Sunday, October 3, 2010
How do you assure a personal record (PR) in a race? Easy:
1. Run the race for the first time
2. Take the first step at the start
3. Just finish the race, in any time.
Yesterday, I ran a 5K (3.1 miles) in the Livestrong Dolphin Challenge in Sandbridge, Virginia - a quaint seaside beach community a dozen miles from Virginia Beach but lightyears away in character. The race was literally steps from the front door of our beach condo, and when I saw it a couple of years ago purely by chance at the end of a family reunion, I decided I had to come back another year and run this race. I originally planned on running the 10K but just have not trained since the Seattle half marathon three months ago. So I signed up for the 5K instead, which was plenty. It was my first 5K - I am not counting the Komen Race for the Cure a couple of years ago, because I didn't run it with a timing chip. I ran and walked that one in pink bunny ears!
This race benefits the Livestrong organization's fight against cancer, and fight for cancer survivors, such as myself. I was proud to run in it and do one tiny part in the long battle against these horrific diseases. And for the first time in a race, I ran every single step of it, foregoing my role as a runalker for at least one race. My time was 31:45, good enough for 61st place out of 154 finishers. I finished third in my age / sex cohort, out of only seven - but at least I wasn't seventh! It was a lot of fun to run a race right at beach front, seeing the dunes and ocean just yards away! Here are some photos:
I added a yellow Livestrong band to my pair of Nicki's "Decade of Strength" wristband and my purple Team in Training wristband. I also got a cool "technical" shirt with a dolphin on it. On the back it says "I fight cancer! What do you do?"
I wrote the names of a number of people who have died from or survived cancer on a slip of paper and carried it with me. I tried to honor these people with my efforts.
In my goodie bag for the race was a Livestrong pin, so I added that to my hat with my five TNT finisher pins.
Here is a shot of the starting area from my balcony, and a view of the beach yards from the starting line:
Before the 5K and 10K, there was a one mile race for children. Kids as young as four ran and walked a mile. Most of them looked happy coming in, although there were some tears. Here are a few photos near the finish:
"Coach Bob" was our team coach in Alaska when I walked my first marathon for Team in Training, and he is a dedicated TNT volunteer as the head run coach for the Hampton Roads, Virginia team year after year, season after season. He won the Virginia TNT volunteer award a couple of years ago - much deserved. Yesterday, he was announcer for the races, and even led us in singing the "Star Spangled Banner."
Just before the start, I had this photo taken of me holding up my list of honoree names. On my race shirt is a photo of my sister Ann, currently locked in a tough battle with stage 4 (metastatic) breast cancer:
Here is the field, running north on Sand Fiddler Road, just after the start of the 5K and 10K:
At the beach, you just might see a sea monster:
or a mermaid:
This was a really fun event. The weather was absolutely beautiful, I was at the beach running in my first timed 5K, it was for a great cause, and my time was respectible. What's not to like about that? In my mind, nothing! Live Strong! Race for a Cure!