This weekend we culminated another great season of Girls on the Run with our 5K race. I couldn’t be more proud of all of our girls! They did AMAZING! And what an accomplishment! Not every adult can even say that they’ve run a 5K! To see the girls faces light up when we shared that news with them was unforgettable and so incredibly rewarding to have coached them through their training.
It was a really chilly morning! And as I stood with the girls before the race, a little bit crouched and hunched over, one of my 4th graders asked “Nikki do you need to go to the bathroom??!!??” Ahh, brutal honesty from those kids! I laughed and explained that I was just so cold(!) I was trying to warm up with my silly stance! I had the pleasure of running with my niece and her best friend, Anna. It was so cool to witness my niece encouraging Anna throughout the run. When Anna would tire and want to walk, Tawnie would grab her hand and run her through the tough spots. It seriously melted my heart. And Anna was a super star! At one point, I turned around to run backwards and cheer her on, I told her to imagine a cord coming out of me to her and told her to use that cord and pull herself up next me. She acted out the process of pulling herself close and we laughed the whole way. Near the end, when we could see the finish line, Anna didn’t know if she could make it. Tawnie told her to picture a big ice cream cone waiting at the finish. I said, wait, imagine I’m the ice cream cone just ahead of you and you want to eat me! Chase me! It didn’t take long before Anna came chomping up, grabbing me and pretending to take bites out of me. Such an imaginative kid- I loved her spontaneity and vulnerability! It was such a truly rewarding experience and again, I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to coach a program of this caliber and work with this great group of girls! Pictures from the 5K are to come! Here is snapshot of why I love these girls so much!
It also happened to be Josh’s birthday on Saturday! Immediately following the 5K, I hurriedly got ready and we hit the road for the Nebraska Husker Football game. We listened to my Badgers kill the Hawkeyes on the radio on the way to Lincoln and while I inwardly celebrated the Badgers win, I cheered on the Huskers… all for Josh.
Sunday, we culminated our weekend with a 22 mile training run. This run is what gives me the confidence that I can complete 26.2 miles in just 5 weeks. 5 weeks! Yikes! I approached this long training run very differently than I have in the past. Usually, I prepare all week-long. Get great sleep, do not consume any alcohol, and just take care of myself! This time, I enjoyed several adult beverages throughout the week with Josh, including Friday night and before the game on Saturday. When I woke up with a headache Sunday morning, I knew I was starting the run dehydrated and wondered how I would fare.
The 1st 11 miles we ran around the capitol and through downtown Des Moines with our dogs. We clipped along at a pretty good pace- sub 9 min/mile. Thankfully, my headache faded away too. I felt good and rather than worry about keeping the pace for 22 miles, I decided to just run what felt good. We tackled several hills in that first half before we dropped the dogs off at Josh’s and I refilled my gummy bear stash and water.
The 2nd half of the run, we went on a “wedding day tour” :). We ran past the Wallace House, where our ceremony is.
Then, we routed our way to West End Architectural Salvage, where our reception is.
We wound around MLK Parkway, past Principal Park and our doggy day care, before turning back and running through the East Village. Last on our tour, we ran past the Suites of 800 Locust, where we’ll stay on our wedding night!
It made for a fun run! As we headed back towards Josh’s house and tackled the hills up Grand Avenue, we planned out where we would eat post run! Together, we decided on Mexican :). As I started to tire out, I started to drop gummy bears each time I reached for a handful. Good thing for practice runs- I know I’ll need to pack more than I need to consume during the marathon to account for the ones I’ll drop :). The gummy bear trial is going well, I haven’t had gut rot during a run at all this training period and I’ve felt great throughout each run, not lacking in energy or fuel.
The last 2 miles proved to be mentally challenging for me. I found myself getting irritated by nothing at all. I was mad at the topsy-turvy sidewalk along Polk Blvd. I was mad at the home owners who hadn’t cleared the leaves off the side-walk so I could see the bends and cracks in the side-walk. I knew I needed to shake the feeling and concentrate on finishing. Even as I battled the mental monkeys, my legs felt strong. Even after the hilly 22 mile route. More proof for me that hill repeats are, in fact, paying off. And, further proof that I shouldn’t nix them from my training plan.
All in all, it was a great 22 mile run! Phew! I’m not going to lie though, I am glad it’s done and over. :). Cheers!