After a thoroughly rainy night and a drizzly morning, the Matics-McGaugh clan headed down the road to one of the local wineries for the 27th Annual Run Through the Vineyard. We celebrated the return of my mom to the running world and Katie’s first official race. The family that runs together, stays healthy and fit together!

There were several highlights today, but first, the crew:

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Team Matics-McGaugh out in full force, with Eric, Bill, and Lorraine as our support section. Eric really wanted to run today, but the cut-off age was five. As I told him, the most important help you can give to a runner is the sound of your voice cheering, especially when we’re pushing. My little man is so eager to get into the action, and he trains on the track, too. His first official race is actually scheduled for next month.

So, how did it go? Well, honestly, my coach (who is also my husband) is still trying to talk me down a bit from my unreasonable expectation of getting a PR on this course and the ensuing disappointment in myself. The first question I asked him was what I need to do to perform better, when I realized I had not run my 42:00.0. We have had numerous conversations this afternoon about the variability of courses, setting objective measurements against an unknown, and so forth. How does a determined and driven athlete take a measure of defeat? I just want to work harder, harder, harder. And I have to remember that the only way to measure real improvement is to run the same courses year to year and see improvement on as many of them as possible. I need to hold my head up and focus on what went right about my race.

I ran the 10K. The course was killer: wet from the rain, muddy, sandy, loose, rocky, hilly, and full of washboards and uneven terrain. I did the best I could do on it, and my body is more thrashed right now than even it was after the Carlsbad 5000, which was at a much faster pace. I had set my Garmin to a 6:50 pace, and the only time I broke that decently was mile 3 at 6:44. My overall pace for the 6.2 miles was 7:10. I was trying for a 6:50 pace for the whole thing. The Hot Chocolate 15K had me at a 6:57 pace uphill for a 10K split of 43:27. I at least wanted to beat that, but it was not to be on this course or on this day with my current level of fitness. My time was 44:47.84.

Still, I was the first woman in. That was enough to win the ladies of any age on the 10K. The second woman in was 5+ minutes after me, and my time today would have beat last year’s ladies’ winner as well by about a minute.

I had a 6th place finish, although there was some issue with a person being added to the top 10 who had actually run the 5K, and one man who was missing from the list, so the official papers were up and down…and the officials only had enough information to award the first place medals to the top lady (me) and the top guy (a young man from Oregon, naturally) before having to pause the ceremony for a moment. I don’t even know how many people raced yet, but this was a smaller local race.

I am both happy about my performance (1st place in the women’s 10K! A 5K split that was about 51 seconds faster than the man who won the 5K race today!) but also not (if I were better, gnarly trails would not be as much of a problem and my goals would be more realistic). Always want more of yourself, right? But that duality really sums up my whole existence and approach to life. It is the impulse in me that most corresponds to the mechanism by which I want humanity to survive: no matter how well we do, keep aiming for advancement, achievement, and hard work so that all of humanity will keep thriving and evolving toward greater justice, compassion, and understanding.

Anyway, enough about my race! This was a family shindig!

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Many of us placed today! Katie earned a 3rd place for age and gender in her 2K race, although they didn’t give medals—just dog tags to all the kids. I think kids should earn medals, and also learn how to deal with not earning them this time, but that’s just me. We are in the era of self-esteem production. 🙂 David and Ashley each earned a 2nd place medal for their age/gender divisions in the 5K race. Go, family, go!

 

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I was so flippin’ proud of this girl. She ran the whole way—no stopping, no walking—and even took those hills like medicine. And she felt the sense of accomplishment that comes from holding herself to a goal, as well. When she crossed that line, we hugged and I swung her in my arms a bit. I got so choked up with happiness for her. You rock, Katie!

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Another one who makes me proud! Little brother, big sister? David brought his game to this race, and it is so much fun to be doing events with him and my SIL Ashley. David used to be a fierce XC runner in the day, and he has also trained for triathlons while in college. I think we’re both set on doing Long Beach together this year. Lookin’ good out there, David!

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Katie, before her race. My mom ran the 2K with her, and this marks my mom’s homecoming to the running world. Long before any of us ever conceived of donning our running shoes, my mom ran all over Temecula in the 90s and got fast. A knee injury took her down, but she has continued other forms of cardio and weights all these years, so she is fit. She has been experimenting with running again and her knee is staying pain-free. I hope she is able to continue and do more races. This is the family pastime, and I want her there participating! Very thrilled that she ran today.

 

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Before my race. I was looking at the beautiful morning (although it was cold and quite brisk, especially while waiting around) and centering myself on nature and thinking about how connected life is to itself. I centered my mind on the colors and beauty and just tried to feel my desired pace through my body. I always get nervous! No matter how hard I have tried to work, nothing is ever guaranteed.

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This twelve-year-old boy is amazing, a rabbit. He ran and placed last year, as well, and is part of the running club we want to sign Katie up for next fall. He was out like a rocket and really started our pace at a determined clip. Someday when he is an Olympian, I will say that I tried to race him once. I am digging this picture of my opened-up stride, though! I actually look like I am running!

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Bringing it home… I was able to pick off just one guy right at the 5K mark or so, but the other five men in front of me were untouchable for me, at this point. I don’t mind racing with the boys, though, that’s for sure! Just gotta get better…

 

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The function of a parent: trying to talk reason into a disappointed offspring who is being hard on herself.

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Celebrating Katie June after her race! You did so great, baby girl! I think she’s hooked, by the way…

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Ashley rocks it in! Thanks, Ashley, for being the impetus for all of us to run this as a family event. It was so fun to be here all together! Looking forward to the Disney run, big time!

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Exhausted, concerned, and a little bit pleased after finishing my 10K. Running is every emotion at once—that’s why I love it. Well, one of the many reasons! To run is to live.

So what’s next? Well, I have a charity event next weekend with a friend of mine (a former teacher and also colleague, too). We’re doing a 5K walk with our daughters in San Diego, and we can’t wait to catch up and spend the time chatting. Later in May I have another run with a different friend and our kiddos at a strawberry festival that should be a great time. I also have my first out-of-state race, a well-known one, coming up on our road trip (but for safety reasons won’t be posting any details about that right now online). It’s getting to the point where trips/runs are kinda meant to go together, you know? Anyway, I am terribly excited about it. It’s going to be epic and the field of runners is absolutely going to KICK my little butt. There’s some hardcore runners in those parts…but at least I get to do it!

27th Annual Run Through the Vineyard, thanks for a beautiful morning in my hometown with my family. You were tough. But I won’t ever forget running through those grapevines with the clear Temecula sky overheard and watching my loved ones achieve (comebacks, first timers, etc). You thrashed me, and my legs feel pleasantly worked! See you next year?

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