Thursday, July 16, 2015

Joy to Life Race Recap

April 21, 2012

I tried to do some walking/running around the neighborhood since the Cow Patty Run. I had no GPS tracking device to keep up with my distance or pace. From the speedometer in my car, I figured one loop around the neighborhood was approximately a mile. I used my regular wrist watch to try to estimate my time and pace. I was improving with the amount of time that I could run without stopping, but I continued to start out too fast resulting in side stitches. I got side stitches every time we ran laps in elementary and middle school, which is the main reason why I hated running. It hurt, and I was no good at it. I knew I wouldn't meet my goal of running without stopping at this 5K, but I was determined to do my best.

Joy to Life 5K is a run/walk to benefit the Joy to Life Foundation, a non-profit organization providing free mammograms to medically underserved women. This race draws thousands of participants, including cancer patients, survivors, and family members and loved ones who are affected in some way by cancer. Streets were painted pink with pink balloons, pink confetti, and even pink fountains, all for one cause, breast cancer awareness.

I ran into two of my teacher friends, Shay and Brandi. They fundraised for Team Hello Gorgeous and were also running the race. They were much more active than me. They did CrossFit and had completed a Spartan Race. I knew I couldn't keep up with them, but they motivated me to try. "See you at the finish," Shay said. I didn't want to keep them waiting long.

L-R: Brandi, me, and Shay
We lined up at the start line. The founder of the Joy to Life Foundation and breast cancer survivor, Joy Blondheim spoke followed by the National Athem.
Immediately after the National Athem, the gun went off, confetti flew everywhere, and we were off.

It was very congested at the start, but when we turned the corner I found an opening and I took off way too fast as usual. "Slow down," my mom yelled. "You're going too fast, you're gonna wear yourself out!" She was right. I had just started running and I already needed a walk break. Shay and Brandi passed us on our walk break, and it wasn't long before they were out of sight.  I was concerned about trying to catch up to them. I knew I wouldn't beat them, but I was still determined to not keep them waiting long at the finish.

The course was hilly, but with every hill we climbed up, we surged down. At the top of one of the hills, I caught a glimpse of Brandi and Shay. I took off as fast as I could. My mom hollered, "You're crazy! You're gonna hurt yourself!" At the bottom of the hill I passed them. "I thought you haven't been running," Shay said to me. "I haven't really," I replied. My competitive nature started to kick in, I actually thought that I might beat them. I would run as fast as I could, then walk to catch my breath, looking over my shoulder the whole time. "They're gaining on us," I said to my mom as I took off running again. My Mom tried to talk sense into me, "They've done a lot more training than you. Go easy on yourself."

We rounded the corner. A choir in pink robes was singing in front of a big pink fountain. The finish line was near. I was so excited to still have the lead. Then, I looked back and saw Brandi right behind me and behind her was Shay. I had worn myself out the entire time trying to stay ahead of them. I had nothing left to finish strong and victorious. I finished not far behind them. I didn't keep them waiting long. We gave each other high fives, congratulated each other on a good race, and took finish line photos.

 This guy fundraised for the Joy to Life Foundation. He said he would dress like this for the race if he met his fundraising goal.
Mom and I said goodbye to Shay and Brandi. Then, we headed to the Riverwalk to meet Dad for the post race festivities. There was a lot going on at the riverfront: music, games, prizes, and great food.

It's fun to run with friends. They can motivate you to push yourself harder than you ever thought you were capable. Do you have friends who motivate you?

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