Monday, March 14, 2016

Lo Tide 5K

Start line. Beautiful morning in coastal NC

5Ks are brutal tests of speed and endurance.  We redline early on- our only respite is the finish line. If it were a boxing match, the challenge would be to not hit the mat.  Inside the maelstrom, our running psyches have to find a way to pull our fallible bodies to safe port. The only way- is forward.

Seconds tick by as we near the end like unforgiving reminders of our limitations as runners. Stand there and count to ten- it doesn't seem long, but to us athletes striving to squeeze every ounce out of our legs, arms, and hearts- it's an eternity.  The margins of error are strikingly infinitesimal.

Pacing, splits, when to pass, when to kick. Don't go out too fast. But don't leave anything in the tank. Jolly good fun.

I ran the 12th annual LoTide 5K race in my hometown Carolina Beach, NC this past Saturday. Finished with a time of 18:55.9, 5th place overall, and 1st in the 40-44 AG. The Cape Fear Flyers team that I was a member of won the team title, beating 30 other entrants.

Flyers team celebrating post-race

Several of the kids I coach had awesome races. Paxton was the 3rd place overall F with a time of 21:15- not too shabby for a 7th grader!  Zac set his 2nd consecutive PR with a time of 19:32 (he's only in 7th grade as well). Our Flyers athletes won the 9-U AG male and female, as well as 10-14 AG male and female.

Each year I get excited/ nervous for this race since it is on my home turf. There's something electric, and stimulating about racing on the very roads that I do a lot of my everyday runs on. Or it's almost surreal-  covering the same terrain in an actual competitive foot race, which I've become so infinitely familiar with the past decade or so.

Flying by the same yards and houses and dogs all there exactly like they were the day before, and the day before- but today it's so wildly different. My senses are heightened and finely tuned. I see it all and I know it all so well- though I don't really see any of it on a race day. But it's so engrained inside of me that visual confirmations are not necessary.

The leprechauns and ferries and Irish dandies all there again too. It's a party. We celebrate St. Paddy's Day a little early. We raise tens of thousands of dollars for those tender souls afflicted by the scrooge of cancer. Later that afternoon my Dad tells me he thought of my Mom just before the race started. She lost her life to cancer, but man did she fight. Just as hard as us runners fight to be the best versions of our running selves on this particular day.

Like I told my friend and fellow coach Elaine post race- I feel so blessed and grateful after each of these races at our tiny little outpost in the world. Blessed and grateful not only that I can run and participate in an activity that I love, but that I am able to share in the joy, tears, sweat, pain of all those around me for one more glorious day.

My goofy self at the awards ceremony