MG 5K IN MAY, May 17,2008.
Today was the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation 5k. As I mentioned before, my niece, Heather, has the autoimmune disease. Two years ago she went from a normal teenager to a girl unable to eat or even go to the bathroom by herself because of the neuromuscular atrophy she was going through. She couldn't even go to school and had to be home tutored. After the usual therapies (plasmapheresis and a thymectomy, spending a month in the hospital out of town, ending up with an $80k hospital bill after insurance) and high doses of immunosuppresants, she is now back to as normal as she can be and will be graduating in a few weeks.
So when I found this race, I mentioned it to my sister and said I would do it and maybe she could do the walk. As it turned out, Don and I both signed up for the run and my sister, her husband, my nephew, my daughter, and her two kids all did the race. My sister wanted to support the organization that has helped them out so much.
After I thought about it, I realized I hadn't done a standalone 5k since last March! Lots of tris and longer races, but nothing this short in a while. I was looking forward to it, mainly to see what I could do.
The race took place at Riverside Park, where a lot of 5ks are held, and the location of the trailhead for the North Country Trail, a now 94 mile (round trip) bike path. I'm anxious to ride that as well. It was a perfect day for a race: 59 degrees, sunny, but breezy. Being right by the river though, it actually felt a little chilly while we were waiting for the race to start so I was glad I brought a jacket and decided to wear it.
This was a SMALL race--probably 50 people running and maybe 50 walkers. But these are my favorite kind of races. No crowding, no mob scene, and some of the friendliest volunteers ever. My sister and her family were already there and my daughter came with the kids. Austin had had a track meet the night before again (he's 8), so I figured he probably was still tired out. But he looked ready to go. They were all walking. I was pretty surprised my sister was already there, considering she is not a morning person and was appalled at the thought of needing to be at the park by 8 am. LOL!
So we got our stuff all ready, did a little stretching, a little jogging for warmup and then it was time to line up. Looking around, it was also a fairly young crowd, so I was pretty sure I was one of the oldest women there running. I didn't recognize anyone but one of the guys there with his wife and who wasn't running. I thought I remembered he was a pretty good runner, so maybe he was giving her her day. This was a non-chip start, but with only about 50 people it wasn't a big deal getting to the start line. The gun went off and we started running.
The entire pack immediately pulled away from Don and me. I decided not to panic and held my pace. I couldn't go faster if I tried anyway! But I did say to Don, "They'll be coming back to us eventually. We'll catch some of them." Within the first few minutes I was warm enough and took off the jacket and tie it around me. Another couple of minutes and 2 girls started walking. Oh yeah, now we're not last! But I could tell Don was struggling; his breathing was very heavy and he was not picking up his feet, so all I could hear was that annoying scuffling! I kept asking him if he felt okay but he didn't really respond. We passed through the first turnaround and were very close to the next people in front of us. Soon, we were passing another woman, and were gaining on another 2. We passed back over a bridge near the start and this is where Don started dropping back. I looked back to see if he was okay, and I could see he was struggling. I kept going and passed 2 other women. He dropped back farther, and as we approached the start area where we had to pass through to go to the other end of the park, I could see the walkers lined up. I waved to the kids and kept on through the start, down past the parking lot, over another bridge, and here I passed 2 more women. I was moving up, but I pretty much figured Don had dropped way back. I also started figuring he might have stopped, but didn't know that for sure until later.
At this point, we still had about 1.5 miles to go. The front people were already coming back. I snuck a peak at my watch: 16 something. Hmm, I hope I can stick with that pace and I'll feel okay about that. There were 2 other women ahead I hoped to pass before the finish, so I just concentrated on focusing on them, their feet mainly. Did you know if you watch the feet of the runners ahead of you that you will eventually get closer and/or pass them? It works every time. Just focus on one at a time and start picking them off.
By the time we reached the second turn around, I was getting much closer to the woman in front of me, but I still wasn't catching her. So I continued focusing on just trying to get closer. Now we had about 3/4 of a mile to go. I was still feeling okay, and was actually surprised I didn't need to take a break. No walk breaks today! But I also wasn't pushing myself beyond my capabilities, just trying to stay steady and keep my breathing steady. A couple of young girls were walking ahead, but of course once I got close enough to pass, they took off again. I just focused on staying close in case the opportunity arose to finally pass. Heading back over the last bridge, it was only about 400 yards now to the finish. I looked at my watch again and it was 31:55, so I knew I wouldn't make my secret 32 min. goal, but I figured I could make 33 min. I ended up with 33:05, and was happy enough with that. My main goal was to get under 35 min., secret goal was 32, and I finished between that.
At the turnaround I had noticed Don wasn't behind me, so I started looking for him. I ran over to the car and he wasn't there, so I ran back to the start and looked around the food tables, but he wasn't there either. Then I finally decided he might have gone to meet the walkers, so I started running the course again, came to the first bridge, and saw Austin coming over the bridge, running/walking. I asked him where everyone else was and he said behind him, but there was no one in sight behind him. There was another little boy just in front of him walking, so I told Austin if he hurried up, he could beat that kid. So I ran with him, but the other kid took off on a sprint and Austin was too tired to take him on. All in all, he came in a close second!
A few minutes later Kyle and Tyler came walking to the finish and I asked if they had seen Don. They said he was walking with their parents. Come to find out, his Achilles tightened up and he was afraid of injuring it again so did the 2 mile walk with them. I was just glad to see he wasn't in the ambulance.
After the race, they had a huge assortment of foods: jumbo muffins; triple chocolate brownies; minimuffins; bagels and cream cheese; juice boxes; fruit; and yogurt. We had planned to go out to breakfast but with all this, it wasn't necessary. That's another thing I love about those small races: tons of food and prizes, all donations of course.
I ended up getting first in the age group and got a really nice medal, which I gave to Austin for doing so well on the walk, since he hoped to get a ribbon and they didn't give anything out. It was a fun race, a fun day, and great family time.
After, Don and I went to the Y and swam, and I was surprised at how well I felt all day.