To me, the term Back on My Feet can be translated in two different ways.
1. The literal translation: Back on my Feet (BoMF) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 that provides resources to those experiencing homelessness by engaging them in running as a means to build confidence, strength and self-esteem. The program is 6 to 9 months, and by maintaining 90% attendance, they are rewarded with education and job training opportunities. Two of my good friends and Perfect Strangers, Kelly and Jaime, introduced me to the concept of this group a couple months back.
2. The figurative translation/ confession: I have been slightly MIA in the running department since the Chicago Marathon. Granted, the two runs I made this week were somewhat spectacular. But me without a training schedule = a useless nurse with a purse. Thus, today’s 42K relay was the perfect reintroduction to the sport in which I love. Hence, back on my feet!
The same day I learned what BoMF was all about was the day I found out about the 42K relay taking place this fall. The relay was set up as a 2.2 mile lap around the canal in downtown Indy. 42K = 26.2 miles/ a full marathon. So teams of 4 each ran one lap 3 times, teams of 3 ran 4 times, and teams of 2 ran 6 times. Kelly, Jaime, and Meggie all had teams. I thought it would be fun to try a relay out, but since I couldn’t scrounge up enough friends to join in, I accepted the fact that I’d be sitting this one out. That is, until I saw a post by Jenny on dailymile asking if anyone would be interested in joining a team. Obviously! Long story short, Jenny ended up joining another team of dailymilers, so instead I paired up with 3 other women from Indy who were also looking for a team. After much emailing back and forth, we decided to call ourselves Team RunNerds and go all out. Tux shirts, plastic nerd glasses, the works. Talk about another awesome team of perfect strangers!
This morning felt like a routine trip down to the Monon, given the early departure and purpose of such. Except I took myself straight to the heart of the capital. I had a little anxiety about meeting up with the rest of my team since we had never met, but once I found Michele and her husband in the parking garage, I felt right at home. After we found the other 2 girls, Kelli and Leona, we walked over to White River State Park where we started setting up our station!
I immediately put my radar on for the other Perfect Strangers who I was DYING to see. Confession #2: I’m in PS withdrawal 🙁 I found Meggie and her team on the way in, and as we were setting up, Kelly and her husband Mike came cruising by to say hi. Then on my way to the porta pots, I saw Miss Jaime putting on her bib and her game face. We hugged and loved on each other’s costumes (did I mention the race had prizes for costumes?). Oh, how I missed these girls.
At the last minute we decided our running order. I volunteered to go first. Why not? I was freezing anyway and this would help warm me up at the very least. Plus I’d be done first. After the national anthem and the serenity prayer, we lined our cold bods up!
When the horn sounded, I was immediately terrified. Apparently, I was amongst some REAL runners. Runners who actually wanted to race this thing. I swear I nearly got ran over! I immediately veered off to the left and let the crazies pass me while I made my own pace. Meggie and I ran the first leg together, which went by fairly quickly. We finished with a pace of 8:24 min/mi. However, as we were waiting to start lap 2, I found out that Meggie was going around calling me a “Boppy Fairy” behind my back. Except I was standing right behind her 😉 I told her to stop talking smack. I later delivered her and her team brownies. I also continued to run on my toes. Point made.
After one full rotation, I decided to kick things up a notch to start up lap 2. The course had thinned out from the first lap to the next, and everyone was kinda doing their own thing. Of course, my Garmin was dead this morning as I was about to head out the door, so I was forced to ran based on how I felt. Such a concept! Probably a blessing in disguise, as I ran strong, breathing even, and music-less (!), finishing lap 2 with a 7:40 min/mi pace. Now I definitely needed food.
I apparently left my body for lap 3 because according to the time records, I finished 2.2 miles in 13:02. That’s a 6:30 min/mi pace. No way, Jose. I felt good, but not THAT good.
Here’s how Team RunNerds finished:
After my 3rd lap, I was hovering around the finish line and spotted a team of dailymilers! Is it sad that meeting online friends is like a celebrity sighting of sorts? Anyhoo, Jenny, Jon Jay, Chanthana, and Kevin kicked the relay’s booty finishing in 2:50! Talk about Faster than Turtles!
After some brief re-fueling in the form of brownies and bananas, I moseyed around and sat in on the award ceremony. I had put in $10 to get two raffle tickets earlier in the morning. Fat chance I would win anything because when do I ever get that lucky? To my surprise, as @BoMFIndy director Lindsey announced the next “coveted” prize, $100 to St. Elmo Steakhouse, who’s name do you think was called??! MINE!! True to form, I bopped up to the table to claim my prize, when Lindsey congratulated me and asked, “Are you RunBMC??” Guess my twitter antics are more mainstream than I would’ve thought possible 🙂
Today was about getting back on my feet. It felt amazing to support such an honest and worthwhile cause while doing something that I love. The smiles and attitudes of the BoMF men today were so infectious. It’s amazing what dedicating yourself to something like running can bring out of you. Most definitely inspiring.
Now, since the Monumental 1/2 is less than 2 weeks away, I think it’s time to get back into a mini training schedule. Esp since Dadyo has big sub-2 hour plans for this one 😉