Sunday, May 6, 2012

Frederick Running Festival - May 5-6, 2012

Awesome, inspiring, exhausting, joyful, strength, perseverance, healing, determination, and best of all friendship, love, and pride are all the words I can think of for how I feel about this weekend with the Run Mama Run Ladies!

I've been looking forward to the Frederick Running Festival for a year now.  I volunteered as a Course Marshal last year, and I had so much fun cheering for all the runners, and my friends that were running it!  I thought to myself "you can do that"!  I had only run 5 miles by that point in May 2011.  Well, a full year later, and 3 other Half Marathons under my belt, Frederick would be my 4th.  Frederick is home turf and I knew the course, as I had probably run every inch of it over the year!  I was so excited for this weekend.  Well, then a few months back, my running buddy convinced me to join her for the "Nut Job".  This is where you run the Twilight 5K the night before the Half Marathon.  As I don't like to run back-to-back days, I hesitated, but figured "why not?"!!   My game plan - run the 5K very, very easy.  I was joking to the ladies as we started out for the 5K that I was shooting for a PW (personal worst) on the 5K because I refused to get hurt before the Half.  Even running my super easy pace, I still came in 7 seconds under my very first 5K time.  It just made me realize my training has really paid off over a year's time!   And the best part of the Run Mama Run ladies sticking together for the 5K was we helped push a friend into a PR (personal record) for her 5K. 

RMR Ladies that ran the Twilight 5K (I'm 2nd on the right)
After heading home, a hot shower, and some major stretching, I headed to bed early as my alarm was set for 4:45am.   But I didn't need the alarm.  My excitement for race day had me up and rolling at 4:30am.  Funny, I wasn't sore, I wasn't tired.  I wasn't even really that nervous because I was so excited to see the HUGE group of RMR Ladies that were running the Half that morning, with probably 1/2 of the ladies running their first Half Marathon.  I was excited to be apart of a group that trained with them, encouraged them, and hopefully inspired them!!  It was going to be a very emotional day as we had shared stories of why we run, what it means to us, and who we run for over the days prior to the race.  I'm an emotional person to begin with (tearing up as I type this), so I knew race day would be the same!

We met up, took fun pictures of the group, and were interviewed by the Frederick News Post (click here for the article) because our shirts tweaked their curiosity of what our group was all about.  Our shirts have "Run Mama Run" on the front and our slogan on the back of "Run when you can, Walk if you have to, Crawl if you must, Just don't give up"!   Then that time came.  It was time to line up at the Start.  A few of us started in the same pace corral, and we all hugged and wished each other luck as we started the 13.1 mile journey through Frederick!

Seriously the most awesome, strong, inspiring women you could ever meet!!
 The weather actually was overcast and drizzly for the first 4-5 miles.  Wish it had kept raining.  It was better than the yuck humidity that replaced it!  

This Half for me was almost split perfect....meaning I hit almost every mile at or just under a 10 min/mile pace.  I was happy with how it was going.  I didn't go out fast, and I saved my energy for what I knew was a tough back half of the course.  Glad I did as the back half was tough after you've already gone 7+ miles.  Once I hit East Street for the last time, I knew it was almost over.  I just had to push it and leave it all on the road.  But I knew what was coming.....Highland Hill at mile 12.5.  Crap.....I was cruising in at a dangerous 9:10-9:30 pace coming to the hill, but just told myself that Highland was my ^@#$! (fill in bad words here), and that I WOULD NOT WALK.  It was the end.  I was almost done.  No freaking way was that hill getting me.  Then there was this lady on the hill.  I seriously thought it was my own Mom from the distance (it wasn't but looked so much like her), but she was jumping up and down, screaming "You can do this - You're halfway up this hill, Go Go Go"!  I thanked her for being the cheerleader I needed just at that moment!  I hit the top of the hill, turned into the Fairgrounds, saw another friend cheering for me. Awesome!!!  Gave a high five and gave the last of my energy to the track (praying I wouldn't twist my ankle).  As I took the last corner, 3 Run Mama run ladies were there cheering me on!  What an awesome feeling to have your friends there !  I crossed the finish line proud and knew I had met my goal for this race!!

RMR Ladies cheering me in the last stretch!
New PR  2:10:35 - My goal was a 2:10 Half Marathon :)

I'm a Nut Job :) Conquered the 5K & Half Marathon!
But the story doesn't end here!  The most important part of this day for me was approaching!  I made it back to the track (hobbling) where the other ladies were in time to cheer in the majority of our 1st time Half Marathoners!!   It was so awesome and emotional to see everyone of them come in.  Even more emotional to see a couple of our ladies go back out and run our RMRs to the finish, over and over, after running their own race.  I hope they all know that I would have loved to have been able to do that, but I could barely walk down to the track when I was done.  Hope my big ole loud cheering mouth was sufficient to help carry them in to the Finish!  I think I cried more hugging my dear friend after her race, than I did after my own 1st Half Marathon.  Just as proud as a mother can be of her children, I beamed with pride for every single lady that ran !! 

Photo courtesy of Bill Green (FNP) - Two awesome friend show the true spirit of RMR!!
 And speaking of my own children, Michael has been wanting to run with me for awhile now.  So I signed him up for the Kids Fun Run (1/4 mile).  He did awesome, sprinting at a pace that made me struggle to keep up, and finished in 1:51 (which is an 8:39 min/mile avg pace).  So proud of my little boy :)
Michael and I coming into the Finish for the Kids Run ;)

1 comment:

  1. Jenni,

    You are an amazing runner, but more importantly an amazing Mom! I do not know how you balance everything, but you are an inspiration! Especially for someone like me who has a full career, many hobbies and interests and has always questioned whether you can do it all and have kids. You certainly show it's not easy but can be done! Thank you! Christine Dzara