Eight weeks ago, a small, diverse group met at Rogue for the first night of their Basic Training for the Bun Run 5k. Out of the group of 10, most of the team proclaimed not to be runners at all, two were lapsed runners. They were nervous, excited and quickly bonded into a tight-knit group. They were caterpillars beginning the transformation process of becoming runners.
Most didn’t truly believe they would be able to run a 5k in 8 weeks. They were completely unaware of their potential. But, they consistently followed the training plan, met us for 3 workouts a week — core, quality workout and long runs.
During that time, Laura and I watched them suffer and recover from aches, pains and injuries, progressing at their own paces. We cheered on three of them for a “practice” 5k at ROG Rush and noted how their performance gave the entire team a boost of confidence when their teammates completed a 5k only five weeks into training.
This morning was the 27th annual Schlotzsky’s Bun Run 5k, their goal race and motivator to stick to their training for two months. We met the team early and watched them head out for a warm-up, running back to the start line in a single-file line, all in the same uniform, looking like a true team.
We then lined up for the start and slipped off as they crossed the starting line, staked out our cheering spot at the finish line, and anxiously awaited their return.
I had encouraged them to savor the experience. How many times in your adult life do you do something for the first time? I didn’t want the event to pass by in a blur, so encouraged them to take in the excitement of the start, the crowd, the scenery, and ability to run down the middle of Austin’s downtown streets (a rare treat.)
What I don’t think Laura or I anticipated was how much we would savor their journeys. Over the weeks, we’ve bragged about them to our friends. We’ve encouraged and pushed them. Today, we clapped, yelled and rang the cowbell as each one turned the corner and kicked to the finish. We toasted and celebrated their success over post-race cocktails and tacos. Lastly, we’ve poured over the photos looking at nervous, proud, tired smiles and impressive running form as each runner closed his/her 5k.
Today, the metamorphosis is complete. They officially have became athletes. We officially grew into coaches.
It opened my eyes to how much my coach puts into me and my training. I never imagined someone would look up to me the way I look up to my small-statured, but larger-than-life running mentor/coach. As I counseled my team to look at the positive side of things and be patient, I was reminded by Amy and Laura to take that same advice and get creative and determined while being sidelined from my own training due to injury.
Ultimately, this team reminded me of how much running is a team sport and a community as I watched the bonds of friendship grow, and my personal bond to each of them and to my running partners continue to grow stronger through each other’s trials and tribulations of relationship challenges, family illnesses, job stresses, injuries and charity work. I am proud and grateful to have been part of this journey. Fortunately, we are all staying together for another month and can tackle some new goals together as well as reel in a couple other friends, Julia and Elke. Congrats to our Bun Runners:
· Rose Mata – ran her second 5k in a PR 30:13, about 20 sec./mi. faster than her ROG Rush 31:14.
· Tobin Levy – first 5k of 30:13
· Jardine Libaire – first 5k of 30:32
· Leigh Clark — ran a PR 33:39, about 1:20/mi. faster than ROG Rush 37:16
· Joe Garcia – ran a PR 34:31, about 40 sec./mi. faster than his ROG Rush 36:34
· Nicole Prado – first 5k of 36:18
· Deepa Krishnamoorthy – first 5k of 36:16
· Shirley Reynolds – first 5k of 37:00
I’m also proud of my other running family for their impressive 5k’s:
· Scoob beat an aggressive 5k goal to come in in 20:28, his best 5k time in the last 10 years!
· Mark Baumann, a PR of 22:18 5k
· Oscar Gonzalez, a PR of 22:41 5k
Huge kudos to our marathoning compadres today:
· Paul “Pablo” Escobedo rocked the National Guard Marathon with a 3:56:24, a new PR and now member of the sub-4 hour marathoner club!
· Marchele and Jimmy Tubbs ran a fun Flying Pigs Marathon in Cincinnati side by side, without the pressure of a time goal.