Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away two friends embarked on a journey to becoming healthier and happier people. Seven short weeks ago that journey led them to the roof top of Retreat hospital as they joined the HCA 8K Training team.
Today we gathered on the rooftop for one final training run with our amazing coaches and fellow team mates to face the final four mile training run.
Finding Fun in the Run
Coach Mandy decided to have a little fun with us when she sent us the route this week. Rather than sending the standard “turn left on, turn right on,” instructions, she gave us clues to what our route roads were. For those of us familiar with our fair city of Richmond, it wasn’t a huge challenge to figure out the clues, but for those newer to the city, it was definitely some new trivia about our town. Personally, I thought it was a great idea. Having fun with a run will always make the run easier because it’s more interesting.
It was perhaps the coldest day so far for our weekly run as most of us had donned extra article of clothing to stay warm. I even arrived in long pants with gloves and hat. Yes it was that cold.
And They’re Off and Running
With a few final instructions on what to expect on race day, and a last set of team jumping jacks, we were indeed off and running wild in the city streets. Well, not that wild because, as always, safety come first when running.
Cruising Down The Boulevard
Yep, we’ve got a Boulevard, and the pretty parts were the first stretch of today’s run. The team began to spread out as each of us found our “happy pace.” One of the things I have enjoyed the most about running with this group is the energy and camaraderie of my team mates. The faster runners may pass you, but rarely do they do so without saying something encouraging and supportive. Sometimes a well-timed ‘looking good” or “atta boy’ is all you need to keep you going forward.
Richmond is chocked full of statues and monuments to a wide variety of people and todays run had us taking a right turn out our very own statue of Christopher Columbus. Rumor has it that he was actually lost when he discovered America, but with his guidance we swung right and set sail for our own new world.
After navigating around Columbus and turning into Byrd Park standing straight ahead of us was The Carillon. Now our route instruction clearly said to touch the steps and keep going. However most of us couldn’t help but recreate our very own Rocky Balboa moment by running the Carillon steps. Oh Adrian! I swear I heard people humming the theme song….or was that just me?
Back To Where It All Began
Leaving our Hollywood moment behind us, we crossed back into Byrd Park for a lap around the Vita Course, which is where many of us (including our own Coach Mandy) first tested our running legs. Kimi and I had to laugh remembering that six short months ago, we huffed and puffed around this 1 mile trail as runners passed us left and right and left us wondering, “how do they do that??”
Completing our turn around the Vita course, we aimed ourselves back toward home for the final leg of this 4 mile run. Moving through these historic streets of Richmond, we knew we were making a little history of our own. Because the following Saturday, we would be at the starting line of the HCA 8K, ready to run the entire race.
We finished our run that day with a pretty good time, and we headed back to the roof to wish our fellow team members luck – plus sign out, so our coaches didn’t have to go a-hunting for us along the route.
As we were grabbing a post-run cup of water, Coach Beth gave us what turned out to be the great tip of the day.
Along the race route, there are aid stations with water and powerade. I don’t know about you, but I’m not so great at running while drinking without spilling most of the liquid. Coach Beth showed us that a little gentle engineering of the cup, creating a spout, would keep the liquid in the cup and make drinking easier.
Find a Training Team
Kimi and I hope that you’ve found following our adventures might inspire you to launch into some new adventures of your own. If you do decide to take up running, or even walking, we enthusiastically encourage searching out a training team like those offered by SportsBackers, the YMCA and many local running clubs. We have found the inspiration, information, support and guidance provide by these (volunteer!) coaches and fellow runners to be priceless.
Thank you to Sportsbackers, Coach Mandy, Coach Dan, Coach Beth and to each and every one of my teammates. I couldn’t have done it without you. See you all at the starting line next week because we are definitely Not Done Yet.
We’ve got a race to run!