Race: Capital City Stampede 10K Run & 2 Mile Walk
Place: Frankfort, Kentucky
Date: June 13, 2015
Racing was not on my mind on the morning of the Capital City Stampede 10K Run & 2 Mile Walk. I was, sadly, not participating in the Frankfort Trifecta Run/Walk Series this year, due to this nagging hip labrum tear that just won’t stop bringing me down. I missed the Run For The Gold 3K in March due to my hip. Then, I missed the Pro.Active For Life 5K in April because…of the hip and because BOSTON MARATHON!
But…here I was, up bright and early, before the sun came up, drinking coffee and getting ready to head out to Frankfort, regardless of not being able to run. Why?
Because one thing this series has taught me is just how wonderful the running community of Frankfort is. Seriously, I feel like I actually live there, so many people recognize me or know me. It’s like a home away from home. Even the guy at Cool Comfort, the running store there in town, knew who I was when I stopped by with Linda (my running coach) after the race and some time chatting at the coffeehouse. I said it once, I’ll say it again…the running community in Frankfort is one of the nicest, most genuine, wonderful groups I have been around. And I have run in a lot of different places in many different races. None have been so open and welcoming as Frankfort. From the first race I ran there, I’ve never been made to feel like I didn’t belong or that I wasn’t a part of the festivities, just because I drive down from Louisville to participate in the race there. They have been with me and asked after me through my injury and rehab…and I love to call them my running home away from home.
So, there I was, arriving just moments before the start of the Capital City Stampede on Saturday morning to cheer on the great people of Frankfort as they made the trek through the streets of the city and to leave it all out on the course and a very humid, very sweaty morning. I was there in enough time to get hugs and talk with a few people, and I went to pick up my packet and the packets for the previous two races I was sidelined during. The call to lineup to begin the race happened, and I set down my race packet and just turned to look at the starting area, now filling up with runners of all different shapes, sizes, and speeds.
I had forgotten how much I loved that feeling…up until that point.
Cathy told me a little bit later that I was standing there with the saddest look on my face. It must have been true because all of a sudden, with like, one minute to go…she says, “Do you want to pin on your bib and do the two mile walk?” I nodded almost immediately. “Yeah…yeah I do.” So, she pinned me up faster than ever and I began to walk toward the starting line. I moved past all the speedy folks, catching Linda and telling her I was going to walk it. She lit up with a smile. So, I stood with the walkers at the back for a total of maybe 5 seconds when the starting horn went off. And there I was…watching runners run up the hill to circle the Capitol building…and I strode, quickly, mind you, right behind them. As I crossed the starting line, I threw my hands up in the air and smiled at Cathy, who took a picture. And so…there I was…walking a race.
There is such a different perspective from the back of the pack. Honestly. I got to see runners taking up the back for the 10K…but not caring that they were in the back. They had one thing on their mind…making it to that finish line. I circled around as the hill leveled off and then, rounded to come down the other side. This was a nice downhill and naturally my pace picked up. I decided, at this point, why not try a little easy jogging. And so…I did.
I won’t lie…it wasn’t pain free, but it wasn’t anywhere near the levels I had at Boston. I was mobile and could stay mobile. At the end of the drive, Melissa, the race director was yelling for the 10K to keep going straight and the 2 milers to turn and go down to the cone just beyond the parking garage. I was too busy looking over and telling her that she didn’t see me doing this that I forgot to turn, so I doubled back because, yeah, not 10K ready, not even at a walk at the moment. I was behind a couple of ladies, but not by too much. I figured I’d just follow them. This is the part of the 10K race that is very desolate. No one really around to cheer. You go down this hill and out to the parking garage for the Capitol. I actually passed the second person ahead of me in the walk (I was back to walking, mind you), and headed under the parking garage. I expected to see a cone there, but it was not in sight. So…the woman in front of me kept going, and so did I. She finally reached the 4 mile marker and turned around. She commented that she was already at 1.6 miles. The rest of us just sort of did the same thing. People coming the other way after I made the turn asked about where I turned around and I told them at the 4 Mile mark, so they kept on trekking that way too. It wasn’t too long after I made the turn that I saw the pace car coming down the hill. The lead male in the 10K was already coming this way. Holy crap! I cheered from my side of the road as he passed by. And then I kept that going for everyone who followed, including Nate, who was in 4th place, I think…who called me out by name when he saw me. The first female was next, although without a rider to pace her through. I knew Linda wouldn’t be too far behind her. I kept on working my way back, picking up the pace at times, toward the parking garage. I hadn’t reached it yet when I saw Linda coming.
