Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Saturday was September 28, which was my Mom's birthday, and also our city's annual Race for the Cure, for breast cancer. Mom agreed to go with, because she's up early anyway and kind of gets a kick out of watching me cross the finish line.
Now, I live in a basically medium-sized city, a little bigger than a small town because we're spread out over a large distance, but it's not like Chicago or even Indianapolis. But something about my little burg attracts people to this Race, because the newspaper reported over 10,000 people were there and the Komen Foundation says our city's race is one of the largest in the country. Wow!
Having only done a couple of races that were small but well-attended, I thought I'd try my feet on a bigger one. You had to pay extra to be timed, and timed runners started at the front so I couldn't see how many people were behind me, but there were a LOT!
It was a beautiful day, with great weather and easy parking (which is a rare event here.) I had picked up all my stuff: t-shirt, race bib, map, pink shoelaces, etc.) the day before so I was ready. ( I love packet pick-up day -- it's so exciting! And when I'm feeling "meh" about the race, it always energizes me!) While I went through the expo area, I noticed a table with yellow flags you could pin to the back of your shirt saying "In support of" on one side and "In memory of" on the other.
There's something about the duality of that message that struck me as sad.
I grabbed a sharpie and a flag, and flipped it over to the "In memory of" side. I drew a heart and the words "The Bonnies" under it, with the names of my two aunt Bonnies (one on my mom's side and one on my dad's side) under it. The Bonnies both died of beast cancer or related cancer complications. My dad's Bonnie was only 50. My mom's Bonnie was in her 70s, but struggled with her cancer for ten years.
I won't say that experience was emotional. It was HARD. It was hard to look around the crowd and see so many In Memory Of flags. So many Bonnies. So many sisters and aunts and mothers and grandmothers that were taken too soon. I got choked up. The tears started falling. Mom didn't quite understand, I don't think, but she gave me a hug. When they did the parade of survivors, I saw several people I knew, and I saw my Mom's eyes misting up. I gave her a hug back and she leaned over and said, "That's one parade I'm glad I never had to walk in."
We made our way over to the starting line, and I surveyed the crowd for my "rivals" (the women in my age group who routinely place high on races.) I'm not really jealous or anything. I mean, sure I want to place, but I also JUST STARTED running, so I have a lot to learn before I start thinking about winners trophies :)
So the gun (which was actually a whistle, for some reason) went off, and we set out. I actually started off a little faster that I was used to, and had to throttle back a couple of times because I could feel my heart getting too fast, but when I crossed mile One with a time of 9 minutes and 47 seconds, I knew I was going to beat my previous time. That made me happy.
I came through the giant pink blow-up archway at 29:33 -- about 2.75 minutes faster than my August 5k. The timing company registered my pace as 9:31 so now I guess I'll try to work to get a 9-minute mile in my weekly runs. Onward and Upward!
Once again, I placed 4th in my age division, but there's about a two-minute gap between my time and the 3rd place time, so it's going to take some training (and harder training) before I start to actually break into potential place times. Still, I have a new personal best and Mom was proud. :)
We spent the rest of the day hanging out and doing regular birthday stuff and I didn't really eat like a pig either, although I probably had more wine than my calorie count would have preferred. I've been SOOO bad lately -- not counting my calories or doing any extra working out at all. I think I've gained a pound too. It's my own fault. I've just been preoccupied with work nonsense, mystery shopping busy work, and preparing mentally for the half-marathon this weekend. But that's another blog entry for another day. Ta-Ta-For-Now!