Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Run for your Life 5K

The first Saturday in February marked the first of four 5K's in the Valdosta area. I love this time of year when the races are starting to take up each of my Saturday mornings. Honestly, I really don't mind at all as a matter of fact I live the rest of my week waiting on the next race. I enjoy these "fun runs" because many of them have a good charitable reason behind them. Take for example The Run for your Life 5K. The race was run in honor of Elizabeth Pitts a local child who lost her battle to cancer in July 2010. A portion of the money collected was donated to the Hugs of Hope Foundation which was founded by the Pitts family. The foundation supports families facing pediatric cancer by providing educational resources, emotional support, sibling/school support, and financial assistance for other families who find themselves in a similar situation. 
I look at the run as a privilege, an opportunity of giving back in a way. Elizabeth's mother spoke to the runners, over 100, before the race and I was taken back at how focused she was on providing aid to other family's that have or are facing the same thing her family went though. I don't have children but I can't imagine what it would be like to loose one to anything at such a young age. She talked about how no matter what Elizabeth always had a smile on her face. I thought of this many times during my run. I don't know what it was about that particular statement but It was my focus for the whole 5k.

The race was held at the elementary school where Elizabeth attended. I did not know it till I got there but the course was mostly on dirt/mud. There was very little pavement running which is what I train on so it was a little different for me. It was cold and raining but just a few moments before the race stated it stopped raining and the sun starting to peak out from under the clouds. I tossed Matt my running jacket just in time and I am glad I did because by the end I was a puddle of sweat. I had even pealed my fleece lined arm warmers down to my wrist. I made one change in this race that I must admit I was slightly nervous about. When the race director started calling out "expected" finish times to line up I chose to get into the front which I NEVER do. I am not even sure what I was thinking but I took the steps and found myself up in the front. Well I must say it turned out better for me than I could have anticipated. The "slight" competitive edge came out in me and I mostly kept up with those that were in the front of the line with me. Like I said before I went to the run for the simple fact that I enjoy running and I enjoy running even more for a good cause but I ended up with a shock. I came in first for my age group 25-29 with a time of 25:56.
I came in 17th overall and there were over 100 runners. That in itself made me happy. I did not go expecting to win or even come close but I will admit it felt good to hear my name called out during the awards ceremony. I felt like I was back in High School all over again. I remember looking at Matt and saying " I just got 1st in my age?". He laughed at my state of shock. I was just not expecting it. Anyway I won a $65.00 gift certificate for a local salon and spa for highlights. Which works out well since I just had my hair cut off. A great race for a great reason with the added benefit of winning. Till next Saturday - Happy Running.