There comes a time in every runner’s life where there are so many good races in one weekend that you just have to do them all. Especially in Memphis where there at least 2-4 races every Saturday. Last weekend I ran a race on Friday night, Saturday morning, and one on Sunday as well. My trifecta of a race weekend was risky, but was warranted under good reasoning and ended up being a blast.
I had signed up for the Cooper Young 4-miler in the early spring because it was my favorite the year before and it is also pretty competitive, which happens to be my middle name. So that was a no-brainer. And I’ve been doing the MRTC RRS and the 2nd 10k was scheduled for Sunday. Since I didn’t do the first one, I had to do that in order to be “series finisher” and also to continue to hold down my place as 2nd female. The race on Saturday? Well, that one was a mere product of weak heart strings. My friend Taylor asked me to do the Madonna Learning Center 4-miler and I just couldn’t say no. I have friends who work for that amazing school and I am always in support of kids and adults with disabilities.
See, I’m not crazy. I had legitimate reasons for running all three races in one weekend. They were all three different, but together they made the perfect recipe for a great weekend of running.
Cooper Young 4-Miler
I will be posting in detail about this race tomorrow, but let’s go ahead and deem this one my favorite of the weekend/year. CY never disappoints. It started at 7:00 p.m. on Friday night and I headed down there after work with my sister. (I somehow convinced her to run it this year). We warmed up with a group of Fleet Feet girls down Cooper St. and when it began to get dark, we gathered around the start line. There were some pretty fast people up front, especially in the male division, but I tried to stay focus and remind myself to have fun. I had my eyes on a few girls who had beat me in a couple previous races and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. The first miles were a blur, but I managed to stay on target pace of 6:15. I was in a pack with the two other leading ladies, who I noticed started slowing to about 6:30 pace around mile 2. I moved ahead, but eased up a little in fear of blowing it at the finish. My favorite part of this race were the streets lined with insane crowds of people cheering “first female!” That kept me going even when my legs tried to crap out on me.
A handful of them even a shouted “Go BPC” and to my disbelief, two people actually knew my name. In Memphis, what?! I had no idea where the girls were behind me, but I made sure to get back to my 6:15 pace for the last mile in order to finish strong. For all I knew they were coming up to pass me at the last couple of meters. When we turned the last corner back onto Cooper, I knew that I had it and it was a pretty unbelievable feeling.
After chugging probably too much water, I stayed and cheered as my friends and sister finished. I had made a promise to myself that I would drink a beer if I won… I tried to go back on that promise and then I guess I punished myself and drank 3? Funny how that happens. I somehow missed the award ceremony because it was so loud, but went back to claim my prize. I was happy just to receive the medals with bottle openers, but they also gave me a $100 gift card to Breakaway! Which the next day turned into these:
Madonna Learning Center 4-Miler
Everything about this race was just sweet. It was the inaugural race so it was pretty small, but Start2Finish put it on so of course it was well organized. We started on gun time and if I had to guess, there were a little less than 150 people, but it was definitely quality over quantity.
I came to the race trying to convince myself to jog it with my friends (UTK crew pictured above), but there is no arguing with my competitive nature. I’m seriously awful. I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but I just trailed behind the leading female for the first 3 miles so I wouldn’t work harder than I had to and then just sped up for the last mile. I’m pretty sure she worked at the learning center. Like I said, I’m rotten. They had a water station at each mile marker with students from the school cheering and passing out fluids and then a large group of them handing water bottles to the finishers. They were so excited and their enthusiasm is what will bring me back to do the race again next year.
The students even handmade the overall and age group awards, which were painted butterfly necklaces. It was so adorable!
Although it was held on an unfortunate day in terms of other races that were going on in Memphis, I think that this local 4-miler will only grow in popularity because of the worthy cause and the rockstars that it benefits.
MRTC 2nd 10k
At this point in the weekend and for this race I was tired. I had no idea what to expect by body to feel like when I woke up Sunday morning, but it was 4:45 a.m. and I was too delirious to do an appropriate assessment. All I knew is that I didn’t want to lose my second female placement so I needed to figure something out. The race was at Shelby Farms and I had heard mixed reviews about the course. I got there around 6:15 a.m. when the sun was just starting to come up. I pinned on my bib, got out of my car, and just starting jogging. Warming up, I felt alright aside from some soreness in my calves. I did a 5 minute active dynamic warm up and some strides before the start, which helped to loosen me up. I had zero plan going into the race. My coach gave me some numbers that were a little slower than what I was hoping for so I decided just to do my best, but expect nothing. I went out around 6:30 pace and it didn’t feel as labored as I was anticipating. There were two women that I recognized in front of me at the start, but I wasn’t too worried about them. The leader really had a good race. I might have been able to keep up with her on a normal weekend, but I knew I had to let it go that morning because I would have burnt out by mile 4.
My splits were all over the place (6:28, 6:25, 6:35, 6:49, 6:37, 6:37) and that’s what happens when you don’t really have a plan. I could tell, however, that my mental game has improved leaps and bounds since the start of the year because I never gave up and ran at 6:12 pace for the last .25 miles.
I wrapped my weekend up with this delicious breakfast of an half of an acorn squash stuffed with brussels sprouts sautéed in ghee and red onion topped with a sunny side up egg.