DBacks Race Against Cancer 5k: A Meaningful PR

I signed up for the Diamondbacks Race Against Cancer 5k sort of on a whim. A high school classmate posted on Facebook how her and her husband participated in it last year as part of a fundraiser/awareness for their daughter battling a rare type of cancer (DIPG). I remember when she shared that original post, the one where her daughter was present.

She wasn’t at this years.

For the 9 months or so that Gianna fought cancer, she did so with strength that I could never imagine. At 5 years-old, no little girl or boy should have to go through what she did. Her mom chronicled Gianna’s fight through her Facebook page, and there were times that I just couldn’t bear to see the posts. I would get so angry at the unfairness, so sad that there is so little treatment and research for what she was fighting.

Gianna the Warrior Princess

About two weeks ago or so, Gianna’s mom said they’d be back at the 5k event as part of the opening ceremony for the family fun walk portion of the race. She said they were organizing a team and that anyone who wanted to participate could join them. So I signed up knowing that the race would be done in Gianna’s memory.

The race is pretty popular and when I arrived, I didn’t think I’d be able to find Gianna’s mom. But as I was walking to the porta-potties, I spotted her. I gave her a big hug but I couldn’t say much.

I saw her again at the race start and when they announced why the parents were there, the tears began to flow.

Gianna’s mama in white

I gathered myself together because moments later, the race started and we were off.

There were no corrals but I positioned myself in the front. There were a lot of little kids who wanted to start right at the front but I didn’t mind because they were so excited. It was cool to see a lot of adults make room for them instead of grumbling that they were in the way (as I’ve seen in other races).

I ran unplugged, as I wanted to focus solely on Gianna’s bright spirit. I was running in her memory and wanted to be free of distraction.

My goal was also to PR. I didn’t know if I had it in me, but I was willing to try. At my first track workout last Wednesday with my coach, I did two 2Ks at 7:30ish pace, and it hadn’t felt too bad. So for the 5k, I wanted to shoot for a 7:15 first mile and then negative split.

When the first mile beeped 7:03 I thought I’d blown it. Way too fast and there was no way I could negative split with that as my starting point. But I didn’t let myself get too down or count myself out. I would simply continue to try and keep it under 7:15.

Mile two–7:18.

I was sooooo bummed. I really wanted to keep it under 7:15 and I felt like I was running fast (I mean, I was, but I thought it felt faster than 7:18, lol). I also thought that my secret long-shot mini goal of seeing a 6 was gone. If I hadn’t done it in the too fast first mile, there was no way I’d be able to have a six-minute-something mile 3

Well, wouldn’t you know it, my third mile was 6:57!!!! You have no idea how I freaked out when I saw that. And then I saw that I was very close to getting under 22 minutes so I ran the fastest I think I ever have in a race…

Sub 6 minute mile for 30 seconds!! Whoa!!

And finally entered the 21 minute 5k club!!!!

6th Female Overall, 2nd Age Group–I’ll be presented my award at an upcoming baseball game!

When you finished, runners/walkers were able to take a victory lap inside the Diamondbacks stadium. I don’t go to baseball games often (as you can tell by my Instagram, I’m more of a basketball girl 😉 ) but it was fun to see it in a way I’ve never seen it.

In the dugout–Put me in coach!

When I was done, I called my husband and told him how bittersweet this PR was. I was happy, but I was sad.

I was there because a little girl wasn’t.

It’s easy sometimes to avoid sad things, avoid them so that you’re not affected. I chose to be there. I wanted to be. I never met Gianna, but she touched so many lives, and my own, in her short time on earth. I’m a different person, a different mother because of her. Because every time I think of Gianna, I think of my own little girl–and I hug her a little tighter, a little longer…

–Do you know someone affected by cancer? I feel like unfortunately so many of us do…

–Do you have a meaningful PR?

 

Sweet ’16

What a year. 

I remember writing a recap for 2014 thinking there’s absolutely no way it could get any better. And while ’14 was unforgettable in its own special way, two thousand sixteen was pretty darn amazing.

Last year, 2015, was pretty difficult for me in terms of running. I don’t even think I wrote a recap for it, lol! I had my first DNF in Phoenix and trained hard for Chicago but had an abysmal race. I ended the year injured and frustrated.

But I was determined to make 2016 a good year and even though I started it still recovering from my stress fractures (and missing what would’ve been my first race of the year), I was ready to go at the end of January.

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Me in the middle holding a sign at RnR AZ–Had a blast cheering and spectating 🙂

He let me wear his medal <3

He let me wear his medal ❤

After cheering on my friends and husband at RnR Arizona, I slowly got back into the game and preparing myself for Phoenix Half–(I had dropped from the full).

