Thursday, April 19, 2012

Crescent City Classic 10K: Recap

I've struggled with writing this post because I wasn't sure how to write it.  Should I talk about my Christmas wish that my family all run/walk this race together?  Or how wonderful the race was and a recap of the events?  Or how my brother is, has always been, and will always be a hero in my eyes?  

I think I'll do all three.  

It started in October when I told my family (Mom, Dad, Brothers, and Sister) that all I wanted for Christmas from them (and as a present to them) was for all of us to register and participate in the Crescent City Classic 10K 2012 in New Orleans, LA.  I didn't require anyone to run it, nor anyone to finish at any time.  I simply wanted to share my enthusiasm for health and fitness with my family.  

My mother was very into it.  Training at the gym and running again.  While I won't say how old she is ;-) I will say that for a women of her age, running a 10K is a monumental challenge.  My husband (Dubya) and my daughter (DubyaKid) even registered (ok, so I registered them), but they agreed to do it. 

My parents drove down from New Jersey, my sister from Dallas. We all had dinner that night.  We talked about who was walking it, who was running it, the time we should get up, our game plan.  Jokingly I started picking on my brother saying I was going to beat him at the race.  He made comments about me drinking red wine before the race.  The gauntlets were thrown.  But always in a laughing funny manner.  

We woke up that morning and all hurried to get dressed, fueled, and made our way downtown.  In the car ride I joked some more about beating my brother, but then admitted that he would probably win and he said the sweetest thing I've ever heard, "You know, I would be honored to cross that finish line with you."  And from then on we decided to run it together. :) He said the exact words I needed to hear. 

We walked around the French Quarter making our way to the starting line mob of people grouped together. There were people dressed in costume, bands playing, tons of people and a beautiful day.  My anticipation rose and I was excited to get going.  As we waited we took some pictures and even found Waldo.  

DubyaSis, DubyaKid, My Brother, and Dubya
Found him!
When the cannon went off we waited, and shuffled, and waited some more until the crowd started to move towards the starting line.  It was slow going and we knew it would thin out.  As we started to go I spotted @RunBimma from Claim Your Journey - Run Louisiana and gave a quick hug and a quick photo.

Starting line
Say Cheese!
We caught up with the rest of our group and walked and talked for a bit.  As the crowd flew past with runners starting their stride, my brother and I waved goodbye to the rest of our party and began. I requested to do some interval running, going for 5 minutes, with a 1 minute walk break and we were off.

We chatted, took in the sights and sounds.  There were funny costumes, people handing out beads, flowers, and shots of alcohol (this is New Orleans, people).  Every once and a while we saw a band and as we kept going my brother would update me on water stations, the signs indicating the miles, keeping me going with motivation.  

At miles 2 and 3 I commented about how funny it was to think we were about half way done, because my half-marathon and relay wouldn't even be close.  We were still feeling good, no injuries or pains of any kind, just running and short walks and keeping ourselves motivated.  

The crowds never really thinned out, it was fun to pass up and have to run through and around people, it became a sort of game.  As my brother and I ran side by side we seamlessly would go around others just keeping our stride and pacing. 

Around mile 4 I started to feel tired.  The walking became more frequent and breathing started to become labored.  Despite my (two) requests that my brother go ahead, he refused.  He wanted to finish it with me and never once complained about me going to slow, holding him back, or showed any sign of frustration with me.  

We neared the New Orleans Museum of Art and City Park (near our finish) it was around mile 5 now and my nephew (my brother's son) came to join us for the final mile. His cheery face and bubbly running stride invigorated me.  He wanted to run, he kept up with us and wanting to be a good role model, I kept myself going.  As we passed the "picture taker" we put our hands up.

My nephew & Me
Finally the finish line came around, it was a long stretch to get there.  I was exhausted.  Normally around now I would dig deep for that last piece of energy but I couldn't find it.  I was laboring to breath and move my "lead" legs.  My brother started cheering my nephew on, "Go, man, go, there's the finish line, run fast!"  And in hearing my brother cheer on his son, I was motivated.  I wanted to keep up with him, so that we could all finish together.  We dug deep, we quickened our stride and we crossed with whatever we had left.

Running to the Finish

My brother, Me, and my nephew
At the finish line, we heaved.  We grabbed some drinks, walked a bit and then found a spot near the finish line to wait for the rest of our group.  My mother came in next, having started running at some point in the race.  She was running hard and finished at 1:40:41, a great time.  I'm so proud of her.  Next we saw DubyaSis and Dubya Kid run by with smiles finishing under two hours. Proud of them too. 

And finally bringing up the rear was our guys, my father and Dubya.  Finishing in just over 2 hours.  I couldn't have been more proud of my family at that moment.  We all worked hard and we all finished.  

Dad being a cheese!

Dad & Dubya

Proud of my favorite boys!
Dad, Mom, Dubya, Me, DubyaKid, & DubyaSis
Mom, Dad, Dubya, & my brother
We took some time to walk around the area, hearing the band, plenty of food, places to lay down and stretch and just all around a good event.  We had a family picnic just outside the park, soaking up the beautiful day and enjoying each other's company, as we talked about our blisters, aches & pains, and how exhausted we were.

This was a great event.  In comparison to the Rock and Roll Marathon, I liked the CCC 10K better.  It was well organized and had more to offer as far as the sights went.  I'll definitely do this one again.

So I've talked about the Christmas gift, and the race recap, here's the part where I talk about the hero that is my brother...

My brother is 9 years older than me and he was always so much older that I always knew he lived with us but never really saw him.  He was in high school in my earliest memories of him, then away for college, and then stationed at various Air Force bases while I was in high school.  Most of my experiences with him were short, but always meaningful.

The biggest memory that stands out in my mind is when I was about 11 or 12 years old.  I was playing near a levee (we have those here in Louisiana) and my leg was sliced by a broken beer bottle.  My other brother told me to wait and he would go get help, so I sat there in the grass with my leg bleeding crying my eyes out.  My big brother found me, picked me up (as if I didn't weigh anything) and carried me home.  At that age, it's easy to develop a strong emotion of seeing my brother as a hero. He was my knight in shining armor who saved me from a bad situation.

Over the years, as we became adults, I've come to realize that I look to my brother as a source of confidence and affirmation in my life.  Similar to how I am with my father and even my husband - I just want to make him proud of me.  And since he's moved home these many years our relationship has become one that is very fulfilling for me.  When I needed work advice, needed a place to stay in New Orleans, or just wanted to chat - he is always there. Always there to help me.

When I started my blog he was one of the very first "fans" and read each post (and still does).  He continually told me how proud he was of me and how much I was an inspiration. When I started running and  entering into races, he was so proud of me.  Telling me how wonderful it was that I was reaching out beyond my comfort zone and finally doing something I've always dreamed.

So when he told me that he would run this race with me ("I would be honored to cross that finish line with you.")   I was both nervous and excited.  Nervous that I would disappoint him and excited that I had the opportunity to run with someone who've I always considered my hero.

And as I reflect on the race and his words...
I'm honored for him doing this at my request. 
I'm honored for him motivating me.
But more than anything I'm honored that he finished with me.  Side by side.

Cause that's what a real hero would do.

Thanks, bro. You're my hero.

Oh and btw, I finished at 1:22:01 and he finished at 1:22:02.  Beat ya, bro! ;-)

Get Mean. Twisted Evil Make a Decision. Exclamation Choose Health! Cool

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