So when I got the offer from Melissa- who is training with me in our church Mini training program, for a ride to and from the One America 15K Training Series race, I was really excited. It was probably going to be my only opportunity to get to do a race before the Mini itself- however it did mean that I needed to set up someone to watch MD and AC while Hubby and KT were at their first soccer game. So I was able to get that all set up (THANK YOU Grandma and Grandpa for watching them!) and we were good on the childcare front.
So then I looked into registering for the race. I was no longer able to register ahead of time and would have to do on site registration the morning of. So then I began to worry- what if I had issues with the staff while there- so I called Mr. Powers- the VP of Operations that I'd been negotiating with for the Mini stuff and told him of my interest in participating in the race. He was all for it and said simply that all the same rules for the Mini would apply and that I just had to make sure I maintained an 18 minute pace. I asked that he make sure that his staff was aware that we intended to come, so that I wouldn't have any issues with registration the morning of the race and he said he'd be happy to do so.
So Rei and I got up bright and early on Saturday morning at 5am. I fed her, gave her the rimidyl that the vet had recommended after she came up a little sore after the last long walk we'd did and took her out and breaked her. I got myself dressed and ate a peanut butter and banana sandwich with a Gatorade to get me going for the morning. Melissa and her hubby showed up at 6am and we made our way downtown as the sun was coming up.
The start and registration was in the Eiteljorg Museum and we parked, very close to the doors as we were one of the first ones there, and went inside on the lower level. We all somehow missed the sign that said registration off to the right, so as we headed on back, I headed to the help desk and I didn't even have to say a word to anyone. A lady came flying out from behind the table and said "OK, which one of you is Kacie?" and she was very polite, very helpful as was all of the staff there and they got me registered and we were all set!
Here is the course map of the route we followed- 15K or 9.3 miles:
After we registered and Melissa and her hubby picked up their packets, we settled on a bench for a bit as we watched people come in. We got our numbers put on, which had our timing devices and I decided to ditch the jacket I'd worn- which I was glad I'd done later on. I was wearing an under armour shirt with a T shirt over that. We hung out for a bit more and we started to see members of our church Mini training group come in. It was a blessing to see familiar faces and even more of a blessing that David- our head walk trainer and the wonderful gentleman that has worked with Rei and I each week in this training program, he was there and was really glad to see us there. Rei immediately perked up and hopped up to say Hi to him as well. :)
The Race started at 8am and about 7:30, I took Rei out back of the building by the canal to break one last time before the race itself and we walked up and down the section of the canal for about 8 tenths of a mile for a short warm up before the race. Then we headed in and I got in the LONG line for the restroom. Just as I came out, it was time to head out to the starting line up and the group of us from our church training program somehow wound up pretty much together, so we walked out together and stood waiting for the start to take place. Rei and I hung to the back since we were required to start at the back of the field and David and Steve, another wonderful gentleman, who is one of the trainers for the church program decided they were going to stay back and to the walk with Rei and I.
Then David saw Dick Wolfsie of Channel 8 News walking about and he grabbed him and told him about our story and that we are the first guide dog team to do these races. Mr. Wolfsie was ALL over it and was trying to do an interview quickly and the start took place. His camera man had to film the take off of the race and then Mr. Wolfsie pulled him back to try to interview us. The Mini people seemed a little frustrated and within a few minutes stepped in and told us we had to move on because they needed to open up the street. The pacers- a group of mini people that walk the 18 minute required pace said we needed to go and David told them to go on, that we'd catch up with them. So Mr. Wolfsie was trying to figure out how to get this interview in and the Mini official said they had my contact info, that they'd give it to him and he could get in touch with me. So then we were OFF!!!
We were definitely the last ones to take off from the starting line and boy we took off at a fast pace. Rei was almost trying to lope as she scared me a bit that she was limping, but she settled down very quickly into her normal trotting pace. We very quickly overtook the first stragglers as we rounded the first curve of the course. Not long after that we caught up with the pacers walking the 18 minute pace and then Melissa and her hubby was soon after that.
We hit the one mile marker and we were pushing along nicely at nearly a 14:27 pace. We zipped along at this point hitting the back of the field and David dis an awesome job of leading in front of us and calling out: Passing on the Left/Right, Guide dog coming up behind you! People quickly moved over to let us through and I quickly lost track of how many people we had passed. Steve pretty much stayed to our right to let me know of any changes in pavement and and did a wonderful job of encouraging us on throughout the race.
We kept up the mile eating pace and to my shock, we maintained under a 15 minute mile for every mile of the race. As we came to the first water/Gatorade station- I took a quick short drink and Rei did awesome drinking out of the cups and showed renewed energy after her drink. We gave her water in at the next station and then we skipped the next one and watered her at the last one before finish line.
We did very well through the entire race and as we went along I'll admit, I think I hit a wall between mile 8 and 9, where I was just ready to be done with it. I was tired and ready to quit, but I mentally got myself through it by looking at Rei and her dedication to me and what she was doing. I kept telling myself that is Rei could keep going, I could too and that got me through that last mile and a half of the race. :)
We rounded the last corner and saw the finish line and Rei immediately picked up pace knowing we were nearly done and we breezed across the finish line and one of the guys from our training program was there to see us in and congratulate us on finishing the race! It was such an exhilarating feeling crossing the line and knowing that we had DONE IT!!! I immediately bent over and was trying to catch my breath and gave Rei a back scratch and rub all over telling her what a good girl she was and then we headed on down the path to all the goodies they had for us- bananas, water, cookies, apples, chips/pretzels and so forth. Rei got a treat of 2 bananas for the hard work she put in and we headed inside and got our official time. We had done it!
It turns out our official time for the 9.3 miles was 2 hours 13 minutes 45 seconds and upon looking up our results here is what we had:
bib number: 7871
division place: 155
gender place: 771
And here is the print out of my offical race time:
and here is the bib that I wore:
Unfortunately, as all of us were trying to travel as light as we could, none of us had brought a camera. :( So I'm anxiously awaiting for the Training Series photo gallery to add the 15K pictures to see if there are any of Rei and I.
Here's the link:
We'll see if they add any.
So we are gearing up for May 8th, when we do the 13.1 miles and follow this race course:
Please pray for us as we continue to train!