My first race was FroYo 10k in February and I shocked the heck out of myself with a new PR–the first of many in the year ❤

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49:30

A week later, I ran the Nick’s Run Double Challenge–a 10k followed by a 5k. I ran the 10k with my friend Nadia and then raced the 5k finishing with an at the time, new PR!!

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23:55

And a week after that, I ran Phoenix Half Marathon and finished with a new PR there too!!! I swear, if February had had another weekend, I would’ve signed up for a marathon LOL #forreals

Ringing the PR bell :D

1:48:04

I took a much needed break and picked up swimming and biking again because it was this year in March that I completed my first ever triathlon!!! I seriously can’t believe that I did one–did I mention I was THE last one out of the pool?? Lol!!

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After Tri 4 The Cure, I rested for a long while taking it easy in April and then concentrating on trail running as we prepared for the Grand Canyon Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim which was in late May.

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June marked the beginning of pre-season marathon training and I did not race at all starting here until New York City in November. I ran ALL the miles though…

101 miles, 176, miles, 152 miles

101 miles, 176, miles, 152 miles

198 miles, 184 miles

198 miles, 184 miles

And then you guys know what happened in November 😀

3:58:40

3:58:40 ❤

I ran my hometown’s last Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5k later that month and finished first female overall and with a new 5k PR!

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22:30

Finally, December was absolutely amazing as I was able to finish off the year with a new, incredible half marathon PR.

1:42:45

1:42:45

 

Just an absolutely insane year of running for me. It excites me to see what hard work brings and it really motivates me going in to the new year. I have a few goal ideas that I’ll share later, but right now I’m spending the last few days of twenty sixteen relishing the year’s accomplishments 🙂

–How was your running year? 

–After you reach a goal, do you automatically go to work on the next goal or relish in your glory for a while like I do? LOL

–This is likely my last post for 2016 and I just want to thank you all again for your support!! I hope you join me in my 2017 adventures ❤ HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

 

 

Brand Spankin’ New 5k PR!! And First Female Overall!!

Wow. Just, wow. I ran a 5k on Thanksgiving that I had no idea I had in me. I won the whole damn thing (for the girls, anyway) and have never ran so fast in my life.

Ahhhhh!!!!!

Ahhhhh!!!!!

So the past 3-4 years, since I started “running” running, my husband and I have done our local town’s Turkey Trot 5k. Even though I know the course/streets very well since I grew up on them and could run them in my sleep, this race always kills me. Always.

The first mile is downhill and half of the 2nd and half of the 3rd are on an long, gradual incline that just does me in every. single. time.

This graph makes it look worse but this is what it feels like, LOL

This graph makes it look worse but this is what it feels like, LOL

To put in perspective–the first time I ran this race was back in 2013 and I finished in 25:44, a PR at the time. As time passed, I PR’d on other 5k courses (down to 23:40) but in 2014 and 2015 I couldn’t beat my 2013 time on that dang Turkey Trot course!!

Anyway, going into the race my goal was to beat my course PR. But, my brother really wanted me to beat his course PR–24:30. I was okay with simply getting sub 25 but my brother was pretty insistent on me beating his time. So, I decided to shoot for that thinking it would be a pretty sweet win if I made it.

I had a really good run under my belt going in. The Tuesday before I had done a 5 mile run with my husband. But like, really with my husband. At his pace. Whenever we run together, he slows down to accommodate me, but on Tuesday, I was feeling it (and really, I wanted to actually run with him, lol) and he didn’t have to slow down all that much.

5 miles–8:20, 8;04, 7:45, 7:35, 7:23

So having done that run and feeling pretty good, I was confident I could get the time my brother wanted me to get.

5k First mile–7:14

Yeah…..like I said, it’s downhill and I worried that I’d blown it going so fast. Especially knowing I had the dreaded uphill coming my way.

5k Second mile–7:32

Holy crap, I couldn’t believe it. I remember climbing up (it really is such a subtle incline but it feels mountainous) and telling myself to push, push, push!!! I saw a girl up ahead start walking and that fueled me. I sought to catch and pass her and that helped me speed up on that uphill. When I did pass her, I told her to join me, but she was done.

As I approached the third mile, I saw that that girl I’d passed was the only girl in front of me!!! I was the first female at that point!

5k Third mile–7:25

No way was I gonna lose this chance. We got into the park to do the final loop and I just gunned it. I told myself to run as fast as I could, fast where it hurt. I told myself to make it hurt.

5k point one–5:50 pace

And I was the first female overall!!!! I have no idea where the young cross country girls were (the overall male was a 16 year-old cross country runner) but I’m glad as hell they sat this one out 😀

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I won this cool plate and my picture was taken for our local paper and I felt like such a badass, haha!!!

I may never win another race, but I’m so proud and happy I won my town’s 5k (and their last one, unfortunately).

–Have you ever won a race?

–Does your town have a popular race?

–How was your Thanksgiving, Americans?