The other week I mentioned (in passing) that I was training for an 8k race, the Crazylegs Classic. Which took place this morning.
In the spirit of the Many post, perhaps I should have mentioned that between the run and the walk versions of the event, there were almost 20,000 participants registered. And I went alone, though I was technically part of a team from the university library system. One consequence of Joy's full therapy schedule is that I generally can't bring family along to cheer when I race, so this was a solo event in a sea of many.
To get that many runners onto a course, you can't start everybody all at once. The top-flight runners get to start first, and then everyone else gets assigned to a different clump of runners depending on your pace. I was in the 36th wave out of 44, which meant that since they were trying to start one wave per minute, my wave started over ten minutes after the race had already been won.
But the neatest thing happened as I lined up with my fellow potential-slow-pokes. I ended up standing next to another mom, just about my age, who was running her first 8k race. And she just happened to have a little daughter with special needs. Like epilepsy. And a tendency to slip away and escape. And communication issues. And a high pain tolerance.
We chattered non-stop while we moved slowly up to the starting line. And then we ran together and kept each other going, surely faster than either of us would have been alone. We had each (optimistically) guessed that we'd make an 11-minute-mile pace, which is what got us assigned to the same wave. I ended up being just a little slower in the last half-mile where she was able to pull ahead -- but she was waiting for me at the finish line. We'd both run the entire way.
My pace per mile was 10:20. Woo hooooo!
I hadn't thought that blogging about an 8k race would be about special-needs mamas helping one another out. But there you have it.