This was the first year for the PurpleStride 5k for Pancreatic Cancer. Several months ago, a friend of mine got a team together: SFWR Light Savers. Yes, bonus points for the best name ever, and a bunch of my friends and gals from our running group joined. Over the course of a few months (and a really awesome final 48 hour push) we raised over $1200 for pancreatic cancer research.
Since it was the first year for this event, I expected it to be small, and was planning to give them a million passes as some fundraising events have some flaws or things that might not be thought of because typically non-runners are putting them on. Not this group. I arrived at the event super early so I could get in a warm up, and there were tents set up, music playing, tons and tons of volunteers. The same-day packet pick up was super quick, and a sweet volunteer even offered to put my "I wage hope for My Mom" bib on my back for me. So sweet.
I did my warm up miles (hot and toasty) and then met back up with friends and team members.
Yay Light Savers!
There was an awesome opening ceremonies thirty minutes before the event, honoring survivors, and talking about how important the fundraising is to help find early detection and better treatment options for pan can. There were over 550 people there for the event (!!!!) and over $56,000 raised ($$$$$$). Giant thanks to anyone who donated to the cause.
At 9am, it was time for the race. They had an awesome balloon archway, and no one would line up at the front, so I made my friend Jordanne line up there with me.
So of course I lead the race for the first 5-10 seconds. Hah.
My body had felt pretty terrible for the past couple of weeks, so I wasn't sure what I was capable of for a hard-isa 5k. Toni had ran a 10k at altitude (Bolder Boulder) last weekend, so I asked her if she thought I could hold her 10k altitude pace for a 5k. So that's how I came up with a goal time. Totally scientific. 8:34 pace, ok!
The first mile felt pretty strong, I started around 8:40ish and was dropping my pace down to the mid to lower 8:30s and it didn't feel terrible. Yet I was shocked that everyone ahead of me also seemed to be speeding up and putting some distance on me. I was sitting in 8th female for the first mile or so, and finally moved up to 6th after a bit.
Mile 1 8:36
I was feeling pretty good during the second mile as well, which was shocking because it was pushing 80 degrees and we all know how Jerbear feels about running/racing in the heat. Barf. I did REALLY want some water though. I failed to drink water after my warm up and was dealing with stomach issues before the race, so I was pretty dehydrated to start. At the turn around, we had to run up a small set of stairs and then head back down the opposite side. Nothing terrible but my legs felt really heavy after and it took me awhile to get back into a groove. I picked up the pace towards the end of the mile, but my mile time really looks like I took it easy. Ha.
Mile 2 8:50
The mile markers were all wonky the second half of the race, so I wasn't sure if the race would end up being super short or what. I think the two mile sign was around 1.75 miles, or something really early like that, but it ended up being pretty close to perfectly 5k. I was impressed. One of the coolest parts of the race was a Boston Marathon banner/rug/sign laid on the trail a mile from the finish line. (To read one of the coolest/saddest/most inspiration stories check out this local families pancreatic cancer Boston Marathon story here). I thought about the Scott family as I ran over the mat, as well as my own dreams to run and cross the Boston Marathon some day, knowing my mom will be right there with me.
With a mile to go there was a group of three gals in front of me that I was slowly gaining on. That lit a small fire underneath me as I thought it would be really awesome to come in top three female for a race that was so important to me. The last mile and a half of the race was directly into the sun with little to no tree cover, and it was slowly causing me to putz out. I kept noticing my pace slip and then I would pick it up, and back and forth as my watch got closer to three miles. I tried to start a kick with a half mile to go. With a quarter of a mile to go, two of my teammates that I had never met before race morning came up on me, and Betsy clapped me on the back and told me, "let's go" and that my mom was there with me cheering me on. Which really helped give me that final boost to finish strong.
Mile 3 8:41
.08 :32 (6:45 avg, 6:24 max)
I finished in 26:41 with an average pace of 8:40.
I was shocked at how close I was to my race goal pace, especially in some crazy warm conditions!! It gets me excited for the summer 5k series.
Thanks again to anyone who joined our team, wished me well for the race, donated money, or has been there for me. Events like this really make me hopeful that research can advance and improve our survival rates to eliminate other families from suffering like my mom did.
Here's some local news coverage of the event (and me leading the race for 5 seconds, LOLZ).