Monday, April 30, 2012

Race Report: Jonquil City Jog 5K

Words cannot express how proud I am of my 9-year old daughter, Ashley!  She just completed her very first 5K race and did an amazing job.

She had been training with me over the past two months.  We started with half a mile running and worked our way up to a full 3.1 miles the week before the race.  During many of the runs, we would spot caterpillars and she would want to capture them.  Sometimes I suspected that the caterpillars were more appealing to her than running.  However, not too long ago, caterpillar season had come to a close and she still wanted to go out for her training runs.

I regretted not doing more training with her.  I was weaving in these runs with my own training for an upcoming marathon.  Some days, my heart was just not into going out again for another 2-3 miles, even though they were slow.  However, I really wanted to encourage and support Ashley, and it was well worth the effort.  By the week of the race, she had completed a 3.1 mile training run without stopping to walk even once.  At that point, I knew she was ready to tackle her first 5K.

The night before the race, Ashley laid out her cute little outfit and shoes.  Lucky for her that she does not need to worry about needing BodyGlide just yet!  She wanted to be up early enough to eat a little breakfast and have it settle before we started running.  The race was a local one, just 5-7 minutes away, so we did not need much lead time.  When we arrived, she struck a pose beside my bumper stickers on the mini-van.  I snapped a shot and told her, "That 'Runner Girl' one is for you too!"  I think she was pleased.

Next we headed for the race number pick-up area and got our numbers on.  I had registered as an un-timed runner, but Ashley was being timed, so I showed her how to attach her chrono-tag to her shoe.  Then we wondered around and enjoyed people-watching.

It was a really beautiful morning!  The temperature was right around 60 degrees, and there were clouds in the sky, but the sun managed to peek through and provide a great back-drop.  Ashley spotted the Nickajack Joggers, a group of elementary-aged kids from a school nearby.  They all had on matching blue T-shirts.  She wanted to say hi to her friend, Max, from tennis.  Once we did this, I took one last pre-race shot of her.  I think she was a tiny bit nervous at this point, but I gave her some last-minute encouragement and told her I would be there for her the whole way.  I was carrying an ice-filled squeeze container so she would not have to worry about water stops.

We lined up sort of toward the back, so when the gun went off, it still stayed fairly crowded for the first quarter mile.  Ashley said she was worried she would lose me, but I assured her that my only job was to stay right with her the whole way and to talk her through it.  We set off at a conservative pace.  Her recent 5K training run had been at an average pace of around 10:45, so I didn't want to push her at all.  Our first mile split was 11:06.  She seemed to be doing okay at that point, and we started to spot the racers coming back from the turn-around point.  Just before we reached that point ourselves, Ashley spotted Max just up ahead.  She remarked that he was ahead of her, and promptly increased her pace to catch him!  When we were next to him, she waved and said hi.  Then, she kept on going!  She ran mile 2 in 10:29, quite a bit faster.  At that point, I started to really rev up the pep talk.  I told her that there were many, many people behind her and that she was going to feel so wonderful at the finish line.  She seemed to be breathing steadily and was not complaining, so we kept up the accelerated pace.

Finally, when we had about two tenths to go, we rounded the corner and headed downhill to the finish.  From out of nowhere, she broke into an all-out sprint!  It was truly amazing!  At first I was so surprised I couldn't even keep up with her.  We spotted Rob and Zac waiting to snap a photo or two, and I waved to them.  I also noticed many people on the sidelines were watching my little speed-demon daughter. 

Look at that form and confidence!

These two guys look pretty impressed too.  :-)

I kept squealing with delight as I saw her bound across the finish line at full speed!  Finally, just past the finish line, I scooped her up in a big, congratulatory hug!  

She had done such a wonderful job, had not walked even one step of the race, and was beaming with pride that she had accomplished her goal!  Her official clock time was 32:17, an average pace of 10:24/mile.  So, not only was this a race PR, it was also a personal best!

She caught up with Max (on left) and his friends for a quick group shot.

She was a little sad at not placing for her age group, but we later found out that she came in 4th out of 14 in the girls aged 9-10 category.  She was also 102 out of 210 women and girls, and was 249 out of 342 overall.  I'd say that's very respectable for a first race!

We picked up our t-shirts and enjoyed celebrating this big victory.  She is already asking when we can run another one.  I have a strong feeling she will be running circles around me in no time!


  1. Excellent write up. I have a 10 year old son and my daughter will be 8 in 2 weeks. My son ran a 5k last year but missed the turning point on a loop and ended up running 4 miles in about 43 minutes. I was supposed to run with him but I broke my elbow 2 days prior.

    1. Oh my goodness! I can just see him thinking, "This is the longest three miles I have ever run!" He definitely deserves kudos for sticking it out that long. My 10-year old son can sprint really fast, but he has no interest in running more than half a mile. I guess running is going to be a mother-daughter thing for us. Honestly, I'm still amazed that Ashley actually wants to run (no arm-twisting on my part, for sure) and that she has the endurance to keep running for three miles.

      I hope your elbow is better. Cherish the time running with your kids. It is so incredibly wonderful!

  2. Awh Gail- you have a mini-me!!! Ashley looks JUST like you! I love the picture of you guys hugging at the finish line- it's really moving! I'm sure she's going to remember running with her mom as one of the greatest things in her life- just as I have enjoyed running my "firsts" with my dad (5k, 10k, marathon, etc).

    I'm so very glad my dad introduced me to running and showed me his love for it, yet he never pushed it on me. And I'm sure Ashley is watching your love for running as well! I can't wait to meet her!!

    1. Thanks, Danielle! Yes, I can see how it must have been wonderful to be able to share those experiences with your father. I do hope it's something Ashley and I can continue to do together for many years to come.

      I can't wait for you to get here! My whole family already feels like we know you!

  3. Great post and a FANTASTIC run by Ashley. I really liked it when you said she just kicked it into a sprint to the finish (always a fun part of the race for me), and I could feel the excitement of the moment through your writing.

    Very well done !!!

    1. Thank you, Michael! You are always so encouraging and kind in your comments. I got so far behind in scrapbooking, but I find that in blogging I keep up quite a bit better. Also, it's an easier way to share the photos and stories with friends and family right after an event. I'm glad you enjoyed the post!