Sunday, July 31, 2011

Friends of the W&OD 10k

July 30, 2011 6:30 PM
Vienna, VA
Time Pace Division Division
Bib #
Owen 48:55 7:53 M30-39 17/50 56/163 75/325 194
Malissa 1:17:45 12:32 F20-29 48/53 138/162 293/325 192
Michael 47:44 7:42 M1-19 3/11 42/163 60/325 193
Torre 1:17:45 12:32 M40-49 39/40 156/163 294/325 268

Written by Owen

We travelled to Virginia to spend time with Grandma and Gramps, and also to run in a 10k.
The week leading up to the race had been very, very hot.  This race was scheduled at night (why do they do that?).  There was some relief so it wasn't as bad as expected but the heat index was still in the 90's.

Malissa ran with Torre the whole distance.  I tried to keep up with Michael, but couldn't.

Michael's age group was up through 19 year olds (they don't expect kids to run that far). He still took third place (barely missing out on 2nd) with a time of 47:44. 6.2 miles at an average pace of 7:42. I am so proud of him. My time was 48:55. 

At the award ceremony, when they announced his name and he walked up to the table to collect his award, there was a collective gasp from the croud that made me SO PROUD. Everyone was shocked by how little he was with such a great time.
Michael accepting his award.
More pictures of this event

Written by Malissa

Torre was nice enough to run with me during the race. I don't normally run with anyone so it was nice to have him there to pace me and talk to. It was a really hard run for me do to the heat and because I normally run in the mornings. I don't think I would have done as good as I did if he wasn't there to encourage me. We came in at a time of 1:17:45. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

We're running Big Sur!

Written by Malissa

We have decided to run the Big Sur International Marathon this coming April! I'm probably a little crazy in the head but I think if I continue my training I will be more than ready come April. I was planning on running the San Diego Marathon in June but after seeing pictures of Big Sur's course and once Owen told me it ends in Carmel (one of my favorite places ever) I knew this was the marathon for me. Also this April I'm turning 30 and I thought it would be fun to torture myself a little.
My friend Melissa is running it with me. I'm so excited, we started our running journey about the same time. She has been training in California while I train here in North Carolina so it's going to be so fun to finally be able to run together!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Peachtree Road Race 10k

July 4, 2011 7:30 AM
Atlanta, GA
Time Pace Division Division
Bib #
Owen 51:06 8:14 M35-39 471/3,353 3,308/28,385 4,095/55,090 D16359
Michael 48:19 7:48 M1-14 31/985 2,092/28,385 2,501/55,090 A4577

Owen's recollections of July 4th, 2011:

We awoke at 5:00am, got our running gear on that we had set out the night before.  We were staying in the Courtyard Hotel, about a mile from the finish line.  The race didn't start until 7:30am, but we needed to catch a train to the starting line, as it was a point to point race and we wanted to secure our positions early.  Here is how Kyle and Alicia were sleeping as we left.

Michael and I walked about 1/4 mile to the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) station.  There, we bought our passes and boarded a train headed North. Once on the train we noticed we had boarded the wrong train, this train forked away from the path we wanted.  Some other runners mentioned we could stay on and just walk a tiny bit further and it's actually better because there are less people coming from that direction.  I decided I wanted to stick to my plan so we got off at the next station and waited to board the correct train.

I am really glad I boarded the wrong train, then made the decision to get on the right one.  Otherwise we wouldn't have met Gary.  While waiting for the second train, Gary approached us and commented on Michael's bib.  At the Peachtree Road Race, because there are so many runners (60,000), they seed you into starting waves, and that information is represented by a letter at the beginning of your bib.  Michael qualified for the first wave, so his bib started with an 'A'.  At the train station, where 100's of other runners waited for the train, everyone was eying their competition.  Michael got a lot of comments because he was so small and yet was wearing an 'A' bib.

Gary, Michael, and I had a nice conversation while waiting for the train to arrive.  He asked where we were from, when we answered Charlotte, he mentioned how he was once injured while running at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.  Michael and I had just ran 8 miles there a couple of weeks earlier and had decided not to do it again for fear of injury.  They welcome runners, but the paths are more designed for mountain-bikers.  Tree roots are everywhere, Michael tripped and fell 5 separate times during our run.  I turned an ankle, but did not injure myself.

Once the train arrived, we boarded and sat across from Gary. We asked him to take our picture, below:

After we arrived at the MARTA station nearest the starting point, Gary went his separate way, and I didn't give it much thought at the time.  Michael and I had about a quarter mile walk to the starting point.  It was still dark at this point, and not very many runners were there that early.  Each start wave was fenced off from the others, and they had volunteers making sure nobody from a slower wave tried to enter a faster wave's staging area.  So Michael and I had to separate far earlier than I had hoped.

Saying goodbye to Michael in the streets of downtown Atlanta, in the dark, knowing that 60,000 runners and 150,000 fans would be in the area was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.  We had purchased a pre-paid cell phone that he carried with him, and we had plans of what we would do at the finish area to reunite.

Because we were so early, I was able to secure a position at the front of start wave 'D'.  From there I snapped the following pictures and video.
Still very early, Michael is down there under the flag in starting wave 'A', while I am back in starting wave 'D'.

Michael's group is starting.

Group C is starting, I'm next...

