Walk Away From Colon Cancer & 5K Run – Louisville, KY (August 24, 2013)

Me heading out of the start for the Walk Away From Colon Cancer & 5K Run

Me heading out of the start for the Walk Away From Colon Cancer & 5K Run – Louisville, Kentucky

Race: Walk Away From Colon Cancer & 5K Run

Place: Iroquois Park, Louisville, Kentucky

Date: August 24, 2013

Time: 22:45

Wow…can you believe this?  A race report!! An actual race report.  I haven’t officially raced in over a month.  One month and 10 days to be exact.  And I certainly haven’t done a 5K race in a long time.  I’ve been putting my focus on my marathon training…distance, speed/pacing, easy, hard…but no races.  They just haven’t fit in.

But this race…I haven’t missed this race in the three years I have been running.  The previous two years, it was my comeback race.  The race I was finally able to run again…after an injury healed.  In 2011, it was my stress fracture and runner’s knee.  In 2012, it was my plantar fasciitis.  So…this was a new experience for me.  I could actually…RUN!  And run however I wanted to run!  BONUS!

The Walk Away From Colon Cancer & 5K Run holds a special place in my heart since my Aunt Debbie died from colon cancer three years ago.  Note…I’ve run this race for three years…and I always do so in her honor.  This year…I felt like I could really honor her memory.

I actually went into Louisville to the Clifton Center where the Colon Cancer Prevention Project is headquartered.  The packet pickup was happening there on Thursday, then at Fleet Feet on Friday…and race day packet pickup was also available.  I tend to get my packet ahead of time if at all possible…sort of saves on the rush on race morning.  And since I had to pick up a package at the Fed Ex place in Louisville on Thursday…I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone.  So, I picked up my packet two days early and didn’t have to concern myself with it on Friday or Saturday.

So, this morning was the big event.  I woke up early enough to get dressed and slather on some sun screen.  It was in the high 60s this morning with 86% humidity.  BLECH!!  Sunscreen is always a must!!  So, in order to let it soak in…I have to get it applied early.  So, I went to the kitchen, got the coffee maker prepped and brewing…then went to get my albino on!  I use Badger sunscreen, which turns me even pastier white than I already am.  But, it works.  So I use it.  I actually did a good job of lathering myself up.  Managed to contort and get my back as well without getting too much on my top.  I was dressed as Wonder Woman for this event…because…I think people who fight through and survive cancer are amazing.  They are all superheros.

Breakfast was the last of my Vanilla Chex cereal.  I got my clothes to change into together, laced up my Adidas Boosts, and grabbed a banana to eat about 30 minutes before the race.  Got into the car and Cathy and I were winging our way out to Iroquois Park in Louisville…the scene of the event.

Mind you…in 2011…this race was small.  There were 468 finishers in 2011.  Parking was so easy to manage.  And the event was quite small.  Last year…2012, the event grew to 684 finishers.  There were bouncy houses and tents set up everywhere.  It was a big change.  This year…there were nearly 800 finishers.  799 to be exact.  So, once again the event grew.  And this time…there were people directing traffic to parking spots.  Huh.  This was different.  We were guided into a nice spot, and soon we were popping out of the car, throwing stuff in the trunk, and starting toward the amphitheater at Iroquois Park.  I had my banana in hand…but it was definitely too early to dive into it.  Instead, I went ahead and used the flushing toilets before a line formed…which was also a good call because the line did get stupid long and the port-a-potties that were ordered were not delivered.  So…yay for peeing ahead of time!

After that, Cathy and I wandered around…taking a stroll down the road of Iroquois Park…checking out the various companies that came out to the race…walking through the GIANT INFLATABLE COLON!  Here in Kentucky…we’re famous four our inflatable colon.  It’s true.  I We found a shady spot near a curb so Cathy could settle in and I could do some preliminary active stretching.  High knees, knee circles, hip circles, butt kicks, the works.  Nothing stationary.  I was getting those muscles ready to fire quickly.

The opening ceremony was starting at 8:30…and local radio personality, George Lindsey, got us started.  We had announcements of upcoming events, mentions of sponsors, and then the survivors were called forward to receive a nice gift and get their picture taken.  It was amazing how many people were there.  Varying ages.  Some…no older than me I would guess.  Just…so moving.  We applauded them and gave much respect for their battle against colon cancer.  Just…amazing.

Afterwards, it was time to get the race started.  Cathy and I began to make our way over to the start line as photos of the survivors were being taken.  This allowed me to get into a good starting spot.  I wasn’t right up front…I don’t feel I belong there, but I wasn’t too far back either.  I did a few more stretches while waiting on the rest of the crowd to get lined up.  The front was starting to fill in and as I was standing there this really, really good looking beefcake of a guy with a body like WHOA and WHOA GUN SHOW…comes over and asks if he can get his picture taken with me.  WITH ME!!  Yes…Wonder Woman gladly accepts pictures with hot strangers.  I don’t think I was drooling.  This was the first time that has ever happened to me.  It was a nice way to start the race.

