What were you excited about the most for the first race in our series?
Melissa: I was excited to have Sonja there to help push me along the way. I wore a bright neon shirt for fun.
Sonja: I love the 80’s 8K and the fun atmosphere. Being a young girl who was going through the ages of 10-19 during the 80’s made a big impression on me. I mean what other decade has such amazing music, big hair, and parachute pants! I get to relive some of my younger days by dressing up and listening to 80’s music. It is much better than going to an 80’s band concert now a days because everyone is over the age of 40 and the band members are not as hot as they use to be, except Rick Springfield who has aged pretty darn well and still wants Ricky’s Girl.
How did you feel before, during, and after the 80s 8k?
Melissa: I felt like “wow I’m about to run this” before the race. I felt great during because I was pacing myself really well during the race. I also felt great after because I accomplished the 80s 8k. I am really proud of accomplishing the race.
Sonja: Well before the race I was a little nervous for Melissa just because this was the very first race of the distance challenge and she had not been running much for almost 6 or 7 weeks due to a knee injury. I was concerned that we may have to walk a good portion of it and be fighting the clock to finish on time. During the race I was amazed at how well she was doing for not having very much training prior to the race. I did keep wondering if it would last for the whole 8K. Afterwards I just was ecstatic for her and her friend Bonnie who both just completed their first Distance Challenge race and both are members of Kayleigh’s Club. After we hugged and I knew Melissa was steady on her feet from her sprinting in to the finish line I jogged back about a mile to run in with Kayleigh, her mother, Sandy, and Art from Run Lab. Kayleigh was the last one to finish the 80’s 8K but she did it her way with lots of style. Personally I think she knew that in the end the police escort her back to very end of the race. So at each intersection she would have a police car blocking the road for her to cross and then slowly going up the road with her. Not a bad way to get some men in uniform to notice you. After the race was over for everyone I just felt refreshed and happy and hungry.
What were your goals, if any, for the 80s 8k to start off the distance challenge series?
Melissa: My goals were to pace myself throughout the race and to complete the race in about an hour.
Me: My goal was to keep Melissa having fun, not to think negative thoughts that can come into anyone’s head when they are tired and just to help keep her motivated to reach her goal.
What was the most memorable moment during the event?
Melissa: My most memorable moment was getting pictures with and without Sonja.
Sonja: Seeing another runner in front of us on a hill and realizing that she might be in distress. I told Melissa to keep going and I stopped next to the woman and asked her if she was alright. She had been standing in the road and holding her head and looking up. She stated that she had vertigo and was dizzy but that she really wanted to conquer this race due to running it the year before and not doing what she wanted. I asked her if I could hold her elbow and walk with her until she felt better and she agreed. She ended up running the majority of the remainder of the race with me and Melissa, kind of back and forth of we were in front of her and then she was in front of us. I know she finished really close to us. Later on Strava she thanked me and that surprised me that she was able to connect with me through the app. Nothing huge but just grateful that I was able to help another runner.
What are you looking forward to for the next race?
Melissa: I am looking forward to getting my second piece of the magnet puzzle and eating breakfast tacos afterwards.
Sonja: Run for the Water is such an amazing race. Mr. Gilbert who host the race just inspires me to run with joy and this race helps people in Burundi Africa to get access to clean water much closer to their homes. Such a win/win for everyone involved. And just like Melissa I enjoy seeing my Distance Challenge magnet puzzle slowly becoming complete.
How will you be training until the next race?
Melissa: I will be working out with The Warriors Fitness Club on Monday mornings. I will also be working out with the Ship of Fools on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I will also swim twice a week as well.
Sonja: I just gently broke the news to Melissa that we would be doing a lot more steeper hills to help us prepare for all of our next races and she just smiled with joy! She is actually becoming really good at hills and they do so much to help us both get prepared for the next four races of the Distance Challenge. I would like to get some swimming in with Melissa but with my school schedule that may or may not happen. The Ship of Fools have been very good to the both of us and I love their workouts and attitude towards all runners of different abilities. It is a club for those brand new to running to elite runners and everyone in between. For $30 a year to become a member and discount to many running stores and races it pays for itself quickly. Many people run with us who don’t become members but I quickly became one when I realized I would get a discount to every distance challenge race and I wanted to show my support to an amazing running community. I love that they don’t just give out their races and events but all free runs from all over Austin and other running groups. It really is a community of people who have a passion for becoming better in moving forward.
We’ll all be training on those super steep hills with you! Good luck at Run for the Water – we can’t wait to hear how it goes!!