Mama wanted to walk it for the t-shirt (which I don't have a picture of unfortunately), but started getting nervous the night before. None of the paperwork said it was walker friendly. It also didn't list a time limit, so I assured her that walking was fine.
It was false confidence - I had Karena's horror of a half marathon in the back of my mind. But I certainly wasn't going to tell my mother that. If need be, I'd go back after her and walk the final part with her. My middle finger works just as well as any one's.
Besides I had almost landed in the Cocke County Jail once this past weekend - my dad reffed the Cocke County/Morristown East game. One of the plays moved very quickly and he couldn't get out of the way fast enough. He went down hard and from the stands I could see his head bounce off the field. Some jerk a few seats away from me started laughing.
I'm the first person in line to make fun of my dad - but you're certainly not allowed to do it. I glared his way and said "Its not beeping funny." Not in a whisper nor a yell. Either he didn't hear me, or didn't feel like getting blood on his new knife, cause he never turned around.
I made it through the game without hurting anyone, and my mom made it through the evening with a little anxiety. My dad walked away from the field with 3 cleat marks in his hand.
Jay & I spent the night with my parents since both the football game and race were on their side of town. Rather than driving back to our house late Friday night and again early Saturday morning, we just crashed in my old room.
When we checked in my mom had me ask if the course was open to walkers. They assured her it was, and while they didn't know the slowest times from last year, they assured her that most every year someone walks the race.
That's my mom in the coral fleece and navy hat. I'm to the left of her in my polka dot bondi, white tee, and black shorts. We don't look like we're in the same climate do we? It was 40 degrees at race start, so I could have probably gotten by with pants but otherwise I felt comfortable.
(I like that picture b/c I think my legs look skinny.)
The gun sounded and off we went! Jay was in front (no picture - sawry) then I was shortly behind.
(I'm behind the kid.) Followed by my mom.
There were 2 other walkers, both about 2 decades younger than her...
It was an out and back course that went about a half mile on the main road (yes, from what I understand this 2 lane road is the "main road") then cut back to the left and went on a back road that ran along side the creek.
When I made the turn, I thought my pace was off. The race director had said about a half mile until the turn and I made it around the 6 minute mark. When I got to the first mile marker, I realized he was off. I'd completed my first mile in 9:17. Knowing that this pace wasn't sustainable for me over a long stretch, I decided to keep it up as long as possible.
I started passing runners coming the opposite direct and kept my eye out for Jay. The closer I got to the turn around the more I started to worry. He doesn't train for these things, then takes off in an almost sprint on cold muscles. When I reached the "Moonshiner" directing the turn around, I saw Jay crouched down.
Me: "Are you okay?"
Jay: "Yeah I'm fine, just waiting for your mom."
I figured one of 2 things had happened - he'd gotten hurt and didn't want to ruin my race. Or else he wasn't as fast as he'd hoped and packed it in early using my mom as an excuses.
I kept running and checked my time at the 2 mile mark. I can't remember exactly what it was, but it was sub 20 minutes. At that point between my lungs and my head I started having doubts. My goal was to beat my 5K time despite the extra tenth of a mile in race distance.
"You're not this fast. You can't keep this up. You're not going to beat your time. Why do you set yourself up for failure."
Up until that point, I hadn't turned my IPod on, but I had the ear buds in ready to go just in case I needed a boost. When the negative voices in my head started telling me that I couldn't, I cranked the music up and blasted those thoughts away.
When I got back on the main road I realized I could really do it - my time was good enough that I had a shot at me beating my PR. I kept up the faster pace. When I got back to the school, I couldn't see the finish. When the race workers directed me onto the walking track, I asked how much further. I wanted to know if it was time to kick on the afterburners.
They didn't know the distance, just told me to follow the path. I held up on kicking it into high gear until I rounded the corner and saw the finish line.
I sprinted out the last tenth of a mile and crossed the finish line in 30:23.
That's supposed to be me crossing. No one ever said my dad was an expert photographer.
I grabbed some water and a banana and went back to the finish line to stretch and wait for Mama & Jay. My dad was regretting not walking - his knees, especially during football season, give him problems. He hadn't signed up for the race out of fear that he'd be hurting from the night before.
As I explained to him how flat the course was, and how there were no hills, and how it was the easiest course I'd ever done, a lady behind me chimed in. "There was a hill - it was from the turn around until about the 2.5 mile mark."
Oops. Guess I stuck my foot in my mouth again. Remember when my lungs and head were screaming at me? That was during the so-gradual-I-didn't-even-notice-it uphill portion of the race.
I started cheering as soon as I saw Jay and my mom on the walking track. In both of her races she has sworn to walk it all, only to trot across the finish line. See the way Jay's walking to my mom's jog? He does that to me all the time - it drives me nuts!
They crossed in 47:46 - a minute and a half off her 5K PR. If you've never believed me before that the hills in this area can be killer - this should be your proof!
We stuck around for door prizes and awards, neither of us thinking we would place in our age group, but she hadn't caught her time crossing the finish line and was hoping that after everything was handed out the race director could tell her what her official time was.
We were in for a surprise! Female 30-34 second place with a time of 30:23 Brooke F!
(Now that the race was over I was cold, so I borrowed my dad's sweatshirt. Not the most flattering look but I didn't care.) Look at the giddy "omgIcouldcrapmypants" look on my face.
Speaking of. As it turns out the real reason Jay didn't finish is because he was plagued by the same problem that has been plaguing runners for decades. Since there were no portapotties on the course and he refused my mom's suggestion of just going in the creek, he walked the 2nd half of the race.
Female ages 55-59, 3rd place:
Sure she was 3rd out of 3 in her age group - that just means that she was more brave than all the other grandmas that stayed at home that morning!!
Jay's time was on pace to place in his age group, had he been able to maintain it. The race didn't go as he'd anticipated and my dad was still his normal grumpy self, so while my mom and I celebrated, the mean weren't as excited and proud for us as they should have been.
(Notice the lovely bandage on his right hand? That's old people crepe skin for ya. A 200 pounder steps on you wearing a cleat and you have to make a big deal of it.)
I'm very proud of this picture and I hope she is too. Followed by our fish tale:
The race winner and the over all prize.
And us returning them to their rightful owners. My dad had struck up a conversation with one of the kids, thinking he recognized him from the night before. Turns out it was a different dude, same hair style. My mom ask him if we could borrow his moonshine jug for a picture, then this little boy offered to let us hold his race winner trophy as well.
Yes, they were kids - quite a few members of the Cocke County High School cross country team participated in the race.
Just a week or so ago, I was asking Lightening McHooker if she thought that a sub 30 minute 5K was really possible for me. She said I'd need to do some speed work, but if I worked on it after the marathon I could get there.
Had this race been a true 5K, I would have been sub 30 minutes - so I'm guessing its not that far fetch of a goal after all!!