Friday, March 31, 2017

Layton Gill: My College Station 10 Miler

The day started with the 3:30 a.m. alarm.

I had to give myself time to get up, get organized, and out the door in time to meet Tammy Grado at 4:30 a.m.

Layton and Tammy Grado:  Bright and early in College Station!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
We had decided to ride together earlier in the week and wanted to make sure we arrived before the mad rush at packet pickup.

We warmed-up for about five minutes and then walked to the starting corral.

The race began promptly at 7 a.m. and we quickly made our way out of the College Station High School parking lot.

I had joked earlier in the week about chasing Jerritt Park.

That chase ended rather quickly as he made his way to the streets and disappeared in the distance.  (For the record, he finished 11 minutes before me, but I will continue working on narrowing that gap.)

I settled into a comfortable pace, though faster than I had intended for the early miles.

I knew Tammy was just behind me, and by mile one, Keri Amador came up to pass.

She asked my pace as she passed, stating her watch malfunctioned so she did not know.

I gave her a quick note and off she went.

I attempted to keep her in my sights for as long as I could.

I skipped the first water station as I often do.  By the second one around mile three, I was ready.

I grabbed the cup and began the process of trying to drink.  To say I failed would be modest.  Half went up my nose as the other half ran down my chest.

My pace started to slow as I developed a slight side stich, and around mile four, Tammy zipped by me.

It was very reminiscent of our summer training runs on League Line Road, where she often pulled away from me as the heat and humidity along with long stretches of hills dwindled my speed.

It was great to see her looking as strong as she did before her injuries.

With a slightly more successful water stop and my side pain easing, I managed my pace, which allowed me to keep Tammy within sight.

I realized I was not slowing down as much as she was pushing the pace.

As we approached the split for the second five-mile loop, I spotted Letty Gonzalez and Bill Dwyer.

Bill offered dinner if Layton would catch Tammy.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
I pointed up the hill at Tammy and said something to the effect of, “She just zoomed by me.”

Bill yelled, “Yes, she looks great.  I will buy you dinner if you catch her.”

I knew I was paying for my own dinner unless something disastrous occurred.

It was apparent that was not going to happen.

Tammy continued to pull away, and I could not have been more excited.

Tammy was anxious about this run, hoping to PR, and since I was on pace for her PR, I knew she was crushing it.

I decided to walk through the water station at the 6.5-mile mark as I felt the need to get as much water down as possible.

After two cups of water and a minute of walking, I picked the pace back up.

I was not as fast as I was on the first loop but knew that I would be close to a 10-minute PR for myself.

It took a lot of focus to push through the last two miles, the hilliest of the loop.

I mostly focused on calculating my finish time and hoping I did not pass any of my fellow Volte runners ahead of me.  I still had my 10-minute PR in sight and needed to push the pace to get there.

Quarter mile by quarter mile, I would tell myself only x more loops to go, referring to the many track workouts we have all pushed through.

As I entered the final stretch, there was Tiffany Hauerwas cheering me on.

I met Tiffany just a few weeks ago on an early Thursday morning run, but for a moment it was as if we had logged hundreds of miles together.

I rounded the corner and up the hill knowing I was ever so close to my PR goal.

I sprinted like it was the first of a 200-meter workout.

I could see the clock as I approached Bill jumping up and down with excitement.  There he was possibly more excited about my finish than I was.

Yes, that's a facial expression that comes with a 10-minute PR!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
See, I was excited to finish to see how everyone else had done.

I knew what I was accomplishing throughout the race but wondered about the others.

In the end, our small contingent of Volte participants had a great day including four PRs.

And as excited as I am about my own 10-minute PR, deep down I get more pleasure out of seeing my training partners, and more importantly friends, have as much if not more success.

Strike up the band - or just the symbol - for Layton's big effort!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
I am thankful for all who have accepted me into Volte and let me join you along the way.

If we have not had chance to run together, name the place and time, and I will attempt to make it work.

This day was more than about the race for me.  It was about being a part of something truly special.

I finish with the following quote and wish you the same success on your next race.

"Runners have an unspoken bond that’s unmatched in any other sport. We’re trusting of complete strangers. In every other group I’ve joined in my life, trust is earned gradually—it has to be proven. With most runners I’ve met, trust is assumed. We support each other immediately and without hesitation. More than any other group, my running friends are fiercely loyal. I don’t know why “good people run...” but I have a guess. We build relationships outside in nature, forcing us to leave the stress, anxiety, and societal pressures behind for just an hour or so. We leave the drama at work, family stress, and we just focus on the run. All we need to have a good time is a pair of shoes." ~ Joanna Reuland

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