This picture was taken at 7:15am on April 17, 2010 well before the 5k Race for the Cure that started at 9:00am this same day.
The amazing pink parade started at 7:30 and I was openly balling by 7:31. 50+ yr survivors. Just the number baffled my mind- amazing to think the kinds of treatments and dark outlook they would have had when diagnosed that long ago. I was so overwhelmed by it that I actually had to walk away from watching it to compose myself. At first I felt guilty for that- but then I started thinking about the family I've lost (not to breast cancer, but many other kinds) and the names of the people I was honoring on my shirt for those who had donated to my race today. It gave me strength and helped lift me back up.
I was a bit of a loner all day- I knew several people running the race as well- but never did get to meet up with any of them, and I did look for awhile. But after the race was over, and about an hour had gone by, I got cold- so I went home.
The race itself. *sigh* My body likes to pretend it is back in high school and still fit enough to jump start a race the way I did today. Alas, it is not. As I was waiting in the timed run corral- I was preparing mentally and getting my iPod ready. Well, the iPod was ready- but my headphones (which already had one side on the fritz) decided to completely malfunction RIGHT.BEFORE.THE.RACE. So- plan B, no music- will run to nothing. (**Note: the problem here is that I use my music to help keep my pace) In my brain, I kept telling myself to hold off and start slow and not get too hasty- but my legs did not listen...and off I went trying to keep up with the 10 minute milers. About 3/4 a mile in, the legs rebelled, lactic acid pooled (or so I can only imagine) and I got a cramp - yes, that soon. So there I was- walking. But I was walking FAST to try maintain my overall pace that I do while training. Mentally, it was hard to not beat myself up for starting off too fast and having to walk most of the way- but I did get bursts where I felt better- and I did run during those bursts. It wasn't a total loss of effort- I gave it my all. My fitness has a long way to go. I used this race as a measure of where I am. I know my training pace is getting much better- but my race pace has a long way to go. However, I'm happy to report that out of the "official" timed runners (41,000+ in the race, but 1172 had timing chips, myself included)- I had 100 people finish after me. I had 20 in my age range finish after me. My race mantra? "Don't be last" - so- I achieved that. While my recent training pace has been an average of 13:15-13:00 minutes/mile- today- my pace was 13:56. Eh.
I know that the race was about SO much more than a pace, and a finish- and it absolutely was- but the internal competition and determination to get healthy and fit again is always at the front of my mind. Negative self talk always appears and I have to fight against that all the time...I will get there- it is just a long, slow (but worth every second) journey.
This is the finish line. The sun had warmed us up to a chilly 50 (ish) but it felt great. And to all those who have battled and survived or lost- today was for you. For your memory, for your children/family, for all those who have to battle after you. TODAY we are one, fighting for a cause and taking cancer head on!
My next race is the 5K at the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. I have already purchased new headphones to help with my music situation and will leave the rest out on the course - and I'll start conservatively in order to run as much as possible. The Ragnar Relay in Utah is in June...more about that soon!