And with that, we were given the instructions from our favorite people at River City Races.  We’d hear “Runner’s set…and then the whistle.”  A pause.  “Runner’s set…”  And when the whistle went off, we exploded out of the starting line.  I flashed a badass peace sign to Cathy as I ran past…and that was the start.  In my head, I really, really wanted to hit a sub-22 minute 5K.  But, I also know my limitations and I know the hills of Iroquois Park…so I also knew that wasn’t happening at this race.  Instead…I chose to run a happy, honorary race…and just have a good time!

The first mile always seems the longest.  I don’t know why.  Especially since it tends to be my fastest.  I settled into a good pace, seeing Lynn (she’s at all the local races!) ahead of me, and another woman running right next to me.  We rounded the corner and hit the first of many hills…and the woman who was running with me pulled way ahead.  WAY ahead.  UGH!!  I need more hill work in my life.  For real.  That was okay…it was still an early race.  I took to the streets, pushing just enough to make it not feel like a run in the park.  HA.  See what I did there?  I’ve been training a lot at the Long Slow Distance Pace…that racing now seems a lot harder than it used to be.  Add the need for speed work to the list of things I need to incorporate more into my running regime.  Anyway…I was heading for a downhill when I got to Mile 1.  I was around 7:12 pace…which was awesome.  But I knew Mile 2 was a killer.  It starts off down hill…but I know…I know that a large hill awaits towards the end of it…as we head into the final stretch.

So, Mile 2 I took the downhills easy, not wanting to shred my calves or my quads.  You know, I have this goal to not get injured this year…and a 5K race wasn’t going to take me out.  I refuse.  Running smart is the goal…and that means I ease up on the downhills.  To make up for it, I attempted to push a little harder on those uphills.  And Mile 2 was filled with uphills.  We were supposed to stay to the left of the orange cones for safety…but the cones went away halfway through our second mile…so a lot of runners were just veering to the other side in an attempt to take the hills a little easier.  I don’t think it helped.  I stayed my course…because I know what feels right.  And got passed up by another female.  My pace definitely slowed in that second mile…and I was thinking about how I just needed to suck it up (gluten-free) cupcake and run some hills.  I wanted to do that with my fun run group…but it was vetoed.  Totally vetoed.  So, I guess if I want to get some hill work in I have to do the work myself.  There is no lack of hills around here, so I’ll make it happen.

Mile 2 ticked off and I knew I was in my last mile.  I also know about the hill that gets me…every time I run at Iroquois Park.  We were running the park the “hard” way…the way there seems to be more uphills than downs.  I prefer running this park the opposite direction, but I swear all the races go off the other way.  So…it’s harder.  But…from previous races done here, I know…I know that somewhere between Mile 2 and the finish line…there is this hill of doom…that just never seems to stop going up.  The first year I ran this race…I walked the hill.  It was the first (and only) time I ever walked, but my runner’s knee twinged at me and I didn’t want to push my luck with the stress fracture.  The second time I ran this race, I took the hill easy…didn’t walk…but took it easy because I didn’t want to tear my plantar fascia again.  I was so nervous about that.

Me with my 1st place age division medal at the Walk Away From Colon Cancer & 5K Run – Louisville, Kentucky

Me with my 1st place age division medal at the Walk Away From Colon Cancer & 5K Run – Louisville, Kentucky

This year…this year I killed the hill.  It slowed me, sure…hills do that…but I didn’t let up.  I pushed…I drove myself up that incline and saw the sunlight streaming into the parking lot.  I knew the finish was coming.  I was close.  So, I attempted to pick it up some.  I tried…for that kick that so many runners manage.  I don’t think I’ve quite gotten the hang of that yet, but I felt like I might have kicked it a little to the finish line.  I could hear Cathy screaming “GO TWIN!  GO!”  So, I ran and just put my all into getting across that line.  And I did so…feeling like I truly earned my stripes there.  That was, as usual, a difficult course.

Cathy came over and said, “Guess what?”  And I said…”Fourth female overall.  I know.  I ticked them off in my head as they passed.”  I laughed when I said it.  These women all finished in sub-22…the overall female winner finishing in 20:50 which is…a dream to me.  How the heck did she run that fast?!  It boggles my mind and my little short legs.

We stayed for the award ceremony…and it turned out I won 1st in my age division!  I won third last year…so this was a WOOHOO moment.  In fact, my time this year beat out the time for the female overall winner last year.  But we had a faster crowd this time around.  But…this was a good race for a good cause…and one, regardless of my hatred of 5Ks, I would never dream of missing.

So, as it stands the official results for the Walk Away From Colon Cancer & 5K Run are that I finished in 22:45.  It wasn’t a new PR…but I was only 30 seconds off.  Had this course been flatter…well…maybe.  Anyway, I was 27/799 overall, 4/496 female finishers, and 1/67 in my age division.  Considering 5Ks are my least favorite distance (yet…I run a lot of them)…I was totally thrilled with these.  And I dedicated this race, as always, to my Aunt Debbie…who I think gave me some wings on that uphill at the end today.

So, on a hot and humid Saturday morning…I went out and ran for a good cause…and had a good time.  Already looking forward to next year!


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