Miles of Madness and Defining Moments

One of the bigger race events in Wilmington happened a few weekends ago. Wrightsville Beach hosted 26.2 miles of madness - a 5k, half marathon and marathon. It was an action-packed four days that (for me) included a volunteer dinner, packet pick-up for the 5K, a Saturday afternoon race, an athlete's dinner and a 24-mile biking adventure on race day. 

Back in Black. Ace in Red.
Ace and I raced the 5K on Saturday at 5pm.  We ran with about 250 other runners near Mayfaire Town Center. The weather was slightly challenging - 22mph winds and 70 degrees. Plus, I could taste the pollen. Ewwww.

I didn't follow my plan - I'm still working on pacing - but I'm pleased with the result! I was only 15 seconds off my personal best and finished in 23:32. I finished as the fifth woman overall and was the first woman in masters! I earned a blue ribbon, a free-entry to another race and a gift card to BikeCycles!

Even more exciting was that Ace had a GREAT race. He claims he hasn't been training - but he runs nearly every day with Sugaree and it's paying off. He finished first in his age group with a time of 21m50s

Happy Podium Finishers

Winners in the hood. Our neighbor Fast Eddie, also had a podium finish.

Pre-Race Confidence

After the race, Ace and I headed into the event tent to attend the athlete's dinner. The pasta was delicious and the company (Ben Bowie) was great, but the highlight was listening to Dave McGillivray - the Boston Marathon race director. His message: DEFINING MOMENTS. He spoke of times in his life that could have set him back. His obstacles were not huge, life threatening challenges - but smaller confidence crushers. Here is an exerpt from the book cover of his book, THE LAST PICK:

"If you can dream it, it can happen." David McGillivray shares the challenges he has overcome to inspire readers to similar triumphs in their own lives.

Always the last pick for team sports because of his small stature, David McGillivray drove himself to excel at individual sports. When he was 16, he set himself up for the one "failure" that would motivate the rest of his life. He attempted to run in his first Boston Marathon - without training for the event. Not crossing the finish line could have been a crushing blow. Instead he went on to complete 115 marathons and eventually to become the Boston Marathon's race director.

At age 23, McGillivray completed his celebrated 3,452-mile run across the United States to raise money for cancer research. The story of his journey and what he learned about himself will give all readers a new understanding of how to prepare for and achieve success. McGillivray's many accomplishments will convince readers that virtually any goal is possible. This book will motivate them to overcome the mental obstacles that often keep dreams from becoming reality. 

I want to remember this in my Ironman journey. I'm learning that there are defining moments already - in training and in the small races. Moments when I want to walk - and don't. Moments when I want to quit - and push harder. Moments when it hurts - and I push through. Moments when I'm bored or doubting or discouraged - and I keep going. I'm compiling a list so that I can remember these in my build-up and so I can experience a defining moment on October 26 and finish 140.6 miles (of my own madness). 

On marathon day, I volunteered as the lead biker for the marathon women. I did it last year and it was pretty straight-forward. My job is to pick out the leader at mile three and escort her through the course. I make sure other runners clear the way and that she doesn't get lost. 

This year, I had two crazy things happen. At mile three, I found my leader in a fast pack of men. She was easy to spot and I stayed about 100 yards in front of them for the first several miles. There is a fine balance of looking behind you and looking ahead. We had to weave through three miles of other runners (a wave that had started 25 minutes prior to the leaders). 

The ride through Landfall and back to the beach was so much fun. The weather was beautiful - the sunrise was inspiring and the aid stations and spectators were motivating. I introduced myself to my leader, Molly and made sure that the aid stations knew she was coming.  

At mile 16, I spotted the volunteer coordinator at one of the aid stations. She yelled - how's it going? - and I yelled back - Great, so far! It was great. Molly was in pretty good shape and the crowd had thinned a little bit. My front brake had been scraping for a while, but suddenly I heard a new noise. It's coming from behind me......I have a flat in my back tire! 

I started looking for a spectator on the course that I might know - so that I could commandeer their bike. Then I started looking for spectators that I DIDN'T know so I could commandeer their bike! Nothing doing.  My next idea was to make it to the turnaround in Landfall - pump up the tire with the air canister and hope for the best. (That's 2.5ish miles on a flat!)

YUCK!!  Flat tires are a drag........

Once we got close to the out-and-back, I pulled back to Molly and told her my plan and told her I'd meet her after she grabbed her arm band and came back out. I emptied half the canister in the back tire and tucked the other half in my bento box.

Before I knew it, one of the volunteers was saying, here she comes! Except it wasn't the SHE I had been with for 17 miles. It was Sarah Glenn! I never anticipated a new leader! I picked her up and looked back - Molly was about 200 yards away - and didn't look like she was going to make a move to take back the lead.  I introduced myself to Sarah and she looked so excited. She said, Well THIS is a new experience. I joked back and said -  welcome to the big time, girlfriend!  I asked her if she had made a pass at the turnaround and she said - yeah, I guess so!


Like last year, I was simply amazed that she seemed to be picking up steam in the last miles. She ran every mile of her last 10K a few seconds faster than the last. As we came into the Mayfaire event field, I could hear the crowd and the emcee announce her arrival. As we made a right at the last corner, I pulled off to the side and started cheering for her to finish. 

First Place Finish in 3:00:44

As I pedaled away to watch my friends and teammates - I realized that my tire was flat again. In all the excitement - I hadn't even noticed!