I was sweating by 6:15am. It was THAT hot 'n humid today. I was on this race committee and had registration duty which is the only reason I was there so early. Cindy was there with her 3 month old daughter, Emily Grace so what I REALLY did was hold the baby until she fell asleep, then I handed out t-shirts. Ha!! Grandma practice!!!
Kim and Kayla at the Firecracker 5K!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kayla came in with her husband Josh around 7am and I could tell she was a little nervous/excited. We wore gray tops and black shorts so we could match (it's a girl thing). Deb showed up soaked and out of breath. Seems she decided to "warm up" with a 6 mile bike ride to the race. Gotta love Deb....LOL...and I do!!! Steph and Elizabeth came soon after. All of us were excited for Kayla's 1st race!
We were NOT excited about the heat and humidity. We usually run at 6:30am and yeah, it's still hot but even an hour later it gets BRUTAL. I could only hope some people had their sprinklers on to run through!
One really cool thing that happened...when the national anthem was being sung, someone from the front started singing along. One by one everyone joined in. It was such a touching moment. It gave us pause to think about our men and women over in Iraq. Hopefully they stay safe and come home to their families soon.
The horn went off and away we went. Starting off already hot and sweaty was making us feel like it might be a tough run. It was. We did the "hop-around-the-kids" dance and got through that without a fall. I love seeing the kids there but they tend to run in a zig-zag pattern...haha! We made it to the first mile in 9:15, very nice. I looked over at Kayla and she was going strong! We got to the half way turning point where our friend Ed was monitoring and he gave us the lucky high 5. We made the turn in just over 14 minutes. I was PUMPED! Kayla's goal was to come in under 30 minutes and I sooo wanted to see her make that time.
By the time we got to the 2 mile marker the sun was just beating down on us. Sweat was pouring off all of us. We slowed a bit about here. Kayla wanted to go without a walk break but with the elements being what they were I pulled a coach card and called a 20 second walk. I pointed out that the crowd wasn't really getting very far ahead of us. Everyone was slowing down.
After a quick (silent) evaluation of any health issues (like heat exhaustion) we started back up. We caught up to the crowd we were basically with when we took the shorty walk break. When we saw the 3 mile marker we kicked it up a notch. It looked like a close one to come in under 30 minutes. When we saw the finish line we booked it in to the sounds of Michelle (Kayla's sister) and Josh screaming for Kayla!!!! It was so exciting!!! We made it in in 30:02! Soaked with sweat and looking for water.
I was worried Kayla would be disappointed we missed it by 3 seconds but she was thrilled! I reminded her we actually took at least 7 seconds to get to the starting line, so in REALITY we did finish in 29:54. Josh and Steph agreed. These are the times I wish we had chips. Anyway, Kayla wanted to take off before the parade got started but I talked her into waiting for awards. What she didn't know was I have CONNECTIONS and found out she PLACED IN HER AGE GROUP and had a medal coming to her! And the really cool thing was...my friend Kimmi and I were the award announcers and I was going to be able to call her name! OMG...can I even get my feelings across in this blog???? No, I cannot.
At the women's age 25-29...2nd place in her age group...KAYLA!!! I had tears, I swear! My voice even cracked a little. I am so very HAPPY!!! After all the awards went out I ran over for big sweaty hugs!! She is so thrilled! Kayla had a surprise for me! She gave me a gift certificate for a massage!!! How sweet is that?!? I am looking forward to that, I'll tell ya!
Today was a satisfying finish to a wonderful training with Kayla. We trained hard together, running at the crack of dawn. In the rain. In the heat. Even swimming through the humidity. We had fun, we ached and sweated, we planned for this day with excitement. Our friendship built strong and quickly over such a short period of time. Kayla leaves for Japan next week and I will miss her terribly. She is sweet, fun, intelligent and so full of life! I predict many more medals coming her way. I am genuinely blessed to have her for a friend.