21st Run for the Cookies Flat Mama

Annually Gulf Winds Track Club hosts Run for the Cookies which is a 5 k and 1 Mile Fun Run to benefit the Girls Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle.  I participated in this run for the first time in February of 2012, encouraged by my fitness group that was also participating in the run.  I was determined that I would run the entire 3.1 miles, after all, it is a very flat out and back course.

Who knew, one year later I would use this as a moderate jog training run for my first half marathon, which is just two weeks away.  The image above is my Mom’s Run This Town (#MRTT) Flat Mama Friday that I posted for the run.  This is a photo of our full running outfit, complete with gear, that we will wear for any weekend races that we take part in (it also helps to make sure you don’t forget anything for race day).

For a minimal entry fee, you receive a guaranteed box of cookies that you choose the flavor at the time of registration, before they are even selling in Tallahassee mind you!  For a few more dollars you can also get a Run for the Cookies t-shirt, which I opted out of for this year’s run.  We meet at 8 am on the campus of Tallahassee Community College and wait for the sound of the start.

Cupid's Undie Run - Tammy P. & Olivia

For this race, I was not only running for the Girl Scouts of my home state, but also for Cupid’s Undie Run that I was supposed to take part in Orlando, Florida with my running partner (that’s her on the left with fellow MRTT Running Mama Olivia in Orlando) to benefit Children’s Tumor Foundation (hence the red undie briefs) but was not able to due to family obligations, and also the virtual run to remember Sherry Arnold, a fellow runner that was killed in January of 2012.

Run for Sherry

So last Saturday morning came and I got up at 6 am to shower and make sure I had all my race gear together.  Yes, it was just a 5K, but being prepared is the difference between a good run and a bad run in my book.  After getting on the road to the race venue, I received a message that the 5k portion of the race did not begin until 9 am.  That meant an entire hour standing around until the sound of the race start.

It was a cool morning out in Tallahassee on Saturday.  I welcomed the cooler temperature because I would much rather run in the cold than in the hot humidity.  Just my preference.  Gloves in tow and Pearl Izumi zip up jacket, I was warm and prepared.  When I arrived at TCC I was greeted by a fellow MRTT Mama and we walked inside to hit the bathrooms before the line got long (which later it was out the door!).

Standing around outside trying to stay warm before the race, even though I love the cooler temps, sometimes gets to you mentally.  I just kept repeating to myself that I was running this race for myself and no one else and I would not allow my mind to defeat me NO MATTER WHAT happened.  Finally, the race organizers called for us to line up way back from the finishing area (which was were we began the race last year) and it was in the cold shade.  BLAH-BLAH-BLAH was all we pretty much heard for the next few minutes as we were ready to get this thing going!

The announcements finally ended and the race began.  Of course, in the first few minutes starting my running apps and fiddling with my Armpocket always consume me.  But I keep running while trying to get situated.  I think there should just be a magic runner button on the iPhone that starts everything without having to fool with each app, but that’s wishful thinking right now.

I rounded the corner of the industrial park portion of the run and my NikeGPS app announced, “1 Mile Complete, Time 8 minutes 4 seconds”  My thought, HOLY CRAP, I have never ran an 8 minute mile!!!  Personal record never crossed my mind even with that wonderful sound in my ear.  After all, mile one often doesn’t set the pace for your entire run.  I would be happy if I just beat my previous year’s finish time of 36:34.  I had already decided in the previous week after reading a few fellow runner blogs that this race I would run outside your comfort zone.  Step up my pace and get it done as quickly as I could, after all it was a flat course and why couldn’t I run it faster?

When I began to approach the turn around portion of the out and back course I began passing my fellow running friends and thought, wow, I must have a little ways to go since they are always faster than I am.  Then I turned the corner and there it was.  I was not as far behind as I had been in previous runs and it felt fantastic.  I turned the corner to head back to the finish and again the NikeGPS app announced, “2 Miles Complete, Time 9 minutes 24 seconds”  I’ll take that!!  I pushed on knowing that I was pacing great for myself and knew that mile three would probably start to mentally get to me as it generally does on my runs.  I decided to pace with a quicker running couple and vow to not let them get more than six steps ahead of me.

The half mile to go announcement came over and I knew that I had to keep going, pushing myself with the quick pace that I committed to early on.  I would do this, I could do this, I AM DOING THIS!  I rounded the corner to the finish line and I felt totally giddy!  I saw the time clock for the finish line and it said 29:42 and I knew I was going to not only beat my previous  year’s time, but make a new personal record!  Amazing!!!  I did it, I ran 3.1 miles in under 30 minutes.  All the hard work in earlier weeks paid off.  All the hills, all the mental prep, all the discipline and all the committment.  By far, one of my proudest moments as a runner thus far, in that I pushed myself and I made things happen.  My official finish time was 29:49!

Here I am at the start with fellow runner Lynne.  This is my only pic from this run, thanks to her hubby Randy!

Run for the Cookies with Lynne

Now to look ahead to the next two weeks.  My impending Half Marathon which is just 10 days away.  I’m feeling much more prepared and I know that even if I have to walk a little to catch my breath, I WILL DO THIS and I will succeed!  Onward and Upward to a brighter and exciting running journey.  I really feel like I am on my way and it’s only been a year.

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