Of course, there was that time I did DNF two half marathons in a lot of pain ....
This race, however, was for a high school classmate (dare I say we are sort of friends, now, Jen??) who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009 at the age of 27. Twenty-seven. That's too young. And earlier this year, she found out the cancer has returned. My heart broke for her and I felt especially like an ass because I had literally just said to her than she had done a "solid ass-kicking of cancer". Foot-in-mouth: 1, Eliz -5000. So, feeling like an ass, I did what any other runner would do: I signed up for a 5K that benefited the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance. I asked Jen if I could raise money and run in her honor and she enthusiastically agreed.
I set a very modest goal of $300, with the promised of running yet again as Wonder Woman and dressing my dog up in superhero fashion since he could join me on the run for an extra $5. With my donation made when I registered, we ended up raising $405 for COCA, and the entire race raised over $100,000 by race day. I'm sure the actual race day raised a lot more money.
When I was in so much pain two weeks ago, I was really worried about being able to do this shorter distance. I knew I wasn't going to back out of it, but I still wanted to be able to run just a little bit. It's so hard to do less than what you know you are capable of. The competitor in me always thinks, "I could beat most of these people!"
Thankfully, for most of last week, the pain was back to the familiar dull throb. I also kept up the Aleve to make sure it didn't get any worse.
One of the things I really like about this race was that it was held in City Park, which means there is no reason to start it super early because you aren't re-routing any traffic, so I didn't even need to get to the Park until about 7:45 for the 8:30 race.
Jeff and I had plenty of time to wander over to packet pickup, get my bib and t-shirt, bring it back to the car, get in our Wonder Woman and Superman gear and head back to the race. Jeff stole the show, but the race photographer was nice enough to include me in pre-race photo with him:
Then, it was time to start. Before the gun went off, there were very many moving stories about the woman for whom this race is held, Jodi, who passed away from ovarian cancer at 33 years of age. That's only a year older than I am now. That really sucks, especially for the husband and daughter she left behind.
Apparently, this guy was also at the race, so that's kinda cool.
|Not a Broncos fan, but I would guess the mascot is a hot commodity at events.|
My personal race plan was to walk 3:30, run 1:30 and run at a 5K effort. Screw the hip, screw being conservative. I wanted to sweat. Thanks to the unusually humid (for Colorado) morning, sweat I did. Jeff tried to get going right out of the gate and everyone around us was giggling at how hard he was trying to run.
|Proof I crossed the start line. Jeff is in there somewhere.|
There were water stops every mile, which were very much needed, considering how humid it was. And yes, I realize it's hilarious for me to be talking about it being humid in Colorado, and I'm sure to a visitor it wasn't that bad, but hot damn. My upper lip was sweating and that's a big deal. It takes a lot for me to have upper lip sweat. In any case, water stops took a little longer than usual since I had to hold a water cup at an angle for Jeff to drink.
The route of the race was such that at one point, I was coming back towards the start and running or walking by teams of walkers who hadn't reached the turnaround yet. It was amazing to see all these people decked out in teal (the color of the ovarian cancer awareness ribbon) and showing their support for a very specific loved one. There were teal t-shirts, headbands, tutus, and socks, teal facepaint and handkerchiefs tied around dogs' necks. There were giant signs of love and support. Want goosebumps in the middle of a race? Just go to one that supports a cancer organization.
When Jeff and I were about a third of a mile from the finish, I decided to blow that popsicle stand and just run it in. I guess Jeff was a little tired, because instead of running in front of me and dragging me along, it was more like I was dragging him. I few people that I passed found it rather amusing. I chuckled too. I'm sure it looked pretty funny.
Crossed the finish line in 37: change. Not anywhere near my best, but it was the best I could do on that day, given my health. And I guess that is all anyone can really ask for.
Post race, we walked around and got tons of giveaways, and that was lots of fun. This was a really special race and the people that organize it really make an effort to make your time out there worthwhile. I mean, for post race food, volunteers were putting peanut butter and bananas on bagels for you! Amazing.
I sorta had hoped to come up with more inspiring words for this race, because the reason I ran it meant to much to me, but I can't. So, I apologize for that. But I am glad I did it, I'm glad I gave what I could within the context of being smart with my injury and I'm glad I got to show some support for Jen.
Jen, I hope I made you proud.