I had to wait about 90 minutes by myself, hoping Michael was OK.  I called him once and he was just as brave as can be.  Two noteworthy memories during this 90 minute wait: 1) While waiting I was talking to a stranger, making small talk.  I asked if he had kids and if they were running.  He said he did have a son, but that he was not running because he was only 10.  Pretty funny in my position with my 10 year old son down there out of sight, preparing for his run. 2) They sang the National Anthem, concluded by the most amazing F16 flyover.  That was an amazing moment, I thought the buildings were shaking they were so low and loud.

When the race started for group 'A', tears were rolling down my cheeks, as they are now as I write this. Just a few minutes later, they were marching us up to the start line and I was off.

I wanted to take pictures and/or video during the race, but it was so crowded I was worried I'd run over someone if my focus wasn't 100% on weaving in and out of the slower runners.  My goal was to be below 50 minutes (8:04 per mile).  I think I could have achieved that if I was up with Michael, but back in start wave 'D' I had to navigate constantly to pass people, slowing down, speeding up, etc.  At the end of the race my Garmin said I had run 6.35 miles (on a 6.2 mile course).  My time ended up at 51:06 (8:15 per mile).

After I finished, I collected my finisher's shirt, and started to make my way over to the area we had planned to meet up.  I called Michael, but he had accidentally turned his phone off!  Luckily he did that after talking to Malissa and they had already met up.  I talked to Malissa and told her exactly where I was and we reunited with no issues.

Come to find out, Michael had met up with Gary (from the train) during the race.  Gary took Michael under his wing and really helped Michael, by pacing him, helping him at the water stations, etc.  Michael finished with a time of 48:19 (7:48 per mile).

We made our way back to the hotel room, collecting free popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, peaches, and Powerade along the way. We showered, called our parents, and relaxed for a while at the hotel room before packing up and heading home.

While on the ride home, Malissa and I discussed Gary and how awesome it was that he was there to protect Michael.  We decided we would try to find him (at the time I didn't even know his name).  When released their pictures, we were anxious to find every one with Michael in it so we could get Gary's race number, then use the results to find his name.  I was quite disappointed when he wasn't in a single picture with Michael.

We then received an email from Gary, who had looked at the results for 10 year olds and found the fastest one, then Googled his name.  He remembered we were from Charlotte, which is also listed in the results.  His Google search led him to this blog, where he commented and gave us his email address.  We have now exchanged emails and are friends on Facebook.  I hope to meet up with him again one day.

Here are some pictures Malissa took at the finish area.

Kyle, Alicia, and I woke up at 6am. While I was getting dressed I got a phone call from Owen saying he had just dropped Michael off at starting wave 'A'. I began to panic a bit because I thought Owen was going to stay with Michael until right before he started. Owen reassured me everything was going to be okay and then a few seconds later I got a call from Michael. He sounded so little but grown up on the other side of the phone. He was telling me about the train ride and how he was so excited for the race to start.

After I got off the phone with Michael we finished getting dressed and then started walking to the finish line. We walked a little over a mile, weaving in and out of people. I was focused, all I wanted to do was get to the area where the runners would be as soon as they were finished with the race so I could get my baby! I was standing next to a lady who was waiting for her 13 year old son. Like Michael, this was his first 10k. We both were waiting anxiously looking for our sons to come through the white gates. We were getting a little nervous when we didn't see them come through the gates at the time that we thought they would. I worried that because Owen was not there to pace Michael that he might have started out too fast and was having a hard time finishing. Then I got the call I was waiting for (I'm so thankful we bought Michael the prepaid phone). He finished the race and was waiting for me at the A balloon. In the park where I was waiting to pick Michael up they had balloons set up with each letter of the alphabet on them so you could make plans ahead of time to meet at a specific balloon after the race. We told Michael to meet us at the L balloon and then give us a call. Again I was so glad that we gave him the phone because he said he didn't hear us tell him that and that he decided to go to a random balloon.

As soon as I saw Michael's face I was a happy mom and was ready to have fun. 

Here are few pictures I took of the massive crowd of finishers. It was so crazy!

While we waited to get a phone call for Owen we went searching for a Georgia peach. You can't run in the Peachtree Road Race and not eat a peach afterwards.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Firecracker 5k

July 2, 2011 8:00 AM
Huntersville, NC
Time Pace Division Division
Bib #
Owen 30:45* 9:55* M35-39 29/37* 175/234* 277/471* 172
Malissa 45:37** 14:43** F25-29 29/29** 226/237** 453/471** 170
Michael 21:21 6:53 M10-12 2/15 59/234 69/471 171
Kyle 45:37 14:43 M8-9 7/8 229/234 454/471 169
Alicia 30:45 9:55 F1-7 1/1 101/237 276/471 198
*Owen paced Alicia
**Malissa paced Kyle

Written by Malissa

This morning, before we headed to Columbus Georgia, our whole family ran a 5k. Kyle and Alicia have been training for a 5k that we plan to run in September. It was going to be their first one but we came across the Firecracker 5k and loved how it had smaller age divisions. The kids were each in their own age division instead of it being 0-10, 0-13, or 0-18.

Kyle was my running buddy.

Alicia was Owen's running buddy.

And Michael was the one who was going to beat us all.

Kyle realized he needed to go to the bathroom halfway through the race. There were no bathrooms along the course and he didn't understand why we couldn't just knock on one of the many houses we passed by. I explained to him that there was a bathroom waiting for him at the finish line and that the faster we ran the faster he could use it. The poor guy was in so much pain but kept going. Here we are finishing the race. Alicia and Michael were cheering us on.

Waiting to hear who the winners are:

Alicia won first place in her age divison!

Michael won 2nd place in his age division!

Go Lillywhites!