a little colder than I was anticipating.  I had worn a lighter long sleeved top and my Urban Camo Sparkle Skirts.  I think I would've been ok were it not for the wind - since we were downtown closer to the river it was a little chillier.  But the race staff and volunteers were all incredibly helpful and before long we were headed for the starting line.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn Friday evening that this was a chipped event.  Not that I was expecting anything big of this but usually the smaller events are not timed.  The race director even told us when to start our Garmin watches so we would be in sync with the race clock.  A beautiful rendition of the national anthem was sung, and we were off.

I told Kristan that I would stick with her to make myself take it easy during this race but around the 1.5 mile marker she needed a walk break and told me to go on ahead.  Since this was a relatively small race (150 runners registered) it was not near as crowded at the beginning so we had actually run about a 10:00 minute mile for the first mile and she's fresh off being sick.  I felt bad leaving her but I was feeling great and in the zone so I went with it.  The race course actually covered a lot of the same ground that I will be seeing in a little over 2 weeks at the St. Jude Half Marathon, including a run down Riverside Drive.  The sun actually peaked out a bit and made for some pretty pics of the ol' MEM.

You can see the infamous "M" bridge in the distance, as well as Mud Island 

Another shot from Riverside Drive, with the Pyramid in the distance

There's a really NICE downhill to get to Riverside Drive but that only means one thing - you gotta go back uphill.  And no matter if it's Beale Street or another street the hill is just as bad.  We had just passed the 5K sign and I was taking this race easy so I decided to walk the hill.  Before long we were turning on Main Street running beside the trolley tracks heading back towards Court Square for the finish.

My official time was 37:49.  I was extremely pleased.  And everyone got a medal too!  That was a pleasant surprise.

Kristan finished not long after me and we were all set to head home when we saw that we had both missed the Results tent so we headed over to get our official time results and that's when I got this:

No folks, that is NOT a typo.  I actually won my age group.

I can't believe it so I've got to say it again:  I actually won my age group.

And Kristan placed 3rd!  It was a good day for the Kristens, even if she spells hers wrong - LOL.  That meant we got to stick around for the awards, which is something I have never done but it was actually really nice. A lady from La Paloma (a drug and alcohol treatment center) spoke and thanked us for all running that day to help #breakthestigma.  

We had tried to get my aunt to go to La Paloma; I was glad to see them there showing their support for the runners!  And then they began handing out rewards to the winners and for the first time EVER (and probably ONLY time ever, haha) I received my award for winning my age group!

Thanks Fleet Feet and Heroes in Recovery for the hat!  

Overall this was a great event.  I know it was a small but it was very organized and well run.  Whole Foods provided bagels and bananas for before and after the race, as well as bottled water.  I also felt it overwhelmingly rewarding to race for a cause that was so close to my heart.  I think Aunt Lesha must've been with me that morning and helped me stay strong for the finish.  This one's for you, Aunt Lesha.

QOTD:  Have you ever run a race for a cause near and dear to you?