Last December I was contacted by some Tough Chik team mates about putting together a team for the Run River City Marathon. I've never been part of a relay for a marathon. (Note, I have been part of a relay for Screaming Pumpkin, which is a marathon, but that format is not your traditional marathon so it's really different & not the same in comparison). I was honored to be asked to be a part of the team and since it was months out registration cost was still down and I jumped on board. Of course months passed and this was the last thing on my mind. My full April race schedule with lots of hopeful PRs and a BQ took over. I was even guilty of saying more than once that I had no other races planned after my Illinois Marathon.
On this team of Tough Chiks was Shannon, the original and head honcho at Tough Chik:
Also joining the team was Amanda:
Rounding out the team was Jess:
All of us together made for quite a competitive team. We might not have had all the speed, but had just the right combination of personality to make this one awesome relay team!
Of course, everything was all set to go with this Tough Chik team until I got injured last week. They so affectionately called me their Boston fastie and I was set to run the final and longest leg of the relay. When I realized that I was not going to be able to run (boo hoo) I called in my re-enforcements and had my RP Angela take my spot. I was still determined to be there at the race and be a part of the team as much as possible, I just would not be doing the actual running of my relay leg.
I drove over to Peoria to have a team meeting the evening before the race. It was during that time that Angela called and due to her own injury had to pull from the race. The look on Shannon, Amanda & Jess's face as I told them was priceless. Almost funny, but in a not funny way. (Sometimes you just have to laugh at the craziness of what was happening at the last minute). I did offer to run, I mean, I can walk and move. I can actually, in fact, still run, it's just very slow, not to mention uncomfortable and stressful on my leg. They would hear nothing of it. Not because they didn't want me, but they love & support me enough to not allow me to do anything stupid that could further injure myself. I shot off an text to one possible person who might be able to help us and in the mean time they made plans on how to split the extra leg between the 3 of them. We were determined to make it happen one way or another.
Insert Katie who saved the day with less than 10 hours until race time. I knew that Katie's husband, Matt, was coming to run the full marathon. I suspected she would be at the race as well to support him. I asked if she would be willing to run while she waited. Her only stipulation was that she wanted to see Matt finish. That worked out perfectly because if we had her run the first leg she would finish near the area where she could easily walk to see him finish. She could run, have plenty of time to recover/relax and still see Matt finish. Perfect!!
Race morning I still dressed in my team gear as if I was running. As far as Shannon, Amanda & Jess were concerned I was still a part of this team regardless if I was running or not. We met for our team picture:
Then we met Katie, introduced her to the TC team mates, went over final instructions and handed off my race bib to her. Hence her being my run double.
Once the gun went off, Katie was speedy fast for the first leg of the race and did a great job running her miles. She handed off to Amanda:
In the mean time I was there all along cheering, offering support and company to my TC team mates:
Amanda handed off to Shannon:
And then Shannon handed off to Jess:
Our goal for the day was to simply have fun! Mission definitely accomplished! The weather had turned quite warm and sticky. Very humid and into the 80's. I didn't even run and I was a hot sweaty mess. I was asked if I was having a hard time not running. My response was mostly no. Yes, there was a part of me that wanted to be out there, but I know that I can not run like my body is suppose to. Typically can't is not in my vocabulary unless we're talking physically impossible. While I can usually push past most physical limitations this is just not one of those times. Trust me, it's rare and knowing that I can't run without great damage to my body makes it (a teeny teeny bit) easier to sit back & not get out there.
All relay teams had the option to join the last runner down the final stretch of the race to the finish line. I had since gotten my bib back from Katie and joined the team down that final stretch. It was the one point of the day I was willing to say screw my leg and !@#^ injury I'm going to run.
Let me point out that despite the big smile and leg looking just fine, I was in fact in discomfort and nothing felt right about me running. I even had a very hard time keeping up with the other gals. In the spirit of the team and finishing together I toughed it out and crossed the line with them. I took my finishers medal and later gave it to Katie. She's the one who really earned it!
For me, I gave 100% of what I had, even if it was only the last .2 of the race. Everyone else gave their 100% and it turned out the be the best race that I have ran, but didn't run. I have been blessed to have this experience!!
If you want to see other Team Tough Chik race recaps look here: