This was my third year running the CCAD Run for Autism. This run benefits the Center for Child and Adolescent Development, a private nonprofit corporation that provides diagnostic and intervention services to children from birth to 18 years of age who reside in central and southern Alabama who are present with, or are at risk for, developmental delays, autistic spectrum disorders, behavioral, emotional, mental, or learning disorders or other disabilities.
This run was held in June, but it was moved to April in 2015 to coincide with Autism Awareness month. I wasn't able to run it in 2015 because it conflicted with the Gulf Coast Half Marathon. I was happy to have the opportunity to run it again. Several of my students have benefitted from this organization through autism evaluations and related services such as speech therapy. I dedicated this run to my students.
I met another local runner Billie while picking up my packet. She followed my posts on my Facebook page. It was nice to finally put a face with a name. I also met a sweet lady whose son was diagnosed with autism. She was wearing the same Sweaty Band for autism awareness. I spoke to Holly (HoHo Runs) before the race, but I was conversing with the lady that I just met about her son and my students. We would have time to chat after the race.
My last 5K was in January, so I didn't know what to expect for this race. My previous time on this course was 27:17 in Summer 2014. I wanted to beat that time for a course PR. I also felt pretty confident that I could place in my age group. They awarded three deep and it didn't look like there were many runners around my age. I really wanted another bobble head trophy. They are my favorite!
I started out entirely too fast. For the majority of the first mile I was positioned first overall female. I started to imagine how awesome it would be if I could hold on to that position. I've never finished first overall female before, maybe today was the day. That vision was short lived when I was passed by another female runner just before the first mile marker. I tried to pump my legs faster to hold pace with her, but after a few short turns she was out of sight.
Mile 1- 7:58
First overall female was out of the question, but I was going to try my best to hold onto second. I looked back on one of the turns and noticed there was another female gaining on me. She was closing the gap and just past the mile 2 marker we were neck and neck. There was a water stop here. I was praying she would stop, but she didn't. The final mile was going to be a race to the finish.
I remembered there was an incline around 2.5 miles with a long downhill stretch to the finish. We were still neck and neck. I knew I had to push up that hill. I couldn't afford to walk. As I approached the hill I noticed the other female runner hang her head and start to walk. This was my opportunity to close the gap. I pumped my arms and took the hill in stride. "It's all downhill from here," I said to myself. I picked up speed on the long downhill stretch to the finish. I widened the gap enough that I wasn't worried about being passed in the final seconds of the race. "Second overall female," I heard to race director announce as I crossed the finish. The third overall female was 35 seconds behind. I congratulated her on a great race when she crossed the finish.
Mile 3- 8:44
My chip time was 26:32, a course PR. I enjoyed talking to Holly while we waited on the results to be tabulated. They awarded the top three overall females and then three deep in the age groups. Turns out all three of us were in the 21-30 age group. I was so excited to take home another bobble head trophy.
Holly placed 2nd in her age group.
I will participate in this run every year that I am able. It's always well organized and it's for a wonderful cause.