My lucky hat

Runners are obsessive creatures. We painstakingly research and critique equipment, looking for the perfect shoe, the right clothes, the best new toys that will give us that slight edge in our training.   Once we find what works, we’re loyal to our brands, always purchasing the same models in the hope that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  We often resemble ball players who wear the same sock or glove for every game after one has proven its worth in winning, and have been known to fall into an hysterical frenzy on race morning if we can’t lay our hands on that lucky piece of equipment. Or, maybe that’s just me.

If you look at any of my race photos, you will see me in a white hat with pink writing.  I got this hat a few years ago at the Princess half marathon in Disney World.  It’s been the perfect hat, made of techie fabrics that keep the sun off my face, while allowing the heat to vent out and help keep me cool.  It even has a crown on it, and all you gals know how important it is to run in a crown.  I’ve worn it for every race and most training runs since its purchase, and its frequent washings have left it soft and pliable, but still able to work its magic.

My dad was always proud of my running.  He told anyone willing to listen about my races.  Everytime I went see him, he wanted to know how far I ran that day, how fast it was, and how I felt.  I frequently took my iPad when I went to see him, to show him pictures of races, and read my blog posts aloud to him.  After my half marathon in November, I was showing him the race photos, and he wanted to know why I didn’t wear my black hat.  I looked at him in confusion and told him I didn’t have a black hat.  He reminded me that, indeed I did have a black hat, he had given it to me a few weeks before after a visitor had left it for him.  I finally remembered it, one of those old, boxy style hats, made of cheap cotton with a cardboard brim. Nothing high tech about it.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I had no idea where it was, and that it certainly wasn’t made for running in the Mississippi heat.  A few weeks ago, though, I was rummaging around in my trunk and found it, buried under some towels and reusable grocery bags.  I got it out and put it with my other gear, determined to wear it at my next race for dad.

Many of you know that my sweet daddy was called home on Thursday of this week.  Those of us who live close by spent the day with him, gathered around his bedside, whispering into his ear, loving on him.  It was a bittersweet send off; he’s reunited with my mom now, released from a body and mind that had become a prison, but we’ll miss him.  It was a long, emotional day, and I allowed myself to become dehydrated and spent the evening being sick.  I felt better on Friday as we raced around making final preparations, but nowhere near 100%.

Kaitlyn and I had planned on running in a local 5k on Saturday, but I wasn’t sure I was up to it.  Even so, I decided that if she still wanted to, we would run it for dad.  She wanted to, so we got up yesterday, bundled up in our warmest running clothes and headed out.  Of course, I wore the black hat.

Kaitlyn had an excellent race, taking two minutes off her best time!  I ended up with a PR, as well, but I have to say that it hurt more than usual.  Still, I’m glad we ran it, and I know Dad would have approved.  I’m sure he and Mom were applauding from heaven as we pounded across the finish line.  I hope he noticed the hat.

I think this is when I yelled at Gary that I was dying

I think this is when I yelled at Gary that I was dying

But, it might have been here

But, it might have been here

My girl beat me soundly this time

My girl beat me soundly this time

Race day!

Kaitlyn and me before the start

The Orange Beach Kaiser Realty Half Marathon and 5k has now come and gone, and a more spectacular day could not have been ordered in advance.  Weather at the start was sunny and a little on the cold side (for me) at about 47 or 48 degrees, but it warmed up nicely.  Kaitlyn (my youngest daughter) ran the 5k, had a blast, and surprised herself, I think.  I ran the half, looking to maintain a 12 minute pace, which I accomplished, but I didn’t have a great race overall.  In spite of the perfect weather and beautiful run, apparently the gastronomically challenged should not plan a half marathon two days after Thanksgiving.  If you read my last post, I did live to regret the Italian Creme cake I ate, as it added at least 8 minutes to my overall time.  Enough about that, though.  I choose to place this one in the win column, because 1) I still managed to stay on pace, and 2) it was a perfect day for racing. The after race meal was provided by Cosmos Restaurant, here in Orange Beach, AL, and, having eaten there this summer, Gary, Kaitlyn, & I all stayed to eat.  It was absolutely worth it, too.  Probably the most unusual post race meal I’ve ever had, but, without a doubt, the best.

The race was well done, the route clearly marked, lots of volunteer help to guide and hand out water and Gatorade.  The packet pick-up yesterday had a few kinks, but they all seemed to be worked out this morning.  This is a beautiful race, mostly along the Backcountry Trail system in Orange Beach with a few miles run on the roads.  There was plenty of police presence on the highway, so the runners were well protected from traffic.  Gary & I have ridden our bikes & run on the Backcountry Trails and knew that they’re well maintained and breathtakingly beautiful.  And, in the summer, they have the added bonus of much needed shade.  The only complaint I can think of right now is one that I have for most races, not enough bathrooms.  :/

Jayne at the start (I’m #43)

Kaitlyn at the start of the 5K (the one with the huge grin!)

The finish line

Kaitlyn had a great race!

Meb made a guest appearance, and I was quite starstruck. My wonderful man patiently stood in line and got Meb’s autograph for me, then waited as I stood in line to do the same. Even Kaitlyn, who had never heard of Meb before this weekend, got in on the fun.


Meb & me!

Even Kaitlyn got in line

Gary had some unconventional things to sign. Yes, that’s his crutch.

Meb had a lot of encouragement for Gary about injury recovery.

My Schwag!