Race: Susan Komen Race for the Cure (Triangle) 5k
City: Raleigh, NC Date: 6/11/2011
Distance: 5k/3.1 mi
Weather: Hot… Muggy…
Course: rolling hills through parts of Raleigh
Summary: It is my runnaversary race, and has very special meaning to me.
It has been a while since I ran this race – this summer has been a busy one for me… that, and I wanted to set aside some reflection time because this race is pretty emotional for me on a few levels. Unfortunately, I might not be able to recall all the details, so it might be a pretty boring report…
This is an annual race for me. Like the Triangle Autism race, I haven’t missed it in years, even before I returned to my former self and became a “runner”. And, like the Autism race, I have very personal reasons for attending it each year. In the years past, it was always that my grandmother beat it – before it was common to beat it (in the 1970s). I was always pretty proud of that. She was a really tough lady who raised 5 kids (4 of them boys – one of which is my dad) but was sensitive enough to be moved to crying easily. She was also pretty sporty and active and couldn’t sit still until her body just gave out (emphysema and various other cancers took over later). I like to think I’m a lot like her in a lot of ways. In years past, I always had the bib “in honor of Betty Jane” strapped on to me in some way to just tell her that I was still thinking of her and remembering how she got through that episode.
This year, however, it was a lot different. Her only daughter, my aunt, was diagnosed this year. Actually, she was diagnosed just before I left for my Mardi Gras Rock & Roll and didn’t tell me until I got back because she didn’t want to ruin my trip. It scared me more to have her diagnosis than my grandmother – it was closer. True, it is on my Dad’s side, but it is still in my family and now only one generation away. I’m also a lot older now and understand it better now. At the same time, the medicine is better now, so my aunt had a lot more options. It has been rough for her, but she’s also a pretty tough lady who, like her mother, is easily moved to tears. I’m a lot like her, too.
So… this year, the race was much more important to me than celebrating the fact that I stuck to running for 2 years straight and didn’t give it up. It was about the pink.
I had no expectations about this race, honestly, in terms of time/pace. True, this is the race I had my first PR of 24:30 (which I matched again last year), but I seem to have hit a wall with speed at 25:00 in the 5k. At this point in my training, I had not really started doing speed intervals again so I wasn’t prepared. I wanted to get close, but I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to beat my PR.
After I got my mind right, I did my usual routine of getting up, dressed, and ready for the race. I knew it was going to be pretty hot so I cut back on the coffee and increased the water, Propel Zero and Zico Natural Coconut Water. In years past, I had parked at a friend’s house that was a good mile walk away, but lately, I’ve been having a hard time getting in touch with him, so I decided last year to park at the North Carolina Art Museum Greenway, which is about a 2 1/2 mile walk from the car to the event. Nice warm up! This year, I took 2 bottles of water and ate on the way (I wasn’t really hungry before the race, but I forced myself to eat something). As last year, I timed it perfectly – I got to the event with literally just enough time to have one more porta-potty visit and line up.
As I stood in the corral, I realized that I was in kind of a bad mood. There were a lot of personal reasons for it, but I just wasn’t in the good mood I had for the previous race, so I started my music, and I played it loud. I started my Garmin and just waited for the official start.
I believe that this event is one of – if not THE – largest running events in the Raleigh area – usually about 30k people overall. There are 3 5k races, all staggered start times, and I opt for the 7 am start time for competitive – the mid-sized crowd (the 9 am non-competitive has the most participants) mostly because it is my belief that the other participants are of like mind with me as far as events are concerned… plus, it is generally cooler then than at 9. Still, it is very, very crowded for the competitive and I usually try to get close to the front for the start. It never ceases to amaze me, though, the people that just flat-out do not follow these easy-to-understand guidelines about races and bring dogs and wagons and strollers or walk at the front of the line. Every year. So, knowing this – and being forced to accept it – I usually try to go to one side or the other so I can pass a little easier until the crowd thins out a little.
The start of the race was pretty uneventful – as was most of the race itself. I worked my way through the crowds from the start line and had a pretty good split time for the first 2 miles. The third mile, however, always does me in. It is Bartmettler and it is a hill. I am no slouch when it comes to hills – I mean, they’re kind of my thing. They are hard to avoid here – I really can’t think of many “flat” routes I’ve had to run here, other than on a treadmill. But… there are some I have yet to master, and this is one of them. Not because it is steep (I now know steep is Laurel Hill in Chapel Hill), but because it is long. And relentless. And now… my nemesis.
I finished with a pretty respectable 25:20, which is better than I thought I might do. I walked back to my car and went on about my business of the day, still thinking about my aunt and my grandmother and all the other families affected by cancer.
You all know already how I feel about cancer… not a fan, as I point out in this post as well as the Angels Among Us post from April. The other thing about this race is the fact that, for me, it is a milestone race – my Runnaversary. 2nd year this year, and it has been a rough couple of years, for sure, as I point out in my Runnaversary post from earlier today. It has now officially been 2 months since this race and I haven’t had one since and I’m itching for another one so I must start my search.
Until next time…