The hottest 5K I’ve ever done in February

The 37th Annual Run for the Roses 5K was held on February 12 on the campus of Dorothea Dix. It is one of the oldest 5K races in the Triangle. All female finishers receive a long-stemmed rose. I love supporting local races. This is one that I have been supporting either as a volunteer or a participant since I joined North Carolina Road Runners Club in 2008 with the Women’s Beginner Running group. My participation in the race pretty much guarantees that there will be one rose given to me in honor of Valentine’s Day. I feel like the dude in the downy unstoppable commercial. In case you haven’t seen it, here it is .

The race started at 2pm. Since the race is part of the 2nd empire series, there will be loads of runners showing up. I like getting a good parking spot at Dix. I told tall drink I would meet him there about 12:30pm. I was home watching Mission:Impossible Rogue Nation (SN:i love this movie). Once it ended I decided to go ahead and head on over. I was parked about 12:10pm. As I am getting my gear out the car, guess who pulls up beside me, Maureen Bowen. This chick completely amazes me. She is doing Umstead 100 in less than 2 months. What is Umstead 100? It’s an ultra marathon. 100 miles. 8-12.5 mile loops that go through Umstead. I am normally there in a volunteer capacity. Don’t get excited thinking I’m ready for an ultra. Nah pimp the kid struggles with 13.1 miles. I have not EVEN begun to think about crossing into the dark side. She’s amazing!!!

We head into the gym where registration is being held. I picked up tall drink’s bib at packet pickup but until I pulled it out my car, I didn’t realize it wasn’t his. They gave me the wrong person. I go in and return it and get his bib. The correct bib is showing no shirt. I let tall drink handle that. He registered by the extended deadline so he should get a shirt. That AIN’T my battle and i AIN’T giving up mine either. I’m selfish like that about my long sleeve tech shirts. They don’t come around very often.

I’m hanging around the gym chatting with some of my fellow NCRC peeps. Barbara Stone-Newton thanks me for telling her about the indoor TRI. She really enjoyed it. She tells me her neighbor does half IronMan and is trying to convince her to do one. She has no interest. I tell her I don’t blame her. I’m just trying to get to the finish line of White Lake in the fall and Aruba the month after.

I head outside to check out the vendors. Amber and Pam are manning the nOg run club table. St. Paddys 8K is coming up on March 25 and Flip Flop 1K is coming on June 10. I tell them that’s the day before Ramblin Rose. They tell me they are thinking about doing the race. I talk about how the race dates got changed. With it being in June it’s going to be HOT as fire. I spy out of the corner of my eye a lil ugly dude (for my lil ron ron fans) AKA tall drink. I give him his bib and he heads inside to deal with his no shirt. He comes back out in like 2 minutes with his shirt. I knew he would get his shirt. We check out the rest of the vendors. I introduce him to Mark Allred, the owner of New Balance AKA my FAV running store because they have large and wide sizes woo hoo!!

I’m starting to feel the heat from the sun and go back inside the gym to cool off. Tall drink tell me it’s cold in there. Bye Felipe we will have plenty of heat on the course. We hang out in the gym until time to head out for the race. As we are waiting in the gym, one of the new TIFL athletes Shelley Staubin and her friend who she has persuaded to do Ramblin Rose with. Bless her heart. She asks me about the course. She wants to know about the hills. I tell her you don’t want me to tell you how many there are because there are too many to count. Her facial expression is priceless. We all head outside. We have about 30 minutes before the race starts. While we are waiting I see a fellow runner Celeste Brown. I haven’t seen her since the start of the Bahamas race last month. One of my TRI sisters, Cynthia, finds us. I didn’t even know she was doing the race.FYI:Cynthia is a beast. We started off walking together at Jingle Bell back in December. Next thing I know this chick catches a 2nd wind and rolls out. Reminds me of how tall drink left a sister at the beginning of Tobacco Road last year. I haven’t let him forget it ever since. He swears fore God that if he has to put a chair at the finish line, he ain’t leaving until i get there. That dude is funny to me.

