First off, let me say that people on the VA Tech Triathlon team have been trying to get me to run this race for the past 3 years. Me being stubborn person I am, I decided to do the race on my own time. So what made me finally decide to do it? Well (1) Iím a senior (even though Iím not graduating-gotta love the 5 year plan), (2) that my dad agreed to run with me, (3) Iíve been wanting to enjoy those wonderful yummies I always see at the aid stations each time Iíve crew for my teammates at Masochist & Hellgate, and (4) I couldnít think of a better way to spend Valentineís Day with my two favorite men: My dad and my boyfriend Jordan (who also raced, and dominated by placing 7th! J)
To my own surprise, I actually put in some descent training, which definitely paid off race day. My dad did too, and Iím not afraid to say that, though heís 59 and Iím 21, he usually kicks my butt when it comes to runningÖ
Race morning: Surprisingly woke up in a great mood. Usually Iím nervous and lay in bed wondering whether I should just go back to sleep rather than race. So I got myself ready, went to the lodge and eventually found my dad. Before the race started I went back to the cabin a few too many times, because the last time that bed was definitely looking much more warm and appealing than running outside in the cold. Finally, the race began, and I took off up the hill with my dad already insisting that I slow down (heís much better at pacing himself than I am, and without him Iím sure I wouldíve killed myself in that first lap). When we arrived at the first aid station I was informed that I was one of the last Tech runners, which made me want to pick up the pace even more, but I listened to my dad and held back, as hard as it was, for the first half of the race.
The first half was uneventful. Pretty much, I was in a hurry and my dad kept insisting that I save some energy for later. I was definitely enjoying the aid station food, up until the end of the first half. At aid station 3 there were some pop-tarts and swiss rolls, two of my favorite foods, and I decided to indulge a little too much. I paid for this by feeling sick for the next hour and a half but, the food stayed down, thatís all that matterís right?
I arrived at the turn around at approximately 2:55, right on pace to break 6 hours (our tentative goal). Seeing this, and seeing that my friends were a good 10-15 minutes ahead of me, I was ready to move out and not spend much time at aid station 4. But my dad had other plans, and I patiently waited for what seemed like FOREVER as he changed into some cooler clothes and ate (love you daddy!). At 3 hrs, we were off, and again I was in a hurry to catch my friends. It wasnít until about 23 miles when they were finally in sight, and this gave me an extra surge of energy. I was pleasantly surprised to be rearing to go so late in the race. We past them, and kept moving forward towards aid station 6. At that point we had caught up to our good friend John Price and were on pace to run a 5:45. We stopped briefly at the aid station and chatted with John for a few seconds. It was quite amusing to me, because I turned to get a fig newton (another one of my favorites), and the next thing I know he was nowhere to be seen. Guess we scared him off, because we never saw him again for the remainder of the race.
The rest of the race seemed to drag on. I was definitely starting to feel the mileage, but still pleasantly rearing to go and optimistic about the rest of the race. At this point, dad was starting to struggle as he started tripping over roots and fell a couple of times. Reluctantly, I slowed down as he wanted to take it easy over the rougher parts of the trail. I guess all my experiences of crewing my friends had paid off, because I had no trouble negotiating the rougher terrain.
At the last aid station, my dad insisted that I leave him behind and work towards finishing in less than 6 hours. This was very tempting, because I was still feeling pretty good, and I knew we were cutting it close, but I decided that finishing with my dad was much more important than my overall finishing time. When we finally reach the road (which never looked so good!) we had 5 minutes to cover 6/10ths of a mile. I yelled at my dad to hurry and painfully negotiated my way down the final stretch. To our delight, we finished in 5:59:28, with a few seconds to spare! At that point we were ďattackedĒ Horton and the camera-man, who took delight in the fact my dad and I ran together, and about the sign that I wore on my back during the race that read ďI love my daddy.Ē Horton was his typical self and insisted in a picture, with him standing BETWEEN myself and my dad (this isnít the first heís done this as he loves to be the center of attention!). J