The Liz Hurley Ribbon Run is a huge 5K race here in Huntsville named in honor of a local anchorwoman who is a breast cancer survivor. This year, 5,500 people signed up to run or walk this race. From the website in the link above:
When Liz Hurley, a local television news anchor, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998, she put a courageous face on breast cancer for all of us in the Tennessee Valley. In 1999, the Liz Hurley Breast Cancer Fund at Huntsville Hospital Foundation was established for the purpose of creating awareness about breast cancer, purchasing equipment for breast cancer diagnosis and providing continuing education for the Breast Center staff. Since its inception, more than $2 million has been raised and thousands have been touched through this fund. The Liz Hurley Ribbon Run brings together our entire community and support from around the world in the fight against breast cancer.
When I was 22, I remember watching Liz Hurley on the news. She was the first person I "knew" who had breast cancer. When the chemotherapy took away her hair, she just kept right on reporting while wearing a scarf. She didn't let it stop her at all. Now, that is someone to admire!
This year, my work colleagues at my preschool got together a team in honor of two wonderful coworkers who are breast cancer survivors. No way I could pass up the chance to be on our team! I wanted to show support for the cause, but more so, I wanted to show support to my two coworkers. If I could do that through running, that's even better! A small problem was the fact that I ran the Chicago marathon on the previous Sunday, only 6 days from the Liz Hurley run. I decided to give it a try, but I knew it would probably feel tougher and be slower than my usual 5K times since I was still recovering from the marathon.
I rode with my mom over to the race and spent a lot of the morning with my team, taking pictures and just talking. Some of my group had never been to a race before, so it was very neat watching the men finish (they started an hour before our race) and hearing my coworkers' reactions to the race. Most of the group hadn't ever run/walked a 5K before. I enjoyed seeing the race from their perspective. Since I was with the team, I took things more easily. I skipped my longer warm up in favor of a half mile or so with Jane instead. But I still tried to get up in the front so that I could give it my all!
I felt great for the first mile, but then I felt very tired and had trouble catching my breath for the last two miles. I could tell that my legs were not fresh! I managed to get a 20:22, a comparable time to my recent 5Ks and a time I am very happy with given the circumstances. I finished 4th overall. The neat thing about this race is that men and women start separately, so I could see the first three women and the lead car for most of the race.
After the finish (and again at work on Monday), my coworkers made me feel like a celebrity or something because of my 4th place finish. I get very nervous having a lot of attention on me, but I did my best to thank them for their congratulations without making a big deal about what I'd done. Some of them walked the race, finishing in three times what my time was. To them, it may be hard to picture ever going as "fast" as me. I didn't want to tell them that this wasn't my fastest 5K, or that I usually do finish near the top in local races, or that I'd run a marathon in that same week. I tried to remember that many of my coworkers had just done something amazing, something they thought they could never do. This race was definitely more about them than me, and they are what I will remember about this race.
I was honored to be a part of their experience. I was honored to help contribute to the cause of breast cancer equipment for our city. I was honored to see breast cancer survivors out there. I was glad to be a part of all of it!
For fun I looked back to my previous years of racing this event:
2010--plantar fasciitis injury--did not run
2009--running the Des Moines marathon that weekend
2008--??? did not run it
2007--25:20 first race post-daughter (7 weeks postpartum)
2006--23:18 (about 3.5 months after my son's birth)
Racing the same week as my marathon, I was still able to get a course PR for me! A side note for anyone new to races: My mom and I stayed for almost all of the awards. The Dominos pizza people started giving away whole pizzas at the end. Mom and I each left with a whole pizza. You never know what you will get if you stay through the awards!
Mile 1 6:17
Mile 2 6:44
Mile 3 + .1 7:22 (6:42 pace)
20:22 4th OAF
overall pace 6:33
|Me and my mom wearing our team shirts|
Mom walked the 5K in under an hour.
|Our team pre-race|
|Our team post-race|
|Fun picture! This is the front page of The Huntsville Times Sunday edition. |
I am in the center--one row back, with my sunglasses on, and in my blue and black Fleet Feet uniform. Do you see me?
|Here is the entire picture. Look at all of those runners!|