9.13.2009

A Walk in the Park...Patriot's Run Race Report

The numbers...
Marathon number 25
Marathon number 8 of the year
Second marathon in four days
Third race in less than a week (a 5K race and 2 marathons)
My worst marathon time to date
But the most fun marathon I've run (really walked)

I ran the Patriot's Run on 9.11.09. It's an 'annual event held to commemorate the tragic events of September 11th, 2001. With this event we remember, not only those victims who were lost, but also those soldiers, police, firefighters and others who served this country both on that day and every day thereafter. In this way we honor all the people who work to insure that this tragedy never repeats itself' (taken from the Patriot's Run website).

As I got up and around for the day, I thanked God for my family and friends and our freedom we have. I knew it was going to be a day of remembrance, but didn't realize how much it would affect me. As I was driving the 5 minutes to the race start (kid you not...how awesome is that!), I saw a flag flying half staff and the tears welled up. That wasn't the only time it happened during the day.
This race is run around a 3/4 mile loop, so in order to run the marathon distance, you loop the course 36 times. At first, I wasn't sure what to think about this. But then decided it was going to be a picnic in the park. So, as I pulled into the parking lot, I backed the truck up in a primo spot right on the trail to have everything we needed in a moments notice. I packed lawn chairs. I set up a table that had everything we needed every 3/4's of a mile. It was fabulous! We didn't have to carry our gu, water or anything else. It was perfect. Friends and family always knew where to find us. We passed or were passed by the same people over and over. It was awesome to cheer on friends you normally wouldn't see during a race because they run a different pace than you.

Below is a picture of Karen and me at the start. The lady in the yellow was our surrogate mother who kept things in her cooler for us and cheered us on lap after lap.
The day started very warm and humid. The sun was shining and the race began right in the heat of the day. The race started at noon and ended at 9:11 pm. I opted for the marathon distance, but you could run any amount you wanted, one lap or as many laps you could in 9 hours and 11 minutes.

Karen had a great idea of how we were going to count our laps. She brought Spree's and we set out the amount we needed. Each time I passed the car, I was going to eat one until they dwindled to zero and I crossed the finish line. Honestly, it was genius, as there were many people who had no idea how many laps they had covered. However, after lap 5 or 6, the candy was upsetting my stomach so we just set them off to the side after we finished a lap. Never fear, they were devoured by Doug and Connor when they came to cheer us on.

It was awesome, I wanted some Coke and ice pops, so I called Doug on one of the loops and the next thing you know...there they were! We shared the ice pops with the other runners and they were a huge hit.

Karen was a trooper. She planned on running 14 miles, but ended up with 18 by the time I finished. She is the BESTEST BFF ever, walking with me mile after mile. And that's truly what I did. Walk. Mile after mile. It seriously was a Walk in the Park. But it was the best walk in the park. The man that won the ultra ran and ran and ran and I would guess 95% of the times he lapped me, he said, 'good job'. He was amazing, he never slowed from the first lap to the last lap. He was a machine. Our friend Rob, who came up from Springfield had run approximately 41 miles with two hours still to go.

Taking a break in the lawn chair...
Doug and Tom taking a lap...
What stole my heart the most were two men carrying flags during all 9 hours and 11 minutes of the race. One of them is a local runner, Greg Vaughn, that carries the American flag on all of his runs.
The other is a man who carries the 'Flag of Hope'. It is a flag that has the names of all of the victims and rescue workers of 9.11.01. It was beautiful. He has already run all 50 states, but is making his second round with this flag. It was such an honor to run with them.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this race. The only issue I heard of, which was a biggie, was people not knowing how many laps they had run. When they went to ask, the computer tracking the laps was like 15 minutes delayed, so you could have finished your laps, but didn't know 'real time', so most did a few extra laps to 'make sure' you did what you wanted. That kinda sucked, but all in all...it was the most fun marathon I've done. Just to have access to everything you needed at all times. To have your friends and family at every mile. To have soooo many friends out running and you were able to see them over and over. It was such a good time. It's probably not for those that want to PR, as there were people on the track, all running/walking different speeds. But if you want to go out, have a fun, laid back day, this is the race for you.
This race is already on the list for next year. Hopefully, running all 9 hours 11 minutes!

9 comments:

  1. Wow, sounds like a great day. And next year it'll be your first ultra!

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  2. Good idea with the spree for counting laps because I totally would have gotten confused! That sounds like such a great race too!

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  3. um girl you are intense! great job on the race and nice idea with the spree. I can't even keep like 2 laps straight. :)

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  4. That just gives me goosebumps, what an amazing race. Congrats on another marathon in the books. I LOVE the spree idea:)

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  5. I am a total freak for wishign i could have been there with you..seriously who thinks oh my wouldn't a 26.2 mile race have been lovely over the beach

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  6. wow! i love this race. such a great idea and just awesome. what if someone else stole a spree off your table? m&m's would've worked better ;) i definitely would have lost count without some sort of method. congrats on another marathon in the books!

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  7. well, kim...as you know...YOU ROCK. let's wrap up our 12 in 12's with big ol' smiles, huh?!

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  8. sounds like an amazing event :) and 2 marathons in 4 days?!? you are also amazing!

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