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?

 

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?

 

 

Run Like A Mother 5k–Recap

After the Parent’s Mile on Saturday, I was triumphant in my win, but sick in health. I went through the day fatigued and weak and I felt I had left all I had out there in that park.

I had already been thinking about not racing the 5k. After the night trail run the weekend before, my body was sore and I just knew that I wasn’t 5k PR ready. And how I felt after the mile race, it was a done deal. I decided to run easy and give my body a break.

But as most things go with running and racing, things change last minute.

I arrived to the race early, as I was an ambassador and wanted to see if the race director needed help with anything. Everything was running smoothly so I hung out and visited the vendors in the park. They had a DJ playing upbeat music and the weather was beautiful. Perfect day for running.

As it got closer to the start, my Moms Run This Town friends arrived and we took a quick group picture. Then it was time for me to speak to the runners. The race director had asked the three ambassadors if anyone wanted to speak about being a running mom; I was the only one who said they would, lol!!!

It was in the middle of my short speech, that I saw someone waving frantically at me. It was my high school running buddy, Nadia!! I had over a month ago asked her to pace me on this 5k when at the time, I had really wanted a PR. She agreed but then we hadn’t touched base about it afterward. In fact, the night before the race, I had meant to text her but in my exhaustion, completely forgot. When I woke up, I figured since I hadn’t heard from her, that maybe she had decided not to do the 5k.

I was kinda secretly hoping that was the case.

But there she was. I knew that I shouldn’t had doubted her at all as she’s been so loyal and supportive of me for so long. It was then that I decided I owed it to her to at least give the race a shot. I knew it would be an ugly race, but I couldn’t didn’t want to let Nadia down.

We settled ourselves at the front of the pack so as to avoid as much swerving and passing. She went over the game plan–7:20’s (oh my dear Lord)–and then scolded me for racing the mile the day before. I knew she wasn’t really scolding me but I knew that I had definitely altered my chances of PRing because of it.

Then we were off! It was of no surprise to me that I instantly felt like poo. I could feel it and it just made me angry that I was letting Nadia down. Halfway into the first mile, she started pulling out the cheerleader talk: C’mon!! You got this!!

But no, I did not have it.

The first mile beeped at 7:19. That Nadia is good.

Except that was it. I just couldn’t keep the pace. I unplugged my earphone so as to hear Nadia’s directions of surging, pumping my arms, picking up my feet but nothing could make me move faster. I started mixing in Spanish with my I can’ts telling her Me estoy muriendo. I wasn’t really dying, but I sure felt like it! Mile 2- 7:40.

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Trying to keep up

We had been behind one girl the entire time, and Nadia kept trying to encourage me to pass her. I just couldn’t. Seconds later, someone came up from behind and passed me!

I was slowing down.

Snuck up from behind me and took 3rd in my AG.

I begged Nadia to let me go. I knew she could’ve won the race had I not slowed her down, had she ran the race herself.

This isn’t my race. This is yours!! Let’s go!! she yelled.

I just couldn’t. I felt awful. I felt like I’d wasted her time, like I hadn’t taken her commitment to me seriously.

The last mile-8:14.

We turned a corner leading to the finish and she was still yelling words of encouragement: You’ve got a strong kick, let’s go!!

I tried. Good heaven’s I tried, but it just wasn’t enough.

Official Time–23:55 (4th AG, 10th OA)

Four seconds from an Age Group placing, two seconds from my official 5k PR at Nick’s Run (which had been right after a 10k!), and 6 seconds from my unofficial PR at my run club’s Shamrock Shuffle.

I wasn’t upset about how close the numbers were though, because it was such an ugly race. My splits were all over, I didn’t feel strong at all, and I truly didn’t deserve any awards or a PR that morning.

It wouldn’t have even been that close had it not been for my pacer BRF ❤

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I hung out after the race for awhile as I knew quite a few moms running that morning. But then I started to really not feel good. Even worse than the day before. I excused myself from my friends and hurried home.

I ended up spending my Mother’s Day bedridden sick, my husband and I think due to dehydration and exhaustion. I was so weak. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink anything. All I could do was lay in bed. For two full days, I felt immobile and this morning I finally feel like a normal human being. It was just awful.

Despite my lackluster performance and debilitating state afterward, the race itself was fantastic. I can not rave more about the company Run Walk Crawl Adventures. They’re a new racing company here in the Phoenix valley and so far the races they’ve put on have been fantastic. I know a lot of people shy away from running local because they’re too small and don’t have good swag–SO not the case with these races. Sure, it’s a smaller turnout than big races, but they don’t skimp out on the fun stuff like music and entertainment. Plus, the swag for the two races I’ve done with them have been amazing. For this 5k in particular we received a tote bag, a women’s fit tech shirt, a medal, and a rose (it was Mother’s Day after all 😀 ).

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–Do you like running local? 

–When was the last time you ran a less than stellar race?

I was an ambassador for this race and received a free registration, but like all things reviewed/recapped on my blog, all opinions are legit and honest.