Friday, May 3, 2013

#TeamHerkimer and my first guest blog post!

Shortly before the horror at the 117th Boston Marathon, a friend at the Sacramento Zoo asked me to write a guest blog post about our family’s participation in the 32nd Sacramento Zoo Zoom. This is that blog post:

It all started with an off-handed comment: “Sure I could do a half marathon…….if I could walk it!” A few days later a friend sent me a link to a walking half marathon the first weekend in May (aka TOMORROW!!). There was no time limit! How could I ignore that challenge? So my husband, Jeff, and I signed up and I started training.

In preparation, I knew I would want to complete a 10K, and what better than the 2013 Sacramento Zoo Zoom? We love participating in Zoo events and this would give us the experience we needed on our way to that half marathon. But, the same concern arose: time limit. I was assured that we would have at least 2 hours to walk the 6.2 miles. I could do that, right? And if we were the last people to cross the finish line, who cares? Slow but steady still completes the run! Our teenage boys both agreed to do the 5K making this a family event.

That gave me the next crazy idea. Why not have the Zoo’s tortoise as our own personal mascot? Herkimer, the Desert Tortoise, is an Animal Ambassador for the Sacramento Zoo and gets to meet and mingle with zoo guests.

Thus, #TeamHerkimer was born! We embraced our slow tenacity. With help from Kreative Design/Marketing I had t-shirts made for the race including our name and team motto.

Boy did we stand out against the turquoise run shirts! It was great! Even better was meeting our inspiration, 86-year old spunky Herkimer! He loved our shirts and team spirit! Just look how excited he is! Equally as fun were the fans #TeamHerkimer inspired along the race. Several of the more hare-like participants took a moment to high-5 us or shout out a cheer as they sped by. In fact, one of the guys in the lead complimented our motto as he lapped us to place in the top 10. Whoever he was, he totally made my day!

So how did #TeamHerkimer do? We finished the race! Out of 555 participants in the 10K, Jeff and I placed 538 and 537, respectively (he let me beat him), with an average pace of 15:48. Hubby placed last in his age group and I placed 74 out of 77 in mine. Appropriate positions for #TeamHerkimer! The boys really took the team motto to heart and finished with a 17:17 pace, both second to last in their age groups.

But #TeamHerkimer did what they set out to do and had a blast doing it! Look for us next year!

I will be honest, I did not consider myself a “runner.” As my boys like to remind me, I walk fast. I walk for my health and to exercise my dog, Dolly, not for speed. I did not know when the Boston Marathon was taking place. I had runner friends who were talking about it, but the event was so far off my radar that it wasn’t until I heard about the explosion that I started paying attention. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon, the camaraderie of the ZooZoom was even more poignant. These people didn’t know us but they showed us that the running community is a family…….a big happy, sweaty, supportive family! I may still only walk really fast but I now consider myself a part of that family, a “runner”……a really slow runner. But the running community has opened their arms to my tortoise-paced self. What more can you ask for?

1 comment:

scrapper al said...

Love this post! So great to see the family participating.