That was my time today in the Race for the Cure 5K ..... That averages to 21:24 per mile. That's a slightly slower pace than I really wanted, but somehow better than I expected. I was in the back third of the pack, but I did not care at all. There were approximately 6000 racers/walkers today, and everyone was very content to choose their own pace.
Our race course was all downhill or flat for the first mile, then uphill for most of the 2nd mile and a part of the 3rd. But it was a beautiful course, all the way around. A perfect blue sky. Not too hot, not too cold. Absolutely lovely! And I had stopped for breakfast on the way in, but there was no need. One of the sponsors is a regional grocery chain -- they had PLENTY of fruit, yogurt, etc. there. And Panera had brought bagels as well. There were lots of sponsor booths giving freebies -- I particularly liked Ford's. Their goodie bag had a golf towel, a scarf, and a bookmark that explained the symbols for their "Warriors in Pink" program (special car package). Also sitting there was a pretty new Ford Escape .... perfect, since I'm leaning to those when I go car shopping, or at least a smaller SUV. I liked what I saw so far.....
The moment I will remember most occurred in the first mile. There was a walker who started out near the front of the pack, and she had already made the turnaround and was working on mile 2. It was warming up by that point, and she took off her hat. There she was in a pink t-shirt with a pink hat, which meant she is a survivor. She took off the hat to reveal a perfectly hairless head. I never wanted to hug a stranger so much as I did at that point. For the rest of the walk, every time I thought about packing it in or thinking, "Why did I do this?" I looked for the Pink Ladies and Grey Gentlemen (meaning survivors). I knew if they could do this walk after all they'd experienced, I had no reason to quit. None at all.
I wanted so badly to find this lady and tell her how much she'd inspired me. I didn't find her after the race, but I found another survivor. I asked her how long she'd been one, and she replied, "Which time, and which cancer?" She'd been through colon cancer 20 years ago, battled breast cancer 5 years ago, and another round of colon cancer 4 years ago. She inspired me. I told her why I took part in the Race (and yes, I just about broke into tears). I also told her that I'm psyched for next year's Race too.
And it's true. Right now, my upper legs are pretty sore. Tomorrow morning, I might be crawling out of bed instead. But my heart is soaring!!!!