Once again, we have a race report in which I am not actually racing. Hopefully this will not be too common of an occurance.
On Saturday afternoon, I volunteered to help with packet pick-up for the Pumpkin Dash. If you're a runner and have never volunteered for a race, then you should. It's definitely good running karma, and it's really a lot of fun. I basically hung out for a couple hours at my running club's offices, gave people bibs and t-shirts, took some money, and talked about running with friends. What's not to like? Plus I got one of the race t-shirts for my troubles, and it's really cool: a long-sleeved technical shirt with cool pumpkins and scarecrows on it! I have to admit, the fact that I'd be scoring a long-sleeved technical shirt was about 20% of why I wanted to volunteer! After my shift ended, I went next door to the running store and got a pair of inserts for my shoes, as recommended by my orthopedist. They are lovely and cushy.
Sunday morning, Steve decided at the last minute to run the 4K race (there was also an 8K), so the boys and I got dressed and headed out. The race was held at Credit Island Park, and I was immediately bombarded with sense memories of cross country races that I ran there in high school. There was a picnic shelter that I specifically remember standing by while my teammates and I cheered on the boys' team. It's a really pretty place on the Mississippi River, and it was a perfect fall day - great for running!
Steve headed to the starting line, and Jack and I walked about 3/4 of a mile away so we could find a spot to cheer for the runners that was away from everybody else. Steve almost missed us - he had his iPod on and wasn't expecting his cheerleaders to be in a spot so early in the race.
After we cheered for all of the runners, then all of the walkers, we moved to a spot near the finish line. We got to see the 8K leaders cruising past the 4K finish line, then started clapping for the 4K finishers. When Steve approached, I held up Jack and the two of us started yelling for him. Steve gestured for Jack to join him, and they crossed the pumpkin-lined finish together. Steve did very well, beating his goal of 10 minute miles.
Half an hour later, it was time for Jack to run the kids' race. Costumes were encouraged, and really, it doesn't take much to encourage Jack to wear a costume. In fact, he has so many that it's nice to have the opportunity to rock out more costumes than just the one worn trick-or-treating. For the race, he selected his Venom costume. People got a kick out of it because it has built-in muscles and Jack looked totally ripped.
Steve and I walked Jack to the starting line and showed him the cone that was the turnaround point. After some good luck hugs, we went to the sidelines to watch him. As always, I absolutely love watching Jack run. He has a look of pure joy as he races along, one that I always try to bring to mind when I'm struggling with a tough run myself. Jack ran great, smiling all the way, then happily collecting his finisher's medal, adorned with pumpkins.
That night, I decided it was time to attempt some running of my own. I set my Garmin (praise be thy name) to beep at me every five minutes. The plan was to walk five, then slowly run five - and to stay on the grass as much as possible - for 20 minutes.
How'd it go? Results inconclusive. The biggest thing is that running didn't feel quite natural. It was like I had a weight on my left leg and my stride never felt quite right. In retrospect, it wasn't the best day to try running again. I was on my feet all day in ballet flats, so my feet were tired before I started. I'm going to try the five-five 20 minute test again tonight, after a relaxing day of sitting at my desk. Right now, I'm not optimistic, but I want to try so I can really see what I'm up against. Wish me luck!