Today was Race for the Cure 2009. My goal: finish in 45:00, but be happy with anything under 48:00.
There could not have been a more ominous weather forecast. They were calling for BIG rain today, mostly all day. It looked a few times like the sky might just open up this morning. God, however, smiled on us and the rains held off. Now, it was cool .... cool and humid, as opposed to last year's warm and muggy. It's an odd combination but not a bad one. I suppose this is what doing a 5K in London would be like.
I got to the parking garage and went down to the gathering area and vendor stations in the courtyard. One of the things which I should know by now is to not visit vendor tents until after I finish the race. Nope. I go right away and end up hauling it all with me (mistake #1). I didn't get as many things this year or visit quite as many tents. Honestly, do I need another tote bag? No. I did buy a checkbook cover at a t-shirt vendor .... and it was needed. The little plastic one they gave me when I opened this account nearly 5 years ago is just about being held together by a string.
The survivor's walk began, and honestly, that part alone is worth the price of admission. This year, I was especially impressed by the women who are 40+ year survivors. I think about the horrific chemo treatments that were around back then. I know the ones my great-aunt had 30-something years ago and how terrible they made her feel (in addition to the fatigue from her actual illness). To see these ladies smiling and waving to us all .... serious lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.
Soon afterwards, we lined up and began. During the first mile, in order to get around some of the slower traffic, I began to walk faster, zigzagging in and out. And in some of the wider spaces, I began to jog (mistake #2). Got to the one-mile point and............... 17:16. WHAT? I know, better than last year's 21:something, but still. That's my usual pace at the office on a walk, where I'm not jogging. But I also remembered that my one-mile pace is usually my worst (because of the slower people and the 1-mile-only crowd mixed together with the 5K'ers). Okay.
So the second mile comes along and it's pretty well uphill a good portion of the way. I pulled off the jacket I had on because by this point, I was definitely warm. Wrapped it around my waist and put back on my sling backpack. A full one, again, thanks to all the vendor stuff I picked up. Not smart, not smart. Anyhow, I walked along and kept an eye out for two of my coworkers who were running it. I didn't see them at all! When I got to the 2-mile mark, my time was around 33:15 (if I remember correctly). Okay, that's a good pace ..... for a stretch where I thought I was doing my worst. Um, okay.
Soon came the time for the turn to begin mile three. I really was getting tired, and I knew I would have to do some jogging if I hoped to have a prayer of seeing 45:00 when I crossed the line. I looked down at my watch when I hit the water station and realized 45:00 was slipping away from me. I looked down a short time later and saw 48:00 had elapsed from the start time. I felt like crying, but instead...... I started jogging. I now would have to be happy with anything short of 56:26, even if it was 56:25.
I saw one of my runner-coworkers: she did 33:20!!!! I was so proud of her, and then she told me our other runner did 30:00 (roughly). WHOA!!!!! Talk about extra proud of them -- the one who finished in 30 just quit smoking earlier this month. He's about 9 days out without a cigarette, and figured that doing this race was good incentive to keep on the healthy track. And she just took up running earlier this year. Amazing, both of them!!!
I got to the final turn and couldn't find the timer that's usually at the finish line. I looked at my watch and guesstimated that I'd have somewhere around 52:00.
Apparently, we got a later start than I thought we had. I saw 48:52 at the timer (a smaller one than last year's, which is how I missed it!)..... and started running. I was gonna hit 49:00 if I could. But I didn't have quite enough juice for that.
It's okay though............. Not only did I beat my time from last year by 7:23, I'm still roughly at the same pace I was this spring. And all this year, I haven't exclusively walked as my only exercise. I've done the bike and aerobics too. In a way, I think that helped me ..... it improved my cardio enough that I wasn't totally exhausted at the end. Last year, they had chair massages available and I took advantage -- and nearly fell asleep. This year, I didn't see the massage area, but it's okay. I went back to the food court, got a Fiber One yogurt and some water, and pulled the apple and protein bar I'd brought from home out of my backpack.
I also ran into someone who hadn't seen me in a long time and she didn't recognize me. I have to admit; that's one of the best feelings ever. I love watching eyes bug out and jaws drop. I also ran into my original WW leader in the stairwell -- she didn't recognize me from behind! :D
It is astounding to think that in 2 years, I've managed to shave 17:03 minutes off my time. That amount of time is right now buying me right at another MILE under ideal circumstances (in real life, let's say it will get me 7/8 of a mile). I am thinking the only way right now I'll break 45 is to start running...... more often, so that I can build up my endurance. I can do about 20-30 seconds of straight on run-jogging, and then I have to slow it back down. It might be that I have to do a running clinic where I learn how to run.
I already can't wait for next year. I have another walk in a month for Juvenile Diabetes, and there's a place to hope for 45 too!!!