Please welcome my friend and guest blogger, Kierstn! Kierstn has been an amazing inspiration to me as a Mom and runner. We ran our first half marathon together at Disney Princess Half in 2013. I shared my Hotlanta Half recap last week, but she has her own experience of the same race…
When the Purpose of a Race Changes
About two weeks ago I ran the Hotlanta Half Marathon in downtown Atlanta. I have had a lot that has happened in life over the past five months and though I have not stopped training racing took a back burner for me. This was going to be my first half marathon since the Princess Half in February, and just my first race in general since May. When I woke up Sunday morning I have to be honest, I was tired and questioning why I was doing this, but my friend Kimberly was going to show up at my door I better get out of bed and moving.
This was a training run so that was nice and took some pressure off, but my friend was toying with the idea of maybe it was her race to meet a goal. I promised her I would pace her to that goal if it is something she felt was going to happen. It turned out that the humidity really took a toll on her early in the race so this turned from a race where I was going to act as a pacer for her to just support so she felt encouraged to keep moving. I lost her around mile 5 due to race traffic.
As I ran on I meet up with a Team in Training coach I met that morning and one of her team mates. This amazing coach ran back to find Kim and I ran with the Team in Training member along the belt line. This was a scary part of the race. We were in a very exposed space and there was lightning. She was terrified so this point of the race turned into getting this person through the exposed area to a space where she felt safer and I did that. We chatted about family, past races and goals for the year. I loved getting to know her! We parted ways around mile 9.
Miles 9-12 I picked up my speed and was just ready to be done running in the buckets of rain coming down from the sky. I hit mile 12 and there was a gentleman who was folded over and barley moving. I stopped and asked if he needed support. He was so grateful and we walked together for a half mile until his muscles let go and allowed him to walk independently. When I left him I ran into the finish, got my medal, took of my timing chip and went back out onto the course to find Kim. The first person I came to was the Team in Training participant. She waved me over and I ran her into the finish. I went back out to look for Kimberly. She texted she was OK but when she did not show up in the time I expected I kept going and found her right around mile 12. We ran the last mile in together and what a fantastic feeling in helping one of my closest friends accomplish her goal that day.
Up until that race every race I ran was “for me”. It has not always been about time, but there was some part of the race that was a “me” focus. This one was different. I went it with the mindset to pace a friend. Plans changed and it was about support only. When I was separated from her the though crossed my mind that I would try to push time, get close to my PR and then I was presented with another runner who needed support so that is what I did. From that point on time did not matter and when I helped that last gentleman it was clear to me that I had made the right choices to support my fellow runners in this race rather than try to reach a personal goal.
I know every race cannot be run for others, but I am grateful I had to opportunity to do this. It gave me an appreciation that I have not felt in a long time for how amazing the comradery in the running community is!!
Have you ever run a race where you had to change your expectations mid-way through?