Archive for December, 2009

My Running Heroes

The past few weekends I have been blessed to witness some amazing running feats, I thought I would share some thoughts and pics of these events. 

Last Sunday, Eric and Justin ran the California International Marathon (CIM) in Sacramento, each with a different goal: Eric – attempt to run a Boston qualifying time, Justin –  finish his first 26.2 mile race.  I have participated in many road races either as a participant, volunteer, or spectator, but every time I witness runners attempting the marathon, it’s inspiring.  Each runner on that course has spent many hours and miles preparing for this moment on this day, to see if everything (weather, training, muscles, mental game, stomach, etc) can come together for them to meet their goal.  I love watching runners at different stages of the race.  At mile 5 everyone was energized, still closely packed together, smiling, chatting, and still feeling great.  At mile 10, most folks still look strong, they had found their rhythm and were clicking the miles off.  By mile 18, runners look tired, and in the midst of the battle, their battle with their legs, the road, and most of all, their mind…convincing themselves they aren’t crazy, that they can do this, and pushing on.  This is when runners start to dig deep, to find out what they are made of.  At the finish line, I can’t help but get tears in my eyes watching runners meet their goals and finishing their 26.2mile (+ many months of training) race. 

I am so proud of what Justin and Eric accomplished on Sunday.  Justin trained for his first marathon through the Texas summer heat, around many out-of-town weekend trips, a 24hr mountain bike race, and a busy work/life schedule leaving him few hours to sleep, much less train.  Some how he fit it all in.  Not only did he finish his race, he ran an AMAZING time of 3hrs, 44minutes!  That is 8:33min/mile!  He looked strong and like a champ the whole race.  I’m so grateful to have been able to witness my brother’s first 1/2 marathon earlier this year (in Austin), and now his first marathon.  

Eric has run a few marathons, and after our Big Sur Marathon experience, decided to train for CIM to see what kind of PR (personal record) he could run, hoping that it would be 3 hrs and 10min or less, qualifying him for Boston.   This is a ridiculously fast pace if you ask me.  That requires and average of 7:15min/mile…I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty confident I would be lucky to run ONE mile that fast, much less 26.2miles at that pace!  Eric tweaked his training for this race, tried a few new methods, and logged many miles and long runs on his own.  Ultimately, Eric shaved 17 (difficult) minutes off of his PR, finishing in 3hrs, 15min, 40 seconds (7:27 min/mile!).  He ran an incredible race, pushing his body to the max capacity, something which I know I couldn’t do myself.  His discipline and self-drive enabled his body to run 25miles averaging at his goal race pace.  Unfortunately his legs weren’t calibrated with the full length of the race, and like a rebellious 2 year old, refused to listen to what Eric told them to do resulting in cramping and walking much of the last mile.  I can’t express how proud I am of Eric’s accomplishment on Sunday, finishing that race in such an incredible time and overcoming miles of throbbing pain.   

Eric and Justin, ready to go at 5:30am, braving the 30degree start-time temperature.

Justin & Eric post-race

 This weekend Eric and I drove to Reno (through the snowy pass, taking chains on and off the tires…) to watch Eric’s niece run in the Junior Olympic National Cross-Country meet.  Katie is 9 years old and a very talented runner.  This was an incredible race and fun to watch.  Reno recently has received an un-seasonal amount of snow, leaving these kids to run on a course with 1.5 feet of snow.  By the time her race started, it was 29 degrees and most of the snow was packed, but they were the first race and still had to run through some unpacked snow in parts.  In a field of 250 girls ages 9 & 10, Katie ran like a champ, fighting the whole race finishing 14th overall and the first 9year old.   She was honored as an “All-American” as she finished in the top 25.  It was exciting to see this cute, cheerful 9year old give it all she had to do the best she could in this race.  

My other running hero is Katie’s older sister Chelsea.  Chelsea is 11years old, and also competes for her school track and cross-country teams.  Chelsea may not have the same gifts with running as her younger sister, but that girl is driven!  During the regular cross-country season she won almost every race in her age group, improving on her times from last year.  Although she didn’t qualify for the National competition, and knows that if they run head to head her younger sister would beat her, she worked so hard to improve her personal times and run the best she could in all her races.  Her self-motivation is so admirable, and on top of all of this, she is one of the biggest cheerleaders for her younger sister.  It was great to see her support and encourage Katie this weekend! 

Not only do I love running for the physical and emotional health benefits, but I love watching how it can bring out the best in each of us.  That it can motivate a person to take on a long-term goal, and find it within themselves to complete it.  I’m so blessed to be surrounded by amazing runners! 

The Katie Thronson Cheering Team. From left: Aunt Tara, Chelsea, Uncle Eric, Michael (Eric's brother), Katie, Kerrianne (sister-in-law) and Kirsten (Eric's cousin who lives in Reno).

Katie after her race! Uncle Eric is still super excited and can't wipe that smile off his face.


December 13, 2009 at 3:10 pm 1 comment