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2018 – LENT A HAND

2018 has gotten off to an interesting start. I purposely avoided the monthly journal for January and I ended my entries on @teammc1 for Twitter. I wanted to reduce the amount of time on the computer as possible, as I developed the habit of praying more, meditating, and focusing on my Essentialism habits. The book by Greg McKeown is a great resource and has helped reinforce the Self-Actualization within MC.  Together with the spiritual aspects of prayer, a powerful punch to help slap on silly.  Now with Lent approaching, this should be a great next 40 days.

The past 8 weeks also have been involved in great training with Gina as she prepared for her sub-40 minute race attempt at the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K. We’ve been out there twice a day in the freezing mornings and colder evenings, and then on the weekend morning of the same weather. The 4:30am wake ups with sometimes 8:30pm bedtimes, the 2-3 nights a week of smoothie dinners, disciplined routines, and determination have been so inspiring to join her in, I didn’t care that I wasn’t as prepared myself for the 15K. You know what though – I could have cared less what I did, the goal was for her to smash her goal. I was determined to help her nail it.

The last 2 weekends we did recon runs on the course. Detailed her every race move.  She did the first trail in 43 minutes, then last week in 21 degree weather all bundled up she hit 41 min.  I knew then she was ready, and we just had to make sure her race week schedule was spot on and not taxing anything extra. The weather was actually looking to be so warm – and by that I mean 50′s and a chance of rain – but that was a good thing! She hit her training sessions for the week and we enjoyed a sunny day in the 60′s that Friday getting our packets and hitting some errands. The plan was set. Now we execute. (trust MC was making sure he was dialed in too with several sessions of his own that week).

Woke up race morning to the sound of rain but nothing heavy. Since we were only 5 minutes away, we got up at 5 and took our time getting ready. Gina did her thing, I prepped my gear, lubed up with Aquaphor, strapped the Polar V800, and got myself in race mode. With temps just at 50 degrees and humid, the rain was light and misty by the time Chrissy Hamlett and Liz showed up – 2 of Gina’s coworkers who wanted in on a 5K attempt of their own. We all drove down together and parked within a half mile of the start. Plenty of time and got a good walk in to warm up. A good crowd as this Hot Chocolate race series is nationwide and here, a fundraising arm of the Make A Wish foundation which we donated to. Probably several hundred in each race as the weather probably deterred some. But it wasn’t bad at all and having such warmth after so many sub freezing days made this shorts worthy.

I gave Gina her final pep talk and kiss as her race started 20 minutes before mine. They all were able to line up close to the start and not get caught up in any huge crowd. Plenty of space at the line. She knew her plan and I just kept her in mind and heart as the horn sounded and they were off. I’d have to wait till I was done to know what happened.

Now I had time to loosen up and get my game on. I had preferred spot up front based on seeding. I was pleased to see Megan Hovis and Bill Shires at the start. I didn’t see any other women in our area so I figured she would have no comp winning this thing. Some young studs were around us including one Mike, a fellow racer at my last Ironman 3 years ago in Ocala, Florida! Haven’t seen him since that race and the iron-y to see him at a start line of a 15K! I told him we’d talk more at the finish. Just focus and get set bro. Game time. 3 deep breaths.

Wanna tap into the MC Mind during a race? Here’s a sample if you can last and feel it -

Sure enough about 7 young guns (including Mike) fire out with a bang. The first mile is uphill so I tuck in behind Bill and plan on using the first 5K to immerse in race strategy. Bill was holding a good pace at 6:10 and just before the 2nd mile, the only hilarious memorable moment of the race happened. We caught one of the young guns. This guy was about Kevin Hart like, powerful sprinter like stride gliding along when he decided to take off his shirt. Kid was ripped like a football player. The best part was he decided to then whip out his phone and plug in headphones. Now he’s rapping out loud. I don’t know if Bill heard me laugh behind him, but I think he knew too it was time to pass this guy NOW.

We did and from there we were able to catch another youngster by mile 4.  Then it was just me and Bill. We couldn’t see anyone else in front and knew no one was going to catch us. Clipping 6:10′s steady just like the rain, we just ran together. Ran the tangents, and I was able to really gauge the body checks closely. I made a deal that by mile 8, if we were still together, I was going to blast. This guy runs probably 3x more than me so I know he can kick – but then again, I’m a triathlete and do a hell of a lot more swimming and biking hahahhahha. I wanted to make sure we tackled all the hills and there were plenty until that last mile. Big ones. I was able to make a few moves close to him on each hill and assess the situation and knew a hill was where that move would come. Mile 8. We were still on all 6:10 pace.

Then as we finally came to the marker, I felt it. The grace and spirit that said GO. NOW. 

And I did. I pushed up a slight hill then didn’t stop. I hit 5:45 pace and took it the remaining 1.3 miles. All in. 170+ BPM. Screaming down the final hill, I heard the announce call the 5th place finishers name and knew I was there. Crossing the line in 58:00 and 6th overall!! The youngsters in front all were under 31 years old so I made it as first Masters and won my age group!! Bill was only 25 seconds behind me and we represented the older guard well. Gave him a fist bump and thank you for the ride  and company.

I saw Gina right there asking her how she did and as she hug me she told me the news – she did 39:23!!!!! She placed better than half her age group too - 20th out of 56! Holy Sh!$. We both hugged hard and held on for a main squeeze!! Wins all around and rained tears of joy! Chris and Liz did awesome too! We all walked in the continued mist and relished the hot cocoa treats and bowls that were given out. Awesome awesome simply awesome. This was gonna be a long fun day.


I talked to Mike a bit who had a solid run for 4th and caught up as much as you can in the weather and after 3 years. We all then decided to head back as we had a good walk still back to the car and didn’t want it to stay in the rain. Once Chris and Liz gathered everything and headed out, Gina and I stretched, iced while making Java and pancakes and just tried to get warm again. We rehashed events and were able to see results and photos of the race that afternoon. Great work by the race committee on that end. She was able to crash and take a nap, before we attended her friends’ son Eagle Scout ceremony, and then to a celebratory burger and fries at Burger 21 – her “award” she was promised once her goal was attained. We then were able to have the after party at home with sangria and cheesecake. Oh my.  Yes, the hard work pays off. An immense blessing all around and I made sure to note that in my Daily Examen that night. Was an early bedtime indeed as Gina’s sangria hits hard around 20 minutes AFTER you stop. Amen.

We will feel out all our DOMS Sunday and then proceed to the next goal of hers, but now we will see more biking in the mix with better weather hopefully. With Lent this week, on Valentine’s nonetheless, we will embark on a 40 day journey to Easter filled with grace and abundant giving in mind – never a giving up.