Capital Crescent 5K - Bethesda, MD
Sunday, June 5, 2011 - 7AM
Up and on the road at 5:45AM, I was excited and "Ready to GO!" for the Capital Crescent 5K. This was going to be my first time actually getting to "RUN" this race as a Race Day SHERPA for my CANCER to 5K team Erica. In the last 4 years and 8 seasons of the CANCER to 5K Training Program, I have only had the opportunity to actually "RUN" the Races twice before. Coach Bob and I learned early on that the logistics of race day required somebody to "man" the finish line - to watch gear, to cheer people on and to be there for friends and family coming out to support the runners.
But this year was different! After having moved to Alabama, and pretty much missing more than half the training season, I wanted to be in town for RACE DAY for the majority of the team. So at 5:45am, Keri and I were out of the house and on the road to Bethesda, MD.
Usually, I am the "Queen of the Weather Report," but for some reason, I never once looked at the weather....assumed "Sunny & Hot" - so I was dumbfounded when the giant rain drops began to hit the windshield of the car. Keri and I both looked at each other and laughed that neither of us thought to check the weather. Looks like we might be in for a rainy 5K...after 4 years of crazy weather for races and training, NOTHING SURPRISES ME MUCH ANY MORE!
We arrived just in time for brief rain shower #2, picked up our bibs and met up with the group. Erika seemed in good spirits to me, despite the rain drops and everybody else was doing OK. Lots of nervous energy around - which made me SMILE - because in my heart, based on weeks of emails and reports from Coach Bob, Andrea, Colleen and Jennifer - I *KNEW* Carmen, Phyllis, Jennifer, Erika, Cyndi, and Esther were READY! But I also knew that no amount of words would have them believe - that is how your first 5K always is...
We have done this race several years in a row, the Montgomery Country Road Runners do a great job with this event and this year they went over and above! They had two groups running to support CANCER causes and the race director acknowledged and welcomed both groups ("Bladder Cancer Pisses Us Off" and CANCER to 5K) and gave us each our own wave starts! It was a wonderful surprise and a nice way to make the race day even more special for our runners who worked so hard this season! We waited about 1 minute from the last wave and then we were OFF!
Running with Erika and Jess Datta, is always a fun time for me. When Coach Bob told Jess and I that Erika's goal was a new PR at the 5K distance of 43:00 - I was super gung-ho and motivated to help her make that happen. We settled into the "1:00 Run / 1:00 Walk " interval plan that Coach Bob recommended and quickly picked off a few walkers in the first mile. Near Mile 1, Erika was initially "discouraged" to start to see the Front Runners coming back to the finish already - but Jess and I were quick to remind her that we were racing "HER RACE PLAN" - I'm not sure that made her feel any better but she seem to let go of some frustration at that point but it was uniquely timed with the first of 2 climbs up and over a bridge, so it might have been the bridges that distracted. We rolled over the bridge and down the to the turn around - getting a chance to see the rest of the CT5K team looking fantastic, full of smiles and high-fived them!
Just past the turn-around, the pace really started to settle in and Erika admitted that the time for "distraction" on the RUN intervals had come. We were READY! First we worked on tackeling the hill and getting to the water stop. We were on a RUN leg for the water stop and Erika left Jess and I in the dust by running through the water stop while drinking her water! I barely had time to get a drink and it was awesome to realize that Erika might have been tired but she was determined and focused and not wasting any time. RUN INTERVAL was time for RUNNING - it was a great reminder to me on how to effectively PLAN YOUR RACE and RACE YOUR PLAN!
We got through Mile 2 - Jess encouraging Erika to share her Las Vegas birthday plans and found ourselves going strong, into the 3rd and final mile - for Erika to meet her PR goal - now we needed her to stay steady and consistent while running - even if her walk breaks were a little slower to recover - the time to push a little harder had arrived.
After 2 years of friendship and running, I've gotten pretty good at gauging how to distract Erika and/or encourage her when she is struggling with a workout. I had my "Theme Song" list ready to go! For ONE MINUTE, I did my best to sing whatever lyrics I could remember to many songs - Lavern & Shirley - Happy Days - Paul McCartney's "Love Song" (we had been talking "GLEE" episodes) and then Erika through me a loop...She requested DANCE MUSIC/HIP HOP.
"Now what the heck am I going to do?" I thought to myself - desperately trying to think of something - looking down at the Garmin...30 seconds to remember a DANCE/HIP HOP SONG....I ran though my internal "iPOD" playlist and there it was....
Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch - Good Vibrations!
So when that interval started - I launced into it - "Whooohhhh" "Whooohoooo" "Vibratations Good Like Sunkist, make me wanna know who done this? I'm Holly G and I'm here to Groove with you...we Gonna PR and I'm gonna Prove to you..."
OMG, it was hysterical and off the cuff and personalize as much as I could to Erika and her PR and even her nephews breakin' it down with "Wii / Dance Dance" at the end. It was the most creative 1- minute RUN JAM, I have ever come up with! And it got us through that interval and onto the next - counting down intervals - knowing we were soooo close to being done and that Erika was ON TARGET for her PR.
Pretty quickly we crossed the last intersection, just as the Garmin indicated to me that we were in our last interval and Jess and I both looked at Erika and said - this is your last walk break - your done - Look ahead - see all the Yellow? Finish Line ahead - ONLY RUNNING! And away she went!
Now *that* is how you LiveSTRONG