New Moon.

New Moon half, quarter, and Crescent Moon 5k – this signals the beginning of summer to me.

Every year, for the past 4 or 5 years (I have lost track), Dan and I have done this race.  Except for one year that I can remember, the weather has always been crazy hot and humid.  It’s weird, since the temperature always seems to come out of nowhere.

We had spent the whole afternoon watching our 12 year old play baseball in the heat.  With no time to spare, we flew home to get changed.  There wasn’t much time to eat, so I tried to grab a couple of things on the way out to the car.

It’s hard to plan for an evening race when you don’t usually train or race in the evening.  I usually have to get my training done first thing in the morning, which is a good thing.  Otherwise, I will keep myself busy right up until bed time and find that my window of opportunity has passed.  I do occasionally workout in the afternoon or evening, but it is rare.

Still, this race gets me excited.  Dan and I consider it a date night.   And why not? The two of us get out of the house and get to run together – perfect.  We have always enjoyed this race.

As per usual, there were storms on the radar right when the race was due to start. No surprise there, to be honest. But, somehow, the race still starts on time….every year. This year was no exception.

As we got closer to downtown Delaware, the skies darkened and it began to rain.  Not to be deterred, we parked and made our way down to registration.  There was a line, but it was moving along.  I found out later that they had had to suspend packet pick up due to storms, so some time had been lost earlier with check in.

I have to say, it was still speedy to get through the line and get our bibs.  We had some time to chat with friends and talk about our weekend plans, which was nice.  I was also able to get our tent set up for the team so we would have a place to meet after the race, so everything worked out nicely.

I had bumped down to the quarter this year, but Dan, Mr. Stubborn, stayed in the half.  Usually he will do whatever distance I’m doing, so I was a little surprised that he wouldn’t budge.  I made sure to give him a hard time about it, though.  I teased him that he insists now that he will only do whatever the longest distance is that is offered at a race.  I think it’s kind of funny, but he’ll never admit to it….

So, for the first time, we wouldn’t be running together at this race.  I was a little sad, but I wasn’t going to bump back up to the half.  My body needed a little break from being beat up the weekend before, and I was still licking my wounds.  Plus, one of my favorite running buddies that was going to run with me has been sidelined with an injury for the past few months.  She ran it with me last year, and I was going to miss running with her, too.  I felt a little lost, but there wasn’t much I could do but show up and run.

We started in the second wave.  I had rested the previous week and swam more than anything, so my legs actually felt pretty good – better than I had expected, honestly. My pace was quick, as Dan pointed out, but I wanted to see how long I could hold it.  I figured I’d just see what happened. It was hot and humid, so I knew that would be a factor for sure.  I had hydrated as much as I could before the race, so I felt pretty good.

The first 3 miles where fine.  Dan was with me for at least the first couple, but had dropped back a little.  Then the course split briefly, so I knew I wouldn’t see him for a while.  I figured I’d slow eventually, and that he would catch me at some point.

I know the course well, since we’ve run it almost every year it’s existed, and I have also helped with course planning.  I was looking forward to getting into Mingo Park, since I knew that the finish would be close at that point.

I was so excited to see some familiar faces on the course.  I have to say that that was my favorite part of the race.  I saw some people before the race that I hadn’t seen in a while as well: a dear friend that I used to work with and haven’t seen in over 6 months, team mates from our club, operations people that I hadn’t seen since our last team meeting, friends and fellow athletes that were volunteering, previous patients from the clinic….too many people to name them all.  It felt like a family reunion.

As I neared an aid station after the 5k split, I saw a fellow operations member that I hadn’t seen for a while.  We exchanged brief pleasantries as I grabbed some water.  I headed off, still talking over my shoulder. Not 20 yards away was yet another fellow athlete.  This is his season for voluncheering, as he says, so I had just seen him last weekend at the 50k we did.  It’s always nice to see him on the course and get a good dose of support and a nice sweaty hug (he loves sweaty hugs).  I was all smiles after that.

The heat and humidity slowed me a bit after mile 4, and my heart rate was up a bit, so I backed off on my pace. As we took a turn towards the park, two wonderful ladies were there that just finished their first marathon.  I was so excited to see them, I smiled and called out to them when I got close enough.  I then entered the park and looped around and memories came flooding back to me.  I remembered being at the pool as a child doing age group swim meets.  So many summers where spent there with my swim buddies; and then, later, when I had become a coach myself.  This is also a venue of one of our big races in the summer, so I was thinking about how I’d be back here toward the end of June helping to tear down T2.

As I exited the park, I heard him coming up behind me…my Dan.  When he reached me, he dumped his water bottle down my back thinking it would feel good in the heat.  However, the water was warm and it didn’t do much.  He got a gentle ribbing from me for that move….

He seemed to be doing well, and we ran together briefly.  I had done a couple of walk breaks by now and was getting ready for my next, and last, one before I rounded the last corner.  Dan took off to the left, while I went right.  My friends that were working the course yelled out to me, “Amy, you’re supposed to go right, remember?!”  I knew they were kidding since I had told them I dropped back to the 1/4, so I yelled back “Not today!”

I was very happy to take that right, and head toward the finish.  It was hot, I was tired, and I was feeling good since I hit my goal for the race.  Some friends were at the finish line, so I grabbed some pretzels, a banana, and some water and went to the tent to hang out.

It was such a great feeling to be surrounded by friends from all backgrounds.  All of the beautiful people that I have been blessed with around me that evening filled my heart and overflowed it.  I don’t know why I deserve what I have been given, but I will continue to cherish it, be humble, thankful, and feel blessed.

I felt like this was the best New Moon yet.  It felt like the city had embraced it, and the people out on the course were cheering and supporting the runners.  Kids were out with hoses and squirt guns and were giving runners high fives.  It. Was. Fantastic.

Thank you, New Moon.  I’ll be back next year.

Run happy. Run long.

#runningtruths

Amy is an ultramarathoner and triathlete, a coach, a mother of four, an Exercise Physiologist and a Physical Therapist. She lives with her husband, Dan (also an ultramarathoner and triathlete), and kids in Ohio.

 

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