This is the second year that I have gone to this race, the Footlocker South Region. It is not a school affiliated race, but it is a post-season qualifier for a national race held in San Diego. We left Friday morning around 10:00 to head to Charlotte, North Carolina. After going to Subway for lunch, checking in at race registration and the Hilton hotel we would be staying at the next two nights, we headed to meet some other people from Morristown to jog the course. McAlpine Park is the location of the South Region. It is a gorgeous park with trails, sports places, a dog park, and ponds.
Last year I found the perfect place for dinner, Nothing but Noodles! After running, this is where we went. This pasta is whole wheat penne topped with marinara sauce, grilled chicken, spinach, carrots, broccoli, red bell peppers, zuccini squash, and whatever cheese they use. It was absolutely delicious!
I went on Tennessee Runner and saved some pictures of myself from the race, becuase I haven't yet looked at the ones my mom or a friend's mom took. This was in the time we had in the "runners only start area" in the half hour between our start and the race before us. A chilly 30 degrees kept us in our warm up clothes as long as we could. The first 1k was also straight into a headwind! This was such an amazing experience!
Not everyone in the seeded/championship girls race fit in this picture, but here we are about to take off. I was excited to get to start next to two girls that I have raced against since middle school. They are twins, juniors from Beech High School. Cross country races are also the perfect chance to meet new people and gain encouragement!
Here's a shot from along this beautiful course.
Here I am next to one of my big competitors for the past two years. (She is in the tshirt and shorts and under armor headband.) I didn't race her too often, but every time we met, it was always close! I pulled this one out ahead from the big hill not too far past this point.
This race was super fast! I even got a new PR, the goal of what I had been wanting for this race all season. My new PR of 18:14 was 14 seconds faster than I had previously run. Next year my goal is to break 18:00!
Last year we ate at the Cheesecake Factory after leaving McAlpine. My boy/bestfriend and his dad came with us, too. My foursquare wouldn't get rid of the borders. Here is some white bean hummus with wheat toast!
Here is some white chicken chili! It was very yummy, although it doesn't compare to my "second momma's" (2 of my best friends' mom) white chicken chili.
And of course, the main event--the pumpkin cheesecake! I put this thing away fast!
This is the shirt everyone received at registration!
On the way to the race, I opened up my Bible to where we have been studying at church, Hebrews 12. Although verses 1 and 2 are our school team verses, it never really hit me the same as it did that morning. I know I need to get my life better prioritized. "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." So many people see me every day in so many ways, but I have so much going through my head and so much to do. I need to let go of the things that don't really matter and focus on bringing God glory. He paid it all, so I should focus on living for Him.
I learned a lot this weekend.
Just because you miss some workouts and some feel awful, that does not mean you won't perform better than you ever have.
God placed me in Charlotte that weekend to run, not to be more concerned with what I am doing/eating afterwards. (I say this because I came down with the stomach virus just hours after the race. I was so excited about the Cheesecake Factory, the Southpark Mall shopping, and free continental breakfast I got from having to sleep on a pull out couch bed, that until I got to the race, I was not focused. God has provided me with so many opportuinities I must not take improper advantage of.)
God gives me so much grace I don't deserve at all. He really should've gotten me sick 24 hours before, so that I would've been unable to run at all, already all the way in Charlotte, so then I would've felt even more awful for wasting so much of my family's money and time.
There is so much to be joyful about :)