Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Team Drea Challenge Guest Post #5 - by Elizabeth

My (un)Race Report

My journey to the finish line at the Lowcountry Trail Half Marathon has been weird and winding.  I set out on January 1 2015 with plans to complete this October race as part of the #TeamDreaChallenge while raising money and awareness for ALS research.  In 9 months I trained 241.2 miles while posting weekly #tbt memories of my most favorite roommate ever, Andrea Lytle Peet.  Along the way, I had a variety of training partners who I’d like to thank:
  • James Lawrimore: James is my 9 year old nephew who was more than willing to take on training for my first ever race, the Kids Fun Run (1 mile) as part of the Cooper River Bridge Run weekend.  He posted a fastest training time of 9:42 and was ready to take on the 1 mile course on Friday March 27.  We had a special spectator cheering us on as Andrea was visiting Charleston that weekend.  Rain wreaked havoc on us that day and many of the fun kids’ events were cancelled.  We posted Andrea up under a tent and set out to the start line of the course that had been altered by the recent downpour (hmmm….this becomes a recurring theme for races I have entered…).  Despite my warning to stay with me, James shot off the start line and it took about ¼ mile before I actually caught up with him.  There was no official timing but James and I felt great as we crossed the finish line of the shortened course.  James continues his training as part of the running club at his school and plans to run the Kids Fun Run again in 2016.
  • Lizzie Walters: Lizzie is a 17 yo high school cross country-running superstar.  While on a yearly family vacation to Hendersonville NC with my church, I was just over halfway through my training period with a 7 mile run looming large over the mountains of NC.  I asked around to see if anyone would be interested in running with me and Lizzie gladly agreed to slow her average pace enough (ok, A LOT) to jog along with me.  I really enjoyed this training run with the elevation change and the first cool temperature of my training period.
  • Mark Lockett: Actually, it’s Dr Mark Lockett and he happens to be my boss.  My normal weekend training partner was out of town and Dr Lockett agreed to step in and join me for a shortened 6 mile run after I had taken a few days off since my hip was bothering me (hmm….may have been the first sign something was wrong).  Dr Lockett routinely runs the annual Cooper River Bridge Run 10K and his yearly goal is to beat the guy dressed as a banana (is there anything worse than getting passed by a guy dressed in a banana suit?)  My average pace on runs had been 9:30/mile and Dr Lockett thought he could keep up with this pace without any recent training.  Unfortunately, I was so excited to be running again after a short break that I finished the first mile in 9:04.  An equally quick 2nd mile set us up for failure we required multiple walking breaks on our run/walk tour of the historic Charleston Battery.
  • Miranda Head and Megan Staley: Megan is a neighbor on the coolest street in Carolina Bay: Bermuda Stone.  While at a neighbor’s house to honor Megan’s husband Bill’s first overseas deployment with the Air Force, I started talking about my plans to train for Lowcountry Trail.  Megan was looking for a way to stay busy during Bill’s deployment and agreed to sign on as an official training partner, along with her dog Chole.  Megan was my early morning buddy for short runs during the week.  We met at 5am and were often joined by another neighbor, Miranda Head, and her dog Roxy.
  • Monika Aune: When it came time to get serious about my training program, I called Monika and asked if she would be interested in training and running the event with me.  I knew she’d say yes with no hesitation.  Monika is a former rower and coxswain extraordinaire with Ohio State and she taught me everything I know about coxing.  Last August, she completed a half-Ironman so she was more than well prepared to join me on my long runs on Saturday mornings.  Now, Monika likes to sleep in on her Saturday mornings and rarely signs up for an 8am Saturday row because of this.  However, she agreed to meet me weekly at earlier and earlier times as our distance increased.  We enjoyed running through the Citadel (cute boys in uniforms) and surrounding Hampton Park. 
As many of you know, that nagging hip pain turned into a full blown injury (stress fracture) after an 11 mile training run.  I was less than 2 weeks away from the October 10 race day and it was devastating to know that I wouldn’t be able to complete my goal.  But I was still committed to supporting my training partners who planned to run (Miranda, Megan and Monika). 

However, Rain-mageddon happened the week prior to the scheduled race, a trail run at a Parks and Rec facility on the Stono River.  Even 1 week after the devastating rains and flooding, the trails of Mullett Hall Equestrian Center were not raceable, and the event was rescheduled to Sunday October 25. 

Unfortunately, Megan and Miranda were unable to run on the rescheduled date.  But with warrior spirits, they refused to give up and held the first annual Carolina Bay Half Marathon on the morning of the original event.  

I met them at the halfway mark with my sign of support, water and sustenance.

They celebrated with champagne at the finish line (every race should have this) and homemade finisher medals.  Bill came home on Sunday October 18 and we celebrated with another neighborhood party.  Welcome Home Bill and thanks for your service!
[Editor's note: Team Drea members are getting really adept at making up our own events.]

Monika managed to extend her training by 2 weeks to run the rescheduled event. Many people who originally registered were apparently not available on this date, so it was a light turnout of about 150 for the grouped start of the 5K/Half Marathon.  My mom tagged along (I think she’s worried about me getting around on the crutches) and we set up camp at the start line.  The course was planned to repeat one time, but due to continued flooding of some of the back trails, the new race plan was a loop x 3.  Just before her start, Monika proudly announced her plan for a 2 hour race.  She’s ambitious, that girl, considering we trained for a 2:10 race. 

Monika came around to finish the first loop in 38 minutes, so she was definitely on pace her 2 hour goal.  We watched as people fast and slow came around to complete their first loops.  There were no costumes, though, which was quite disappointing (I was hoping for at least 1 banana).  Monika looked great again as she came around after her 2nd loop in under 1:20, still on pace for a 2 hour race.  After she passed, we moved our little camp over to the finish line to see the first man cross the finish line in under 1:25.  It was warming up quickly at this point and reached nearly 80 degrees by 10:30am. 

I can’t tell you how excited I was to see Monika make the last turn and head for the finish line as the clock rolled over to 2 hours.  Her official time as 2:00:35, good enough for 2nd place in her age division!  I am so grateful that I was able to live the race vicariously through Monika!

Thanks to everyone who donated and helped raise over $2000 for ALS research.  I am so grateful for the Team Drea Challenge, despite my injury, and look forward to becoming a triathlete in 2016 as part of the Ramblin’ Rose super sprint triathlon series. 

1 comment:

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