Monday, April 4, 2011

Running for a Reason

Last weekend I had the pleasure of running for something greater than just the high.  I ran to help benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure.  While walking through a marathon expo in December, I was approached to sign up to run the Dallas Rock n' Roll Half Marathon for the Komen Foundation.  Since I had planned to run that race anyway, I decided I might as well do it for a reason!  So many people I love have been touched by cancer.  Many times on my runs I'll think about them, when I start to fade, I'll get reinvigorated thinking about my friends or family members who have battled chemo, radiation, and surgeries.

I am blessed to have been supported by so many wonderful people for this run.  In order to be a Komen participant in this race, I needed to raise $250.  Something I had committed to in December, but forgotten about until March! I sent an e-mail and put up a Facebook Status about my fundraising efforts at 10 p.m. one night.  By the time I woke up the next morning, I'd exceeded my goal.  I was simply blown away by my friends and family.  Through the next day and the next, donations kept funneling in.  To date my amazing friends and family members have donated $500 to the Komen Foundation in support of my run.

I'll admit that I didn't train phenomenally well for this race.  The-college-student-mom-of-three-kids-whose-house-is-under-a-mass-renovation-thing sort of challenged me.  So my last long run was in December.  My plan for this run was to just get in there and get 'er done.  Have some fun.  Walk if I need to.  Enjoy the fun!  However, the night before the race, I went through my donation webpage and read the messages from my supporters.  I started to feel really empowered.  Around bedtime, this ambition came over me to really run the race and set a PR.  Before bed, I grabbed a sharpie and committed to the time I wanted to run the race in, putting it on the same wrist I wear my Garmin.
On race day, I woke up bright and early, grabbed a banana (cuz that's how us Gluten Free folks Carb Up), greased up my feet, got dressed, and...battled the will not to get back into bed with her again...

"I need a new hobby" was the first thought out of my mouth.  Five minutes later my BFF (who I was doing this with) texts me the same thing, "Aren't we supposed to be getting a new hobby?  This waking up at 5 a.m. thing sucks every time."  Every time we have to get up for a race, the same thing happens.  THIS SUCKS is what I think!  The whole motivated awesome feeling from the night before is...gone.  Especially with a baby.  Who was going through a growth spurt.  And was up.  Every two hours.  The night before a half marathon.

Never the less, I sucked it up and put my big girl sneakers on...and also attached the Running in Honor tag to my back.  It said "Denaige".  Denaige is a friend of mine from PTA who is a breast cancer survivor.  And someone who is, quite amazing!

And loaded the WHOLE family up for the trip downtown!

Waiting for us at the start line, cheering us on, getting us ready to run...

 That's right, none other than the finest cheerleaders in the nation, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders!  What I wanted to do these chicks look so gorgeous at 6 a.m.?

I met up with my BFF and we hung out until it was time to get into our start corrals.  And then the race was on!  The deal I made with myself, after doing much math, was that if I was at mile 10 and my Garmin said 2 hours or less, then I would definitely PR.  That was the threshold point.  So I was very conscious of that the whole run.  When I started feeling tired or weak, I'd pat the In Honor tag on my back.  "Sure Denaige got tired and weak during cancer and chemo.  This is just a race.  Not chemo.  Stop whining, Amanda."

Imagine my delight when at mile 8ish I was greeted by my very own Cheerleaders!  Denaige and her family was there to cheer me on!  I gave her a quick hug, thanked her, and showed her my tag.  At that point I really felt great!  Time flew to mile ten...literally...because I looked down and saw 1:55.  Which meant that I was locked and loaded, I had to keep going and PR.  Not going to lie.  Mile 10 to 13 are always the hardest for me in a half.  It's the part where your mind says "game on, let's sprint, it's only 5K" but your body replies with a big old "bite me, I've been running for 2 hours already."

None the less, this 10-13 went way better than White Rock.  At mile 12 I felt my knee go.  But I made the choice to ignore it and keep going.  Mile 13, almost there.  Mile 13.05 "MOMMMMMMY!!!  GO MOMMY!"  Is what I heard just before I crossed the finish line.  Check of the watch, and yup.  I did it.  I set my PR.
Isla in the onesie I bought when I ran this race with her in my belly, last year!

I couldn't have done it without all of the wonderful support of my friends and family.  I'm now looking forward to my next half next month with the goal of shaving another 3 minutes off.  Easier said than done....