Following is a guest post by Team Zer, Lisa C., who recently completed her first 8k in Virginia Beach, the Shamrock Townebank 8k. Congratulations!
We’ve all heard the phrase “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” That was me and running and triathlon. I did support for countless marathons/Ironmen over many years, including Marine Corps Marathon; Shamrock Marathon; the Richmond, Boston, and Philadelphia marathons; and Ironman Lake Placid! So maybe that’s why this finish and PR meant so much to me.
A year ago I showed up and sat in a room of strangers at Claude Moore Rec Center and listened to a Team Z coach do his Team Z intro! I signed up right then so I couldn’t change my mind! I was 58 years old and didn’t run, swim or bike competitively. I jumped right in and immediately experienced a patellofemoral arthritis flare in my right knee. I could barely walk let alone run! I used the healing time to attend every seminar and do 8 weeks of physical therapy at the Endurance Athlete Center. Next was Rebecca Mohning and nutrition! Fast forward to Thanksgiving morning and I had completed 3 sprint triathlons, a Metric Century Bike ride and lost 30lbs! I’d say I drank the Kool Aid and followed the plan!
So, onto winter. I had taken significant time off my 5k but wanted to get it down to 30min. I chose the Shamrock 8k as my goal race. I ran a 5k every month over the winter and my first 10 mile run at a Tri-cation weekend with Swim Bike Mom in Florida the first weekend in March. The final prep was a three mile run on our schedule the weekend before the race in the rain – my first rain run!
I lived in Virginia Beach and know it well and my son’s girlfriend was going to do the half marathon, so we were all about the logistics. Traffic was a challenge but we went straight to the expo, no problem. I got my bib number and it had my name on it! Any of you vets remember the simple joy of that first time? This is a real race you think! 8,800 runners.
I was in Corral 12. The race started at 7:45am. I saw Coach Alexis and a few teammates right before. Finally, after shuffling in the cold for almost 40min, we were off. My goal was to finish in an hour. Keep my pace until the turn on the boardwalk, then pick it up. I planned 12 minute miles with my run intervals of 2/1. I feel odd stopping to walk at the first interval, but I’ve done enough races to know I’ll pass those people at the end. As we took the left turn onto the board walk, the DJ music was pumping as we headed north into the wind. I started moving up, head down a few times not to lose my hat. I checked my cadence on my watch and felt it vibrate each mile. At mile 3, I thought okay, looked down and saw that I had lots of time. I turned back on to Atlantic; there were lots of people walking. I was having to run around them and then we turned onto the boardwalk again with the wind at our back. I reached up and took my earbuds out and snapped them behind my neck so I couldn’t hear the interval timer. It was go time!! I saw the photographer at the end – my arms were raised.
Yes, it was 8K, but it was my 8k and it was 4 minutes faster than my predicted finish with an 11:19 minute pace!! Next up is a 10k and an Olympic distance triathlon this summer!
Thank you and shout out to my mentor Lucy, Abe and all the bike leads who helped me achieve every first distance last summer; the swim coaches who get up at ungodly hours; Lisa F. and all the nice smiles from folks who know when you’re new; and to my running partner all winter, Susie P! Rock on Team Z!