She eased up her pace, opened her arms when she saw me walking the other way, and gave me a big hug. “I’m so glad you’re here!” she said to me. I almost cried. Seriously. She’s in the middle of a race and she took a moment to do that. For me. I thanked her and said that she was doing great and to keep going! She did.
I went through the shady garage and began my climb up the hill. As I did, cheering on runners the entire time, I saw Melissa jogging toward me. As she neared I said, “There was no cone!” She said she heard and she was going to figure that out now. Ah…the joys of being a race director.
I came up and around the corner to the road that would take me back to the turn back onto the street with the finish line. I could see the police cars ahead. I picked up the pace a little again. And as I rounded the corner, I figured, “Hell with it!” And for the last stretch up to that finish line, I jogged. Easy. Light. Not hurting, just uncomfortable. And as I crossed that finish line, I threw my hands up in the air to celebrate. I admit, even doing the walk, it felt really damn good to cross that finish line.
I grabbed some water and cheered for the walkers coming in behind me. And then, the runners as they began to come in. I had moved up to the line and was clapping and cheering when Greg, one of the Frankfort running peeps, came up and said, “Last year, I followed you for most of the race.” HAHAHA!! He’s right, but he passed me up at the end, but not without encouraging me to keep going to and push hard for that finish. I remembered him. Because he encouraged me, a complete stranger that year, to push on and try to be the woman ahead of me. See what I mean about the people in Frankfort? So, we chatted and cheered and I kept an eye out for Linda. With the humidity, full sun, and the heat, runners were slowing their paces…which is very smart.
When we saw Linda come around that corner, Greg, Cathy, Nate and I were just screaming for her. She came barreling across the finish line, looking fantastic. We stayed around to chat and cheer some more…and I wasn’t going to miss seeing these amazing people collect the awards for their hard-run races.
I have to admit, though, it was really, really weird when the top three finisher awards for the 10K were given out not to hear my name. It was doubly weird to not hear my name when they announced the First Female Open Winner, as I’ve taken that award the past two years. But I clapped and cheered for the people who did take those awards. They earned them. They trained and totally deserved them. And, yes, I was proud of them…even if I didn’t know them. Linda, once again, took first in the Masters division. And Greg and Nate both placed as well in their age groups. It was phenomenal. And, we had one really loud cheering section in our little corner of the Capitol stairs. When the team awards were handed out, Cool Comfort won first and Linda told me to come and be in the picture.
And the thing was…I didn’t feel like I wasn’t a part of the team. It was very nice of them to include me.
Afterwards, Linda, Cathy, Emily, and I went over to the Kentucky Coffeetree Cafe, where we got something to drink, and in some cases something to nosh on after the race. I sipped on an unsweetened tea and handed Linda over a jar of the blueberry jam I had made the night before. We chatted for a little while, about so many different things…and afterwards, as we left to go over to Cool Comfort, I rode with Linda and we discussed her becoming my coach.
The biggest thing for me is going to be slowing down my training runs. Or, as it was put, “You need to slow the f*** down.” I can’t argue. I knew that was going to be the case and I promised I would work on my pacing in my runs once I am back to being out on the road. I was given some samples of Sword to try…and soon…I was heading back to Louisville, because we had a rental car to pick up as Cathy had to drive to Atlanta on Sunday to try out for Jeopardy.
So…here it is…with the missing cone for the turnaround, I walked 2.54 miles in 29:47. I was 2/43 walkers overall. I was 2/35 women to cross the finish line in the walk portion. And, finally, I was 1/5 women in my division doing the walk. Not that the walk gets awards, I just looked up the stats because that’s what I do.
You know, this felt good. It didn’t feel great. It wasn’t amazing. But it was good. Since this race, I’ve returned to physical therapy, where I was told I should NOT be doing any sort of running at this point. Not even short jogs. So…I’m back to not running at all for at least 2 weeks. But Frankfort, as always, welcomed me with open arms, and really did a lot for my confidence that morning. It had been awhile since I smiled that much. It was just what I needed. A good walk, in a good place, with good people.
Yeah…that’s what it’s all about.
This comeback kid is on the brink of another comeback. So, stay tuned…