Saturday, November 17, 2018

Day 3

After last night's post, how could I write about anything other than the Girls on the Run 5K this morning? Here's a bit of a race report.

First of all, for those keeping score at home, we were expecting a 40% turnout from our team. We achieved 75% of that expected turnout with three of our girls showing up to toe the line, but I think the other coaches and I did a beautiful job making the girls who showed feel special, loved, and glad they came.

Second, what some might not realize is that on LSU home football game days, there aren't extra police officers around to close the roads for a 5K, no matter how awesome your race is. To avoid the road closure issue, the race was on a closed course through Pennington Biomedical Research Center. 

The content of the GOTR 5K was otherwise similar to the one in Shreveport: colored hair spray, bib decorations, an inspiration station, a fun dance warmup, and more. My classmate Becca came out to run the 5K, which was a fun surprise! She and Tricia hung out with my team and me before the race, and we grabbed bandanas on the way to the start since we figured all of the girls had theirs by that point. Tricia's said "Confidence," mine said, "Keep Pushing," and Becca's said "Geaux Big." How could we not be motivated with bandanas like that? (I wore mine when Tricia and I went out for 5.5 additional miles following the race!)

Waiting to start! I loved the bandanas.
We started a little too far back and ended up in the bottleneck that occurred due to a combination of a narrowing trail and a number of people starting to walk within a quarter mile of starting the race. A special challenge was the terrain. There are paved areas at Pennington, but there are some off-road sections that we hadn't trained for during practice. I didn't mind it much as a trail runner, but the average GOTR participant doesn't have the same level of off-road experience that I do. Mix that with emergency swerving around runners who stop on a dime to walk, weaving through race participants, and the usual trying not to trip and fall, and the first mile was quite the adventure. 

We made up some time on the second mile and passed Coach Hannah and Coach Rachael who were running buddies with one of our girls. She absolutely rocked the 5K! Since I wasn't anyone's running buddy, I said I would finish the race first and take some photos at the end. I told her I was going to try to beat her to the line so I could document her big finish, but she didn't want to let me pull ahead. She pushed me for a minute or two, then she let me loose. Tricia and I shaved nearly two minutes off of our time from the first mile. 

Catching up with one of my girls and pounding some pavement with her around mile 2
Tricia and I continued to pick up the pace in our last mile, which is unusual for me since I don't usually run that long without stopping. I guess I am getting stronger. We finished in time to grab medals and water, find a place at the finish line, and catch our breath a bit before our girl and coaches came blazing through looking like the strong people they are.

The big finish!
We cheered in the other runners and had such a good time watching (most of) the girls smile as they approached the finish line. There were some dads out there who were good sports about being running buddies, and some of them even took advantage of the opportunity to wear a tutu for the big race. Another high point was being able to share the camaraderie and support of the running community with so many girls at such a young age. The GOTR 5K was a fun way to spend Saturday morning, and I was glad to be able to enjoy the day with the ones who were able to participate in the event. Even if I'm not able to coach, I hope to be able to make it to the races in future seasons. 

Something that made today great: An all-day reunion with my Work Wife, which included coffee, running, food, tailgating, and a documentary about dogs. What a day!

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