Sunday, November 7, 2010

Race report: Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Austin 2010

Well, I did it! I ran my very first 5K! And I survived!

I was so nervous and excited about the race last night that I had a little bit of trouble sleeping. I guess it's a good thing I was only running a 5K instead of a marathon or something, eh? Fortunately I did remember to set my clock back by one hour last night, but when my alarm went off at 6:00 it still seemed awfully early to be getting up on a weekend. I downed some green tea, a couple of eggs and some whole-grain toast and then my husband and I hit the road at 7:00, leaving our sleeping teenagers and dog behind.

We ended up parking near the finish line and walking past it just as the first of the timed 5K runners were coming in. It was in the 40s (I was wearing the outfit you see below, complete with hat and gloves) but they were all absolutely dripping with sweat. That's when I started to get a little nervous and to wonder if I should have layered a little better, but then I reminded myself that these guys were finishing in approximately a third of the time it was going to take me to finish and were working a lot harder!

For the untimed racers there was a rolling start over a two-hour period, which was nice, except that there were a LOT of walkers and they were all over the road instead of staying to the right. I started out jogging kind of slow but I had to move up into the weeds several times to get around people. I felt pretty good about my start, though -- I wasn't getting too winded or feeling too sore.

At around the one-mile mark there was a company handing out ice cream! That was pretty cool. I didn't get any, though. I'm lactose intolerant so that wouldn't have been a good thing, especially with two-thirds of the race still left to go!

Somewhere before we hit the two-mile mark I started feeling it. My lower back, right hip and right sacroiliac joint had been kind of tweaky for the past couple of days; I did some yoga yesterday to try and work the kinks out, and it helped some, but not a lot. By mile two my right hip was feeling pretty crunchy and I knew I was going to have to walk more than run for the rest of the race. There were a lot of hills on this course and I don't do incline work at all when I'm on the treadmill (because it hurts my hips! oh, the irony) so I wasn't really prepared for them.

The two-mile mark is also where I took my first water break. Not long after that a group of guys wearing pink shorts and sparkly women's tops passed me carrying a boombox that was blaring Van Halen's "Panama". That made me laugh and gave me a little bit of a second wind, but I still tried to save my hip for the homestretch.

At around 2.5 miles, I started getting a little emotional for some reason. There were so many people walking and running around me that had the names of loved ones they had lost to breast cancer on their shirts. I started thinking about my mother-in-law, who lost her battle with the disease just a few months after my husband and I were married, and about the void her death left in the family. And I thought about my sister-in-law and how afraid we all were when she was diagnosed, and how she kicked cancer's butt, proving herself once again to be one of the strongest people I know. There was a radio station truck at that point along the course playing some sort of inspirational pop music, like the kind you hear on The Biggest Loser when everyone is crying, and that didn't help! So I slowed down a bit and took a little moment there, but then I kept trudging uphill toward the finish. And right after that some guy with a tiny little Pomeranian on a leash passed me, calling back to his dog that there was only half a mile left to go. Again, it kind of cracked me up and I started walking a little faster.

I had known from when we were walking past the finish that there was a turn in the course just before the three-mile mark. When I reached it I picked up my pace so I could jog it in across the finish line. There were so many people standing alongside the course, cheering us in. I spotted my husband but he didn't see me and didn't have the camera ready, so I had to work my way over to the edge of the pack and wave to get his attention. He ended up chasing me down with the camera to get some shots of me finishing. I was so happy to be crossing that finish line!

After the race I grabbed a bottle of water and a banana from the post-race tents and then my husband and I made our way back to our car. My right hip was hurting bad enough that I was limping by that point, but luckily he had some ibuprofin in the truck so I took a few of those on our way to our favorite breakfast spot. A lot of other people from our end of town must have run this race, because there were race shirts galore at the restaurant even though it was pretty far from the actual site of the race. After a couple of cups of decaf, some chicken-fried bacon and a big skillet breakfast I was feeling very little pain. But no shower has ever felt as good as the shower I took when we got home!

So that was it -- my first 5K! I'm so glad I was able to run this race. I was hoping to finish in 45 minutes and that was pretty much my exact time, so I am super happy about that. It was so inspiring to be around so many people whose lives had been touched by breast cancer. There were a lot of survivors walking and running the race and my hat is off to them.

I ran this race for my mother-in-law Phyllis, my sister-in-law Sue, my friend Jenny and my mom's friend Virginia. But I also ran it for me. If you had told me a few years ago, when I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia and was in so much pain that I couldn't even walk to the mailbox without limping back, that someday I'd be running a 5K I would have laughed in your face. But today I did! I walked about two-thirds of it and ran about a third, and I finished in the time I was hoping for. Five whole kilometers! Me!

Thanks so much again to everyone who donated money and helped me blow right past my fundraising goal for this race, and to everyone who sent good wishes and words of encouragement. Special thanks to my husband for getting up early on his day off to serve as my chauffeur, photographer and pack mule, and to my parents for always encouraging me in everything I have ever wanted to do. There was a time when I never would have believed I could do something like this, and I couldn't have done it without you all!

Here I am jogging it in and laughing at my husband because he had to run to get ahead of me.

1 comment:

  1. How many people ran in the race in Austin in 2010, do you know?