February 21, 2015

Best time of the year: Mercedes Marathon weekend

Welcome to one of my favorite weekends of the year here in Birmingham: Mercedes Marathon weekend! Even though I'm volunteering more than I'm running this weekend, there is no shortage of fun in just being near the event.

Before I had decided whether or not to run the race this year, a friend approached me about pacing her for six miles during her Boston qualifying attempt. Not just any miles, the final six miles. All of you marathoners out there know these miles are where the wheels can fall off, so I am prepping myself to give lots of straight talk tomorrow. Or zero straight talk and lots of pep talk. All dependent on the situation of course. Since I know she won't have time to read this and freak herself out by whatever I write here, I will lay down a little straight talk here. If she is on track for her goal but psyching herself out, I plan to be a little mean and do my best to force her to push and run in a way that will most likely be very uncomfortable at the end of that many miles. But if she is off on her goal and discouraged, I will be nice and encouraging. So basically, if she read this and then thought I was being too nice during my pacing job tomorrow, she might freak out that she isn't hitting her goal. It's weird how our brains tend to shut off after so many miles of hard racing, and you really can't trust normal functions like instinct and basic math skills. All out the window at that point of exhaustion.

Today was the day of the superhero 5K and kids' marathon for Mercedes. We have one child who is now too old for the kids' race, and I am crying inside about it. I probably should have pushed more for her to run the 5K, but honestly, I knew that we were doing so many other things at the race, that one added event might push us over the edge. Or at least push my husband's running tolerance over the edge.

Our friends ran and had a blast dressing up in their capes and running together as a family.

Team Knight running the superhero 5K. 

Instead of running the 5K, Bella made an excellent cheer team partner, when she wasn't getting blown off her feet (literally) by the wind. That wind did not mess around. Debris was constantly hitting us in the face, and gloves, hats, and spit were flying everywhere.

Losing my voice and wondering why I bothered to brush my hair.

Getting Wizard of Oz windy out there. 

Enoch kept his run casual with jeans and no socks. And possibly an untied shoe.

Enoch on the run.

The kindergartners were the only group that I worried about. In years past, they have allowed parents to run with them, but this year, they had them run without parents, with the option for all parents to run with children of all ages at the end. With the crazy rough wind that was literally knocking kids down, some of them were scared and not sure why their parents thought this was a good idea.

Kindergarteners start their race.

My kids seemed pretty happy running by me, so I let them move along without me. But a little kid at the very end of the pack, who seemed confused and scared, saw me and walked up to me for help. I held his hand and ran him to the finish chute, crying the whole way (by him, not me:)). While I was with him, I saw my own child get knocked over by the wind and start crying, so at one point I was sandwiched between two kindergarteners crying their eyes out. It was both funny and sad.

Ezra on the run. My not-sad kindergartener.

So if anyone on earth cares what I think, please let parents run with the kindergarteners again. They need more guidance on their first year of this event. 

After the kids' race, I headed over to Boutwell Auditorium for the marathon expo, where I got to talk to all the people all day about trail running and Birmingham Ultra Trail Society! Pretty much this was my equivalent of a perfect day. 

And I got to visit my favorite sock booth: Swiftwick! I have worn the same Swiftwick compression socks for four years, and they still maintain their compression. And I have tried my hardest to wear those suckers out! So I finally decided to get another pair today. Unfortunately, they were out of my size in the color I wanted at the end of the expo, so I hopped online and found them. I have been dreaming about this color since I saw them in Savannah last year. 

So best weekend ever has one more day left, and then back to regular life around here. But regular life is getting really fun too. 

Some things that I currently have on tap:

1) Getting prepped to lead the Resolute Running training program for this year's Southeastern Trail Series. We are offering great discounts when you combine coaching and the trail series registration! Having run this series two years in a row, I can tell you that you will know (not just feel!) that you have tested your limits and won a battle. Plus runners in this training group will have their own VIP tent at the races, pre-race course preview runs, extra swag, and more.

2) Also looking forward to The Women's Trail Summit, coming up on my birthday weekend, April 17-19. Basically this will be the best slumber party that ever happened to you. We'll be running, eating, doing yoga, workshopping, and stand-up paddling. Plus we are giving away door prizes, one of which is an entry into the entire Southeastern Trail Series, plus the training package to go with it (see number 1!). 

3) And we just started planning our next epic summer adventure. This time we are road tripping with kiddos to Los Angeles and then up to Portland and Seattle. This summer is looking awesome!

What is your next epic adventure?

Name your favorite race weekend. Is it in your hometown or somewhere you visit?

Which socks are your favorite? Do you buy colored socks or black? 

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