It's been two weeks since Austin Fit Magazine Winner Lorraine Townsend completed the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot, and the accomplishment is still sinking in every day.
As her coach and mentor through the month leading up, I commend Lorraine on her positive attitude and “go with the flow” mentality. We literally threw her into the spotlight with social media, blog posts, and multiple TV interviews. She was nervous enough to get to the start line, but then we heaved a mass of attention at her. Needless to say, she took it like a champ and exceeded all expectations!
Our race plan was to utilize a ladder of run/walk intervals starting with a one-minute run/one-minute walk. We would move up the ladder to a two-minute run/one-minute walk, three-minute run…and so on. Our plan was also to walk all of the hills and aid stations to conserve energy and get enough hydration. As it does with most athletes, that plan flew out the window within the first mile when Lorraine decided that she wanted to show the first hill who was boss by running up the whole thing! She and her support crew were awesome and so encouraging. Even other runners who recognized her shouted words of encouragement and support.
“Having my entire entourage there to run with me was amazing,” she recalled. “Cyn, my brother Lee, and Carrie really kept me going. There were a couple of times where we did a longer than one minute recovery walk, but there were also times where we did a longer than three-minute run, so that was great. The hills were killers, but I ran two out of three of them! I was definitely not the fastest at 1:22, but it was my personal best AND I wasn’t in last place!”
Being in last place, surprisingly, was a real fear for Townsend when she took to the starting line with 25,000 other participants. These are fears and emotions she has carried with her from childhood into adulthood. It took a while for the reality of her accomplishment to sink in when she crossed the line. “I couldn’t help but cry,” she said. “It’s such a crazy feeling. I AM good enough and I did it! It’s over. It’s bittersweet. It’s overwhelming. It’s pretty freaking amazing!” (Author's note: She may have used another f-word to describe her actual emotions!)
The experience was so amazing that Lorraine turned around and ran the Round Rock Rotary Reindeer Run just three days later, even faster than she ran the Turkey Trot! Afraid of losing the momentum that she's gained, Townsend is searching for other races she can tackle when she heads home to Boston.
She sums up the experience well by describing what this achievement meant for her:
I really can’t overstate how grateful I am to Coach Carrie and to Austin Fit Magazine for this opportunity. I don’t think I would have ever done it, or had this follow through, without the threat of media on the other side and without Carrie’s constant coaching and encouragement! I am officially a runner. (It said so under my name on TV – and that is my favorite title ever). I don’t recognize myself, but I am obsessed with my next workout, obsessed with getting the right fuel for my body, and obsessed with this whole fitness idea. I love it and I never thought I would be 'that girl!' And it's all thanks to a little ol' contest on Facebook led by an amazing little firecracker of a coach who believed in me! I am truly thankful this holiday season.