Sunday, September 30, 2012

For the Cure

Last year, we had a bit of trouble when it came to the Susan G. Komen 5K Race for the Cure… (see the story of how we got lost and missed the race here)  This year, when Kelsey and I planned to run the 5K, we planned it out better (we hoped) and went equipped with directions to the CORRECT coliseum and the memory of where we were supposed to end up. 

We parked our car around 11:30am and headed to pick up our registration packets.  The race didn’t start until 5:00pm (we’d gotten there early because packet pick-up ended at 1:00), so we took advantage of our free time to meet up with our friend Carlouis and spend the afternoon at the mall.  He graciously agreed to pick us up so we didn’t have to move from our $5 parking spot, and we headed out for a sushi fix and some window shopping. 

By 4:00 we were back en route to the Coliseum and the start of the race.  We took a slight detour since we had time, and got a glimpse of Carlouis’s college campus too.  Unfortunately, that detour ended us stuck in traffic.  At 4:25, we were close enough to see the coliseum.  We still had to run back to our car to drop off belongings, and then stop at the packet table because Kelsey needed replacement safety pins for her bib number (hers mysteriously ran away from her during the day), and it was recommended that we be at the starting line by 4:40.  We got out of the car, bid Carlouis farewell, and walked the rest of the way. 

Once we reached the table, Kelsey got in line to get her number stapled to her shirt (they were out of safety pins).  I took her things and headed for the car.  I deposited them, then jogged back to Kelsey (nice warm-up).  I made it back to her by 4:42, and we joined the wave of people moving towards the starting line. 

I have never run a race with so many participants before .   Over 3600 people finished the race as runners being timed—but there were 14,000 total participants.  14,000!!

We packed into the street like sardines.  A band played and a man on stilts danced to the music, along with someone with a Taino mask.  The atmosphere was excited and energetic.  At 5:05pm, the thermometer on the wall of the bank read 91 degrees, and we were far enough back we hadn’t begun to move, though the race had started on time.  Slowly, we began to shuffle forward.  I think Kelsey and I both wondered for a moment whether we’d actually get to run at all during the 5K.    Thankfully, when we reached the starting line, the runners crossed the median to the open lane of the street, and we followed. 

Waiting to start the race 

For perhaps one kilometer, we had open street to run our race.  After that, of course, the walkers discovered the open space and filled in the gaps.  I spent a majority of the race running the median, weaving in between large “aesthetic” boulders and trying to avoid trees and their roots.  It’s actually kind of a miracle I didn’t break an ankle today. 

After kilometer 3, running became easier, as I outpaced the walkers and finally found myself surrounded by only runners.  As I came into the final stretch, I couldn’t sprint quite as hard as I would have liked because I had to weave around so many other runners, but as I crossed the finish and looked at the stopwatch on my wrist, it read 24:21!!! 

My goal for a 5K has been to break 24 minutes for the past few years.  The closest I previously came was 25:33, so I am VERY happy with my new PR of 24:21! 

Kelsey and I met up again as she finished the race, and we headed for home, celebrating our personal victories by not even getting lost on the way home (well…one turn-around; but we knew basically where we needed to get ourselves) and by discussing preparations for our upcoming joint birthday party.  Life is so good!  

Not the best picture...but not so bad for being
taken with sweaty fingers in a crowded place. 

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