Guest Blogger: Denise Mestanza-Taylor from Run DMT
Before crossing the start line, every runner begins each race with a goal. For this race, my girls and I wanted to finish around 45 minutes and then stuff our faces with cookies like cookie monster sample a few of the Girl Scouts cookies selections.
No doubt, my kids were highly motivated by mountains of Girl Scouts cookies with visions of Do-Si-Dos dancing in their heads. It only seemed fitting to wear matching Cookie Monster shirts for the occasion.
The annual Thin Mint Sprint held in the sleepy town of Safety Harbor is always a winner race for us. With less than 800 participants, I have a good chance finishing in the top 50 female runners, although for two years now I have graciously sacrificed my finisher place to pace with my kids. After all a family that paces together, stays together.
On race day, Allana decided to volunteer, so it was just Emmalynn (my ten year old) and me for the 5K. Liam waited with Allana to help manage the cookie table and I have a feeling, he may have eaten more than he served.
Emmalynn started off strong and managed to run to the one mile marker before she needed to walk. Although the water station was in sight, she developed a stitch and needed to walk it off a bit. Soon she was ready to run again and we ran until the first water station followed by a bit more walking.
We hit bend in the road and began our walking journey back to the Safety Harbor town center. Once I spotted a running Thin Mint, I shouted to Emmalynn in my best Cookie Monster voice, “ME WANT COOKIE! MUST EAT COOKIE! We can’t let a cookie to beat us!” And with that, we started running again.
The next mile was a bit tough for Emmalynn. The cool breeze at the start of the race disappeared and things had certainly started warming up. We managed to make it to the next water stop without stopping and rewarded ourselves with a water walking break.
I asked Emmalynn to let me know when she was ready to run again. My kids always love to pick landmarks in the road as running starting points and she chose the Safety Harbor sign. Once we hit that sign, it was GO time. We only had a little over a mile left.
For the last mile, Emmalynn slowed down her pace a bit rather than taking so many walking breaks. We soon caught up to a Samoa and the turnaround ahead was another delicious sight. We took another walking break at the final water station and with less than a half mile to go, I encouraged Emmalynn to run without stopping.
A few of the volunteers along the course smiled and cheered for the cookie monsters and I reminded Emmalynn that they were cheering for us to help us push through the race.
Then, with less than a quarter mile left to go and the town center in sight, Emmalynn wanted to walk again. “No,” I said trying to keep her focused. “The finish line is just around the corner. You can do this! Stay focused! Hang onto it!”
The finish line was now in sight and she pushed it to the end. She finished at 45:00 and I was so proud of her!
Thin Mint Sprint 5K
Garmin Distance: 3.31 miles
Ave Pace: 13:51
Shortly after the 5K, the Tagalong Trot one mile run would start. Allana told Liam she would Tagalong and run the mile with him. Emmalynn stayed behind to man the cookie booth.
Holding onto big sister’s hand, Liam started off strong. He loved the idea of running ahead of Mommy and passing all the cookies. He held such a nice pace and only walked at the turnaround and the water station.
He relished in hearing the spectators cheering for the Cookie Monster Crew and just like his mama, he ran faster when he heard the encouraging cheers.
Once he saw that finish line, he really took off.
Tagalong Trot One Mile
Garmin Distance: 1.21 miles
Ave Pace: 13:51
After the race, we found Emmalynn and snacked on a few more Girl Scouts cookies and a few other treats. I’m always grateful for the healthy options offered at the Thin Mint Sprint.
This was Liam’s first Thin Mint Sprint experience and he loved it, especially helping at the cookie tent and his medal. I love that this family-friendly race supports the Girl Scouts mission of building courage, strength and confidence through fitness.
And for any runner, there’s nothing like the sweet taste of victory when you reach your goal.
Denise writes a successful running blog about her adventures as a marathon mom in Tampa Bay which features fitness, food and family fun. She is also the founder ofTampa Bay Bloggers, a hyperlocal blogging network. To learn more about Denise and to read her blog Run DMT, please visit www.deniseisrundmt.com.
Check out Denise's 2014 Thin Mint Sprint Race Recap