I admit I was a bit nervous at the starting line of the Noblesville Mini Marathon 10K. I had not laced up my running shoes for one mile since crossing the finish line at the One America Mini Marathon. Months before one of my girlfriends reached out to me and shared that she was ready to challenge herself to run a race beyond the 5K. Natalie’s transformation over the last year is phenomenal. She’s a fellow mother runner and Piyo lover. We registered for a 10K at the Noblesville minimarathon, I created a Piyo/running hybrid training calendar and we set a date.
Each of us had our own struggles with training. My right IT band continues to bother me and Natalie faced what so many runners experience. During the midst of training, I think all runners begin to doubt themselves, wonder why we run, allow that negative voice inside our minds to tell us that “running is for them not you”. We have a series of bad runs , our motivation wanes and we lose sight of what running is supposed to be. I gave Natalie the best advice I could think of: ditch the training plan. Ditch the schedule, the predetermined mileage and just run. Load up your favorite playlist, lace up those sneakers and run for the sake of running. Run because it allows our souls to experience room to breathe. Run because it’s time for us to think, dream, pray. Run for the high that will carry you through the rest of the day. Later that afternoon I got this message:
Race morning was beautiful. Unseasonably cool for a late May morning. The start line of the Noblesville race reminded me of why I love small town Indiana. It wasn’t the streets of downtown Indianapolis, packed with 30,000 runners. We were on a high school football field. There were pace groups for the half marathoners but there were no corrals. Several hundred runners gathered to run through the streets of a small town. I couldn’t have loved it more.
The start of the race was so “unceremonious” that Natalie and I didn’t realize it was time to run! Once we settled into our groove we had a great run through the cobblestoned streets of the square in Downtown Noblesville, over through the shaded path of Forrest Park, around to Potter’s Bridge. Of all the races I have run, this was one of the most beautiful. The course was a perfect mix of flat easy streets, an occasional hill to challenge those glute muscles and lots of gentle rolling terrain alongside the White River. As we approached mile 5, Natalie shared this was the farthest she had ever run! Naturally, I had to grab an action shot of this moment.
The course finished through residential streets, past beautiful historic home and ending with what Dimity from Another Mother Runner calls a “false flat”. Those parts of a race where the road looks deceivingly flat but the elevation sneaks up on you. A challenging way to finish but we did it!
We crossed that finish line, donned our medals and picked up some post race snacks. The strangest thing was they passed out pears instead of bananas! Pears, trail mix, jump ropes and a bottle of water. Natalie and I both commented how we were kind of looking forward to a banana….the slightly unripe pear didn’t quite cut it!
To say that I am proud of Natalie is an understatement. She quieted that inner critic, embraced her title of mother runner and owned those 6 beautiful miles. Many more happy miles my friend!!!