Monday, May 28, 2012

Head for the cure 2012 race recap

The head for the cure is an organization that races money for a cause that is very close to my family.  They raise money for brain cancer research.  Justin's uncle passed away from a glioblastoma a few years ago. 

This is the 3rd time that head for the cure has held a race in Columbia.  We ran it last year and again this year.  I hope for this to be an annual thing for my family..and hopefully we can recruit more and more people to our "team."

This year it was Justin's aunt, his cousin, my mother-in-law, myself, 2 "cousins", a family friend (whose sister also passed away from brain cancer), and a couple of people from our running group.  Most of us had matching shirts from last year's race.  The course took us a little through downtown and a little through campus and back. 

Since I achieved my goal of a sub 25 5k last year during the Jingle Bell 5k, I made it my goal to run a sub 24 for 2012.  So, I met my goal at my very last race of 2011 (mid December).  I figured I would probably be looking at a similar time frame for 2012.  I have been in contact (via FB) with a doctor that my mother-in-law works with.  He was actually my husband's uncle's oncologist who has been a family friend for years.  Side note: he was also my grandmother's oncologist probably 15 years ago when she went through a battle with colon cancer.

Anyway, him and I have talked back and forth about running.  He gives me tips from time to time, but nothing really serious.  In 2011 my MIL had mentioned to him that he should pace me for a sub 25 5k since the year was winding down and I had not reached that goal yet.  So, since that was already on the table I figured I would shoot the idea to him to pace me at this race for a sub 24.  I knew it would be a good race for him to be involved with and I would love to get a big PR and sub 24 running for that cause.  The Monday before the race I sent him a FB message telling him what I wanted to run for that race and asked if he wanted to pace me.  Luckily, he said yes.

North Run Crew (some of us, anyway)
Race morning came and I was having some weird pain in my right hip.  It made me worry about how things would play out with trying to PR this race.  We met up with some people from my Tues/Thurs running group (North Run Crew/NRC) and some family/friends who were walking for the cause.  I stretched, gabbed, and before I knew it was time to line up to start the race.

We ended up lining up with just one line of runners in front of us.  This was a first for me.  I usually line up with 5-10 lines of runners in front of me.  I loved not having to weave in and out of people.  And it was strange because there were not many people
passing me.  At that point I thought to myself, "I belong right here."  It was a strange feeling, really.

At one point within the first half mile I glanced down at my garmin and saw 6:42 as my pace.  Holy cow!  I knew there was no way I could hang onto that.  But, we were about to make the climb up one of the many hills of this course so I knew my pace would slow down for that.  Just before heading up that hill a girl passed me.  I didn't think much of it and just started to climb.

After that hill we turned a corner and it was a nice down hill.  I opened up my stride and just glided down that.  We passed a restaurant on the corner that had a wonderful aroma of breakfast foods.  I remember passing it last year and seriously considered stopping.  Ha.

Just past the restaurant we were going up another hill and a car was coming down the road towards us.  No big deal except the car didn't even move all.  There was no one in the other lane so he/she had plenty of room.  Rude.  My pacer actually smacked the back of the car just to get their attention, but I doubt that person moved over for any other racers behind us.

Friends/family pre-race
There was on particularly steep climb that I felt my pace really slow down and I was struggling.  I will never forget what my pacer said to me at that moment, "come on girl!  Use your hamstrings and power up this hill."  I thought of him saying that as we went up every hill.  It really was a push that I needed.

We eventually left downtown and did a little bit through campus.  I love running on campus.  It's so pretty..and fairly flat.  :)

We had just under a mile to go and I knew it was time to start picking people off.  The first was a guy probably about my age.  My pacers says to me, "time to pass this guy.  He's burning out and you're just getting started."  I fed off of that positive energy because I definitely didn't feel like I was just get getting started.  I was ready to be done with this 3 mile spring.  I think I picked off 2 other guys before reaching the finish.  There was a girl ahead of me that my pacer really wanted me to catch up to and eventually pass.  I think we probably kicked at about the same time because I never got close.

The race ended with one last uphill and then a nice down hill finish.  I remember looking at my watch trying to do some mental math to see if I could actually get in under 24 minutes.  I think my pacer saw me trying to figure it out and says me to me, "if you want a sub 24 you better pick it up!"  At that point I stopped looking at my watch and just ran as fast as I could...I don't even know what my watch said when I last looked, but my (poor) mental math had me thinking there was no way I could come in under 24.

I turn the corner and begin the last downhill to the finish line.  I see the time on the clock and it says 23:1X.  I couldn't believe it.  Not only was I going to get the sub 24 that I had set out to do, but I was going to crush that goal!

My official time was 24:33.  I was the 2nd overall female and 1st in my age group.  When I told my pacer that I was the 2nd overall female he jokes, "I told you that you had to pass that girl!"  Haha.  I wish I could have.
Rhiannon and I celebrating placing in our divisions

I am extremely appreciative of my pacer.  I am certain I would not have been able to push myself as much as I did with him helping me.  He didn't have a lot to say to me during the race, but when he did - it was very meaningful and helpful.  He told me after the race that I definitely have a 22:XX 5k in me and that he will be happy to pace me whenever I'm ready to give it a shot.  I think he is probably right since just a week before this 5k, I had PR'ed a half marathon by 2 minutes.