An introduction by Coach Mae Coffman:
I met Kristen McKay when she attended a “Mom’s Night Out” event at the Cedar Park store this past summer. She inquired about the Run Like a Mother group, explaining she was just starting out as a runner, recently having worked up to one mile in her neighborhood. A month later she joined the group with the goal of tackling a 5K race.
Runners like Kristen are the reason why I love coaching so much. She epitomizes what it means to be a Rogue. Over the course of the last 5 months, I have watched her blossom in her newfound runner identity. She celebrates every accomplishment– from being able to run 3 miles without stopping to the first double-digit long run.
Though she has a visual impairment, it hasn’t been a limiting factor in her progress. You would think the idea of running on unfamiliar roads and racecourses would intimidate her, but Kristen just gets out there and tackles each challenge with confidence and a smile on her face. She inspires her husband, she inspires her children, and she inspires me. I loved reading through her very first half marathon race report and I hope you will too.
The night before I could not settle myself down – was excited to get it started. I think I finally fell asleep close to 11 and sat right up and said “alrighty then” when my alarm went off at 4:50. Got up, had some oatmeal and was out the door at 5:30 and parked just after 6. I met up with Andrea from the Moms’ group at 6:40 while Jim and the girls took off for breakfast and their first meet up spot. I went towards the end of the chute knowing that there was no way I was going to be in one of the pace groups and ended up being right by Charity and some other Rogues. I didn’t hear the national anthem and didn’t even know that the race had started until people started moving slowly forward.
The beginning was smooth –felt great. There was a group of bagpipers close to the beginning – how cool is that?? I took my first walk break between 3 and 4 – nearing 6 thought of how if only the weather had been like this for the 10k, a few weeks ago, I would have done so much better. Felt like I started dragging for 9 and 10 and then knew I was close to being done and found my second wind. Everyone kept saying it was just a little bit farther!
Jim and the girls met me at 6 by Northcross, where we used to live when we were first married, and then again near 11. It was fun and encouraging to have them there to cheer me on and made it fun for me to have them to look for! Got to run past the house I lived in during my junior high years at 40th and Duval, and have say that the speed bumps on Duval suck! They aren’t very well marked and I nearly tripped over them twice.
The crowd definitely thinned out for the last few miles and by the time I turned the corner on MLK near the finish, the street was deserted and I couldn’t tell where to go. I could hear the announcer but couldn’t see any spectators or police or anything. I slowed down and looked around me to see if there were any other people near me but didn’t want to stop either so I just kept going until I could see that there were cones or the white fencing stuff blocking the street where to turn to the finish. Whew! And then it was over!
A funny, ironic thing happened as I was running behind the stadium and noticing that the other runners were thinning out. The song “The Distance” came on and I couldn’t help but chuckle over “the fans have all gone home and this one guy is still racing and long ago somebody left with the cup.” Good stuff.
After I crossed the finish and got my medal I got a banana and Jim met me with my chocolate milk. Mae and Thayne were there too. It was encouraging to know that he finished not too far ahead of me! Now I need to work on my speed and stamina so that I don’t get left behind next time! Another take away was that there was a 72 yr old that came in just ahead of me and another 72 yr old just after me. I hope I am still running at that age!
Afterwards I felt it in my lower back, and my legs even down to my feet. And even with the chocolate milk and banana, my stomach was not happy. Maybe too much sports drink? Not sure what happened there but after a short nap and a walk around the block I finally felt normal again and was able to enjoy my pizza and wine for dinner to celebrate!
On race day I wasn’t so sure I ever wanted to do that again but now that a few days have passed, I am looking forward to getting back out there!