Crazy Race Day!

Sunday was one of my favorite races, Heels and Hills!  Love it for many reasons (besides the fact that I consider the race director a friend).  First, the real heart behind the event is getting women active - all shapes and sizes.  It offers all the options - 1 mile, 5k, 10k, and Half Marathon.  The course is flat and fast.  The race is walker-friendly.  For the May Heels and Hills, the pace team is generally men (in skirts) and only women can win awards.  (They do have a September event - Heels and Hills and Him that lets the men win awards too, and that one has an all-female pace team.)  And the bling and shirts are always awesome.

The weather predictions all week, though, were showing plummeting temps and huge storms all day Sunday.  Fun times.  But we were all gonna show up anyhow and see what the day handed us.  (Yes, if you read SUAR's blog, you'll notice that my outfit is exactly what Beth originally picked for her Boston outfit... Sherry and I had picked this out at almost the exact same time for the San Diego RnR marathon... funny coincidence.  Anyhow, we decided to try them out during this race.)

I also started the day by meeting some bloggy peeps... I finally ran into The Bitchy Runners (these girls are masters at the self-photo) - trying to get a copy of it (Angie, if you're reading this, send me a copy!!!)  I also saw Aimee

And then, I was fortunate enough to meet Keelie!  I've followed her journey for awhile, and she decided to run with us for her first half-marathon. 

In case you didn't see my post from Thursday, I was an official pace leader for 2:45 (12:30 min/mile).  Of course, I can't do anything alone (it just looks weird if I talk to myself), so I asked my trusty pace-partner-in-crime, Sherry, to pace with me.  She's such a good friend not to turn me down. 

And it was a big day as a coach because I had two runners doing first-time events - Denya doing the Half Marathon and Holly doing the 10K.

I got to the start early and already had a small group forming for the 2:45 group. My typical goofy self was all distracted taking photos, and I hear the gun go off... OOPS! Hurry Garmin, hurry. I managed to get it together and we were off.  We stayed right on pace. The temperatures were already dropping and not long in, the rain started coming down. We had a group of about 10 awesome ladies coming along with us for the journey. It was a huge pace group, and I loved it. We stayed nice and steady and walked through water stops, and tried to keep everyone together and motivated. It was all nice and smooth despite the cold and occassional rain until about mile 9.5 when a cop told us that hail was coming and that we needed to take shelter. Well the ladies I was with were having no part in that, they wanted to continue on. At one cross-section people were being waved into the police station, but the ladies wanted to continue, so Sherry and I obliged. But at about 10.5, we were officially stopped and forced off the path into a tiny covering over about 6 picnic tables (with the heavy side winds, I'm not sure how protected we were, but we were there nonetheless). Sherry and I both immediately started getting really cold (especially Sherry because I had brought a thin rain jacket), and then the tightening began. Oh how my knees started aching. Eek. After about 15 minutes of hanging out, someone said we were clear to go ahead and go (yes, it occured to me after we left that we didn't have a clue who made that announcement, but it was not the police/medical staff who were making the decisions regarding the weather). So off we went. Our group had shrunk a tad because in the commotion of the re-start we got split up a little. But these ladies were determined to push through the last 2 1/2 miles... and we did (slightly ahead of pace). 

(I ran ahead of the group to try to get a photo... great idea... poor execution!)

We came upon police directing us unto the final stretch.  Both Sherry and I know this course pretty well, and we knew it was too early for that... so I asked and confirmed, that yes, they had cut the course short to get people back and to safety as soon as possible.  We brought it in at 2:33 for 12.45 miles.  We were pretty on-target for coming in just a couple minutes ahead of the 2:45 pace time.  I know some were disappointed at the shortened distance, but I still say they completed their half marathon.  There's not much you can do when the weather doesn't participate.  Fortunately, the huge storm with damaging hail and wind just missed us.  We just got the wind, cold, and drizzle... and all the excitement of a crazy day.

At the finish - Me, Keelie (who is wearing the race shirt), Monica (who you might remember ran her first half just a month ago at Rock n Roll Dallas), and Sherry

Me and the awesome Denya, who I helped coach to her first half marathon.  Yeah, she asked me to coach her to a 10k for Heels and Hills, but you know me... I knew she had more in her.  She did AMAZING.  She told me after that she felt strong the entire time.  She started with our pace group but then left us in the dust.  She finished in 2:22 for the 12.45 miles... which puts her right around 2:30 had the course not been shortened.  That's amazing.  And if you think it's just me that's a crazy raceaholic... Denya is going for half marathon #2 this Saturday.  We'll be running together at the White Rock Centennial.  I love when my crazy rubs off!!!

And if you remember, Sherry and I also had some friends running the 10k... I gave Holly two goals - 1:15 is the I'm happy with my performance and 1:11 is the go big and lay it all on the line performance.  Could I be a prouder coach?  Holly came in at 1:10:46 for her first 10k.  I love it!  I'm all about going for it on race day, and she did!!!  And Heather (who Sherry has been coaching to her first 10k) did unbelievable and stayed side-by-side with Holly the whole time, and surpassed her goal time!  They also ran with a friend, Jennifer, who hung in at their pace as well.  Congrats to all of these ladies!  (Me and Holly in the photo to the right.)

(Me, Jennifer, Holly, Heather, and Sherry)
A crazy race day... but plenty of reason to celebrate!!!