Monday, December 14, 2015

William H Craig 5k

Rick, my Dad, me, Jeff post race

Ran the William Craig 5k race in Wilmington Saturday December 12th. Came in 1st place with a time of 18:57.  Once again several of the Cape Fear Flyers kids I help coach ran well; in fact the Club had many PRs set, as well as awards won. Including Sarah Martin who was the 2nd overall Female, and coach Amie who was the 3rd overall Female. Coach Jeff took home 2nd overall Masters Male.

But aside from the individual hardware, it was a great capstone to a magnificent XC season.  Many young kids, 6, 7, 8 years old who could not even run say a quarter mile back in early September, completed their first 5k races. The smiles become infectious, and serve as a continuous reminder to why as coaches we put in the time and energy to do what we do.

Running is a gift that we need to regularly give away... in order to keep for ourselves.

To serve out of love, is a topic I frequently think about, and at times discuss with others. Or to sort of flip it around, if I (or others) serve while getting paid, does it diminish whatever spiritual purity that is inherent in any free exchange?  Read an excerpt in a popular running blog of which I can't recall, where either the author or a guest took the position that all running coaches should be paid. That since at any level, where time is being given and services are being rendered, one should be compensated. In principle, I can find some common ground and agreement. However, if the argument is furthered to any and all other sports (what is the difference between running and soccer, basketball etc?), a lot of money that is essential (and usually donated) to turn the lights on, purchase the equipment and uniforms so kids can actually play, will be going to persons who coach.

Food for thought, as I see both sides of it. And will perhaps cross such bridges in the future if I continue to develop my own personal coaching career. And I don't profess to be saint either.

Back to the race... I went out fairly quick to get ahead of the large field of 1,200+ runners, many of whom were kids participating with their respective schools in the Girls on the Run and Stride programs. (which are fabulous at introducing and subjecting kids to what we hope to be the joys and camaraderie of our sport). Found myself in 4th place about a quarter mile in, while running about a 6:10-6:15 pace. Made my way steadily up and took over the lead between the 1/2 and 3/4 mile mark... and once again was on my own leading a 5k race.

Felt pretty good throughout, but not outstanding. Didn't have my top end gear, and I think the 20 minute or so delayed start to the race, combined with warmer temperatures that approached 70 served to knock down most competitive runner's times a tad. At least that seemed to be the consensus of those I talked with after the race. Splits were pretty even: 6:01, 6:06, 6:04. Once again I got to "follow the bike." This time being ridden by a young woman who had to also periodically clear the sidewalk of outbound runners and walkers while I made my way back inbound during the 3rd mile.

Was great to hear a myriad of voices young and old shouting encouragement as I ran towards the finish... while trying on some level to soak in the fleeting moments of local fame... as I assiduously pushed though the inevitable pain. Yes, sometimes we get to play the hero in our own stories.

I raced the race. The field, the course, the elements, the intangibles. I even gave a small wave as I ran through a crowd of people lining the finishing chute in the middle of the soccer field at Legion Stadium. After I got done and gained a modicum of composure, I turned back up the course and cheered in my friends and the kids I'm blessed to be able to coach. Little 7 year old Hannah was puking her guts out in the last tenth of a mile... yet she kept running, amazingly. And was rewarded w/ a PR and an AG award. My Dad finished strong, and was happy afterwards to be out racing again, taking on the spirited over 70 crowd.

The stories go on and on, we all have them... and love to share them with each other afterwards. Running may be an individual endeavor... but it is truly a We sport.

Start of the race

Top 3 Overall Males