Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Right out of the gate, I'm going to set aside the emotional implications of this event and just talk about logistics, at least at first. Registration for the race was from 8-9am with the race starting immediately after. I planned to be out the door at 8am in order for us to arrive by 8:30am, giving us plenty of time to do all that we'd need to do, pre-gun-shot-start. Yeah, that didn't happen. We did make it out the door by 8am but instead, thanks to construction, had a wee bit of a trouble actually locating the lake we were to run around. To make a long (and high anxiety) story short, by the time we found parking, we had to haul buns to the band shell to get registered. Just as we were pinning on our numbers and zip-tying the chips to our shoes (more on that later), the wonderful man with the megaphone was telling us we should be at the starting line. I had not stretched, I had not mentally amped myself up, I had not positioned my iPod and… I had to pee. Immediately, albeit hesitantly, I forgot all that as I hurried myself (and my camo cohorts) to the back of the pack. I'll be damned if I was going to start my very first 5K late. Rules rebel I am not.

In hindsight, and after learning more about these impressive little chips, I realized it didn't really matter when we started. The way they work is, the minute you step on the blue mat at the start, it initiates your electronic chip and starts timing your run. Then when you cross the blue mat at the finish line, it stops it and spits out a recording of your time, your pace, etc. Would have been nice to know, right? The whole time in my head I'm thinking, "I have to start when everyone else starts or I'll finish dead last and everyone will think I'm extremely slow and well, I just have too much pride to endure that AND the run." So on we went to run our race and just as we arrived at the starting line, we were off. I don't really even remember how they started the race, so there probably wasn't an actual gun shot, but you weren't there so I'll just say there was.

Shawn, Maci and I started off together (and a little quicker then I was used to). Instantly, I encouraged Shawn to sashay ahead with the stroller because I could tell this snail's pace was making him antsy. He concurred and quickly bobbed and weaved his way ahead and forged on without me. I was okay with it though because I was actually looking forward to running alone with nothing but my music and the motivational voices in my head. It's how I had trained and it's what I knew. I was good. Then came the hills. I have a little bone to pick with the lovely folks who told me that Lake Harriet is completely flat. It's not. Como Lake is completely flat. Lake Harriet has hills. They probably don't amount to much in terms of elevation, and there were probably a total of two at the very start, but they sure surprised the shit out of me. Like any good cynic, I sputtered a few curse words of shock and awe as I huffed and puffed my way to the top. Ironically, going down was much harder. If there's anything I've learned from training for a 5K it's that pacing yourself is everything and nothing is harder to do then pace yourself down a hill. But I did it. Cause I'm unflappable like that. 

So I'm making my way around this lake and am doing fairly well actually. My breathing is good, my pace is good, my legs feel good, no aches or pains to speak of, mile marker signs are passing. As I'm coming around what looks to be the last turn, I see the 2.5 mile marker sign and in my head, I'm saying, "Hip, hip, hooray! I'm almost there!" Just a little further on, I start to see the band shell come into view. "Sweet, the home stretch!" I kick it up a notch and start to do my version of sprinting at this point. I turn my iPod to Spirit in the Sky and crank it as loud as I can take it. Suddenly, the road turns right. But the band shell is to the left. "Wait. What the… what? Jesus, Joseph and Mary, we're not done?!" Yeah, turns out there's this little oval-shaped outlet you have to follow out and around and then you come back to the damn band shell. De-nied. The race Gods were all like, "Just kidding, HAHA!" To which I was all like, "Bitches." After that nice little surprising kink in the road, I had to take it down a couple of notches back to first gear in order to finish. I was not about to stop or walk so I painfully ran on and when I finally saw the real finish line, I literally gave it everything I had left while I listened to some (Dad-approved) Croce:

"You don't tug on Superman's cape… You don't spit into the wind… You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger… And you don't mess around with Jim" 

It was a hell of way to end a hell of a good race. Although tears managed to prick my eyes several times throughout the run, I did finish the race calm, happy, proud, satisfied and dry-eyed. I did it. I ran a 5K! I had not stopped for 3.2 miles and I was now able to cross a huge accomplishment off my bucket list. Not to mention, I got to do it in memory of one Mark V. Miller, aka Grandpa Miller, aka Dad. I know he was there. I know he was watching. I know he was smiling and beaming with pride. He was present in everything I did and experienced that day, from the sun spirit in the sky to the homemade shirts on our backs. Each training run, as well as the race, was like an extra special little visit I got to share with him. Surprisingly, I miss the anticipation and build up to it all. Not-so-surprisingly, I miss Dad. All the more reason to run on… and dawn the camo!

I, run, weird.

That's one sexy sweaty Mama.

"Mama you stink. Here, smell this."

Caught Grandpa watching.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

The infamous band shell.

Aint that the truth.

The results! I believe there were 121 people that ran the race total so not too shabby a showing for my first time I'd say. The columns from left to right are: place, participant's number, name, age group, sex, total time and average mile time. Two things: my photography skills need some work so you'll need to know I averaged around a 10-minute mile and yes, Shawn was in the 20-somethings and I was in the 30-somethings. The bastard reminds me daily. December cannot come soon enough.

Shawn pushed Maci in the stroller.

I pushed… nothing but air.

On a serious note, thank you again to everyone who donated to the cause! Team Camo raised $1,466 to help SAVE's mission. I'm SO done crying for the night so I'll just say that this was WAY beyond my initial $500 goal and the simple gestures, comments and donations touched my very soul as this whole process was one of the single most humbling experiences I've ever had. Coincidentally, donations can be received until Friday, August 31st so feel free to visit the link at the top right of this page if you didn't get a chance to earlier. More importantly, continue the conversation about mental health, depression and suicide. It's time to erase the stigma and help find a solution!

To that end, Team DeBoer is pretty certain this will become a yearly tradition so feel free to join us next time around. It's quite an eventful morning with the race, the walk, free food / balloons / face painting / chair massages, there's inflatables for the kids and games for the adults and then there's the raffle. We lovingly donated 10 bucks each to try and win some Twins tickets. We lost. Oh well, the Twins suck this year. You know who doesn't suck? Us… cause we can run like the wind blows!


  1. Amazing guys!!! Mark is so proud of you!!! I'm pretty sure I can't run a 5K...but I'm a good cheerleader, much to the disappointment of my kids!! I'm always there to cheer you on,hope to see you soon and meet Miss Maci!!! Love to you all! Sue

    1. Weren't you, like, a professional cheerleader in high school? ;) Either way, when it comes to running, I will take all the cheering I can get!

  2. you all done good! Croce at the finish? Perfect! And by the time Maci Mae is running her first 5K this will be such a set tradition I wouldn't be surprised if there was more camo than any other tee in the race!

    love to the deboer team...good memory making of your Dad.

    1. "…you don't mess around with Jim."

      And it makes me happy and sad to think of Maci at an age to run. She's already entirely too old in my opinion. :)



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