Well, I don’t know if I’d go as far as saying that my “game face” is back – but I sure did have fun this morning running my little heart out at the Running for Rachael/Brain Booster 5K at the US Air Force Academy north of Colorado Springs.
First off, this run was for my Dad – who suffered a brain tumor back in 2003 and has been disabled ever since. And it was also run in memory of Marissa A. – my best friend’s cousin who died of a brain tumor several years ago.
For those of you who have never taken part in a race that supports a charity or cause near and dear to your heart: DO IT. You’ll find yourself running for reasons you have possibly never thought of before.
I’ve taken part in a handful of races or events that have supported brain tumor research and awareness, and each one reminds me to keep a different perspective than just running or racing. I couldn’t tell you the number of thoughts that cross my mind during a race in which I’m trying to run for others (nor do I really want to divulge those personal thoughts to all of you!), but trust me, it’s WELL worth it.
So leading up to this 5K I wasn’t really thinking about “racing” it – I just wanted to go out and enjoy the run and the new (and supposedly difficult) course around the USAFA base. I even put in a pretty intense 9-miler up and down Waterton Canyon on Friday night (before the race) with Ben (who was on his amazing new Yeti mountain bike).
I’d never been down to Waterton Canyon before – and neither had Ben – but we both had a good time. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it’s basically a 6.5 mile run up the canyon on a wide gravel road. While I tend to like more technical, single-track trails, it was a nice change and I felt good and strong on both the way up and down the canyon.
After an amazing night out with Pete at Lola’s we both crashed pretty hard and woke up early on Saturday to head down to the race.
I was actually pretty sore from the night before (and the speed work I did on Thursday), but figured I’d give it what I had and see what happened.
The horn sounded and we were off. Within the first quarter mile we started this ridiculously steep ascent. I was loving it! I passed a couple of ladies and found myself in first until about the first mile marker, where I was passed by the eventual first place female.
I stayed in second the rest of the race and just held on, to be quite honest. I was loving the race course – SUPER hilly and sandy dirt track (that type of sand that you dig into and makes your legs feel like they weigh about ten pounds more each).
I didn’t really care about my time, seeing as how I knew I wasn’t going to PR on such a technical course. I was actually thinking about my Dad and Marissa, and wishing that they were there. To be quite honest I pictured them at the finish line waiting for me. It’s things like that that change the way you think about a race and running in general.
I crossed the line in 25:24, second place female and 15th overall. Not too shabby for a pretty difficult course (first place male finished around 19:30, I think).
I must give props to Pete for tagging along with me this morning and helping out. I was promoting Colorado Runner as well as running in the race, so he helped with setup, pictures and of course cheering me on (“she’s right behind you!!”).
All in all it was a pretty successful morning. Lots of love to my Dad and Marissa – thank you for sending me your strength and support from afar :).
Cheers – A.