Blue Sky, MD fielded two teams in the Asheville Chamber of Commerce 5k “Chamber Challenge” on Friday, June 7th. The event had 1,100 participants, its largest to date. The Blue Sky MD all-male team was comprised of Dr. LaMond, Yuri Eliashevsky, Matt Sand (Kinsay’s husband), and Bret Pacheo. The all-female team, including two of the employees’ children who were pushed in strollers, included Kinsay Sand, Kristen Hunter, Bri Adcock, Megan Lambert, and Rachel Barker. This team demonstrated “teamwork” in all facets as they surmounted many hills together.
In addition to the hilly course one of the two strollers used provided added challenges to the team since it was a four-wheeled stroller full of Pepperidge Farms goldfish, water bottles, stuffed animals, and other essentials. This stroller more closely resembled a supermarket cart than a three-wheeled jogging stroller. Teammates switched off pushing this beast of burden while verbally supporting one another and “racing.” Blue Sky MD had their team members cross the line in this order: Matt, Yuri, Bret, Kinsay, Dr. Dave, Kristen, Bri, Rachel and Megan. The all-male team finished with a combined time of 1:31:09, good enough for third place. This was a particularly special day for Bri, who completed her first ever competitive running event.
Read more from our team member, Yuri:
I like running on trails. You have the day. There is no Start/Finish. No tape marking the course. No police escort. You are not distracted and pay attention to each strike of your foot, each push-off. Every now and again I listen to books on tape and it’s like running with a partner. I recommend this more than listening to music.
Ever since last year’s Art Loeb run with Dr. LaMond I know, or at least feel, that I can run anywhere. Running is is my next frontier. I guess the Blue Sky, MD office knows this as well or maybe keeps track of my social calendar, since I got suckered into running Asheville’s Chamber of Commerce 5k as part of a four-person team. I agreed, thinking that as a group we were going to run this casually. However, this did not happen.
This summer, eight of us from Blue Sky, MD are riding out west, going from hut-to-hut from Durango, CO to Moab, UT. In an effort at team-building, four of us joined together and committed to running this 5k. A group within a group. Blue Sky, MD fielded another team, an all woman squad, with Kristen and Rachel pushing strollers. As a group we had agreed to keep things casual. You know how that goes. Many of our goals were just to run under a half an hour. But once we toed up to the line, that adrenaline kicked in, and it was on!
We were together as a group, but only for the first mile. I had the displeasure of listening to my teammates heckle me for not wearing my Blue Sky, MD (wrongly) issued princess-cut, size medium, women’s T-shirt. I tried to ignore them, but I couldn’t turn my ears off. My inexperience left me without a clue as to how fast to run on a road course. I’m used to running off-road and sometimes running a mile takes a half an hour. I decided to pace off of Matt (Kinsay’s husband) by letting him come around me. Matt and I ran the first mile in about 6:50 according to a cheerleader on the route supplying splits. Whoa. Calm it down everyone. Bring it down a notch buddy. We lost contact with the more muscular Dave and Bret in our group after the first mile. Matt and I stayed together for 80% of the run. When it came down to that last hill, Matt knew it was the end and I didn’t. I didn’t have a clue as to how far I had run and how far I had left. No excuse, but something that I have now learned is that a little prior knowledge pays big dividends. Know. The. Course. And knowing the course proved to play to my teammate’s advantage as Matt finished in 21:17 and I, less than a minute back, in 22:12. Dr. Dave and Bret finished two minutes back.
Instead of turning back to the finish line and spectating we actively searched for our female team members, some still out on the course pushing strollers. Kristen was the second stroller pusher across the line with Bri. Rachel and Megan were still out on the course pushing a stroller not meant to be pushed to the bottom of the last hill. As I took my turn pushing that beast, loaded to the gills with water bottles, milk, goldfish, and stuffed animals, I suddenly became really impressed that these ladies pushed this distant cousin of a shopping cart in and out of the Montford neighborhood, and mainly uphill at that. And with the last uphill, there was no hesitation from these girls. They were out of there! It looked as though they were saving a little gas in the engine for the downhill kick across the finish, and they looked good doing it! Smiling and triumphant.
Team Blue Sky, MD accomplished some cool things. The all-male team placed third unexpectedly. Dr. Dave and his goofy hat and shoe combo landed a picture on Asheville Citizen-Times.com – he’s hard to miss. Kristen finished second in the stroller category. And Bri completed her first-ever competitive event.
All in all I think that the last couple of months for me has really highlighted the sense of being part of a team. Aside from the medals and prizes, I am continually rewarded when I interact with my team members and everyone is laughing. We reminisce about our exuberant experience. And although when I’m out “racing” I question if I’ll do it again, I probably will. And hopefully will have some good friends next to me suffering as well. But smiling.