Rocking the horns for Amber at the finish.
There’s no better way to train and prep for a race than to forget that you registered for it. Yes folks, that’s right, I forgot I registered for a 15K race. About a month and a half ago my running buddy, Jeneen, asked me if I was still doing the Iron Horse 15K, and I told her that I never registered for it because of my injuries. I even looked back at my old emails to see if I had a confirmation for it, but I couldn’t find one, so I went on my merry little way under the assumption that I didn’t register due to my recent injuries.
And then, Friday the 13th came. A little after 8AM, I got an email informing me about packet pickup for the Iron Horse 15K. Say what? Time for panic to set in. I had no clue what time the race was on Sunday or how I was going to get there. I sent a quick text to Jeneen in a bit of a panic. She said that she was sure someone would take the bib. Uh, nope, not going to happen. If I registered, then I’m going to run it. I had 9 miles on the books for Sunday anyway, so I’d just make it a training run. Jeneen said she’d pick me up Sunday at 5:20AM, and she, Veronica, and I could all ride together to Kennesaw. After getting travel arrangements made, I was still dumbfounded as to how I could have missed the email confirmation a month earlier, and honestly, I was still hoping that it was a mistake, and I hadn’t really registered, so I searched my email again. This time, I found the email in my vacation folder instead of my running folder. Oops, I really did register.
Bright and early Sunday morning Jeneen showed up at my house, then we picked up Veronica at her house. The ride to Kennesaw was a little under an hour, so it wasn’t a bad drive. As we arrived, the packet pick up was well organized, so we got our packets quickly and stowed our stuff in the car. About 7:00AM, the line for the porta potties was getting pretty long, so we briefly discussed driving to a gas station, but opted to stand in line. With only a few minutes to spare, we finished our business and made it to the start.
Just before the gun fired, we found Joy, another running buddy, said hello, and then we were off. I caught myself chatting with Jeneen for a minute and realized that I was starting too fast, but the course started downhill, and typically I run faster downhill. I figured it’d probably even out quickly. By the end of the first mile, I had settled in pretty well to my average pace, but I was still a little fast. I lost Jeneen and Veronica around 4 minutes as I broke to a walk for my run:walk ratio of 4:1. I knew I was going to be running the race by myself, but it’s hard to stick to your plan when you want to run with your friends. I broke to my walk at 4 minutes knowing that if I didn’t I could be risking another injury, and I’d be dying by mile 3 if I tried to keep their pace. They were aiming to finish in 1:30, and there’s no way I could hang with that.
The course was pretty neat for me since it took me back by my old stomping grounds. There were lots of old memories as we ran by my Alma Mater, Kennesaw State University, and my old apartment complex. I haven’t been back on campus in forever, so I hadn’t had a chance to see the new football stadium. The course took us by the Home of the Owls on the way out and back, so I got a good view of it. I knew the area by looking at the road names, but as I ran, I couldn’t actually recognize much of it at all due to the changes. I guess a lot changes over 12 years. Needless to say, I was pretty distracted by the sights.
The course was well marked. Police were at all the intersections blocking traffic and letting cars through at some points around Town Center Mall, but they did a great job and never disrupted the runners to let the cars across. At one point, there was a break between me and the girl ahead, and an officer tried to wave a car through. The driver wasn’t watching, and the car finally noticed the officer. He made the car wait because I was too close by then. Just after I passed, he apparently tried to wave them across again, and the driver was once again not paying attention. The officer yelled at the driver about not watching. It provided me with a little giggle around mile 7.5 where I was struggling due to a rather long hill. The officer was not happy with that driver.
Mile 8-9 was my fastest mile at 10:05. It was downhill which was a nice relief after the previous mile. I knew I still had an uphill somewhere up ahead, but I couldn’t remember how far ahead. Luckily, it was only the last 3/10ths of a mile on the course. As I headed up the last hill, I saw Veronica and Jeneen standing on the side cheering for me to keep going, which sucked and was great at the same time because I really wanted to break to a walk by this point since I had skipped my last walk break trying to finish at a run. There was no way I could break to a walk with them cheering for me though, so I topped the hill feeling like I was going to hurl as I turned the corner towards the photographer and finish line. I really thought he was going to get a great photo there for a minute, but I regained my composure, smiled, and rocked the horns as I specifically thought about my friend & running buddy Amber who now lives in Kansas. She always throws the horns at the camera, and for some reason she was on my mind, so I had to do it for her. 😉
They gave all the finishers a pretty cool medal as we crossed the finish line, and there were several sponsors with pasta, pizza, muscle milk, and other food in the finish area. The race had great support, and it’s definitely one that I’d recommend to others. My finish time was 1:42:08 on my Garmin which I’m happy with considering all that I’ve been dealing with injury wise lately. My goal is to try to PR my half at the Savannah Rock n Roll, so I have to keep my eye on the prize and take it easy.
Next up, Allstate 13.1 will be another training run. I’m sticking to the plan.
Post race with Jeneen & Veronica