Brad Broyles is the race MC and he announces the race is about to start. We go line up for the race. I tell Shelley that I tend to line up in the back so I don’t get caught up with the speed of the fast folks. I’ve done that before and I almost tapped out before the race got started. At 2pm, we are off. Garmin is turned on. Playlist is going. I’m headed across the start line. Crowd starts to pass me. Then all of a sudden someone walks up beside me. It’s my own personal sweeper, Lisa Howell. I turn my music down and we chat. We have been here before when she was sweeping Women’s distance festival in 2013 and i was recovering from surgery. She tells me she is enjoying retirement for all of 2 months. Jobs are calling her already. She hasn’t had time to fully enjoy it yet. We pass by the max and i feel like it’s so sad to see my car sitting there when i could so easily hop on in and head home. I don’t. I see the lead cyclist on the other side of the road and he’s leading the top 3 finishers. There is a brother in the lead. Woo hoo!! We are passing runners as they head to the other side of the course. We turn left onto Umstead. Pam Matz is working the corner. We cross over the overpass. I’m reminded this is the beginning of Rock n Roll Raleigh 5K which i will be doing again in April with my mom, tall drink and Donna.  We all signed up last year after we finished the race. It’s so much cheaper when you sign up a year out. We head up Umstead which is a slight incline and this was the path of Women’s distance festival in 2013. I always remember the hills. We turn right and go around a building. Then we turn back onto Umstead. We head back down and we finally cross mile 1. I feel like we have done 2 miles at this point. It’s the heat I tell you. It’s making me delirious. We turn right onto Ruggles. We tell Pam it’s the last time we will see you. We pass the Max again. Damn shame passing my car for a 2nd time and I don’t go hop it and kick this race to the curb. I keep on walking. We make a left and Frank Hagg is working the corner keeping the roads clear of cars. Chester is there with him. We head up another hill. We see runners make the last turn towards the finish line. How I wish it was me. We pass the water stop. Louise Gardino is manning it and passes me some water. We head toward the rest of the course. The 1st part is downhill. What goes down must come up. As we make the right turn, another TRI sister is out here, Maureen Waters. She tells when we see her again we will only have less than 1/2 mile to go. Yeah! We head down the road you can see downtown Raleigh skyline. It’s really nice. I tell Lisa this park of Dix must be popular because there are a lot of cars parked on the street. Folks are in the grass playing games and stuff. We head up another hill and turn right. We go down again and I hear cheers coming from Maureen Bowen. I told you this chick was amazing. She’s moving and shaking. I need that energy. We just pass mile 2. Thank God!! 1.1 miles left to go. Lisa tells her we are the end of the race and to join us on the walk back to the finish. We turn left onto Tate. Tate could give Carrington a good run for its money. This rascal is Mountain. I have to stop like 2 times to get my breathing controlled to make it to the top. Lisa and Maureen are right there with me encouraging me the entire time. We get to the top, course monitor tells us to turn right around another HILL. Good lord this place is full of them. I know this because I have done this race the last 3-4 years. He joins the party and walks with us. My body has been feeling really weird out here on the course but i pushed through. Later I tell tall drink that I didn’t think i was going to make it. We get up another hill and pick up another course monitor, another one of my TRI sisters whose name I can’t remember to save my life who is blowing a whistle to cheer me on. She tells us she needs a cowbell. I tell her you are not an official course monitor unless you have a cowbell. Those are the “rules”. My sense of humor is still intact so I might be ok. We keep on walking. We pick up Carolyn Quaterman who working another corner. We make a right and head up the LAST hill. I take a break again. The heat is kicking tail. We pass Maureen again and she joins us. We pass the water stop again. They give me a cold water. It tastes great. There is only 1 more turn left. We make the right and the finish is within reach. I see tall drink and Donna on the side. He tells me almost came out there to get me. I tell him you probably should have. Donna says Jo he was coming to get you. I tell her I believe you. As I am getting closer to the finish line, I see a guy come towards me and hands me a rose. Run for the Roses is done. This is my 1st race since Bahamas. I haven’t talked about Bahamas. It was a DNF. I continue to repeat in my mind how it could have ended differently. I have come to accept that it happened how it was supposed to happen. It has made me more motivated to train better for Shamrock.

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