Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sole Burner 5K Race Report

With a quarter-mile to go before crossing the finish line there's a nasty hill to conquer.

Dubbed the Hill of Hope, it's supposed to remind runners that while running a 5K and tackling this hill right before the finish line is hard, it's not as hard as what a cancer patient or survivor goes through. Because cancer? It's a nasty disease. An ugly disease. It hurts. But those people who cancer has chosen to attack fight on. Because they don't want to let cancer win.

As I approached that hill Saturday morning during the Sole Burner, a local 5K that raises funds for the American Cancer Society, I was starting to hurt. I had gone out aggressively. I had goals I wanted to achieve. A race to run. A time to beat. And I was on pace.

But it was starting to hurt. A tiny part of me just wanted to slow down momentarily.

But I knew that hill was approaching. And for a moment, my mind wandered. I wasn't thinking of 5K PRs or even anything about me.

Instead I thought of my grandmother, a woman I never knew because she lost her battle to breast cancer before I was even 5. And I thought of a good friend of mine, whose family got news this past week that a brain tumor her father is battling keeps growing and the difficult decision they made to stop chemo and any other treatments.

What I was going through Saturday was hard. But not even close to what others are experiencing.

So I dug deep and attacked that hill. I felt strong thanks to the training Coach Jim had put me through this spring. I passed people. But most importantly, I destroyed that hill.

I got to the top, I was a bit winded but with two blocks to go, the finish line was in sight. For the first time in almost 3 miles I glanced down at my Garmin and took a look at how much time had passed since the starting gun went off. That goal time was still within reach.

I dug deep again. Pushed the pace a bit, even though it was hurting. And two - very long - blocks later I was crossing the finish line.


A sub-30 5K time. Exactly what I was aiming for. Not only did I dominate the Hill of Hope, I destroyed my previous 5K PR, which was 31:17 from last October. That's a 1:28 improvement! And that's not counting the 7 second difference between my Garmin and the "official" time. I spent those 7 seconds waiting for the crowd of runners in front of me to start moving.

Overall I'd say it was a pretty good morning. The only thing that would have made it better is if cancer was left shaking in its boots after seeing the 7,200 runners and walkers who came out to tackle the hill and show cancer that they intend to fight and don't intend to let cancer win.


Loots said...

Way to go, Jenny!
I wish we could kick cancer's ass.

Anonymous said...

Super run. Way to go dropping below 30minutes!!

J said...

Congrats! That is awesome you got a PR even with a hill at the end! You have been running so well and deserve this PR!

Run with Jess said...

Great job! Breaking 30 min is a milestone! Congrats!

Jennifer Cotter said...

Congratulations on your PR! And what a great cause to run for.

Deloris said...

Congratulations on your new 5K PR Jenny! :) Way to destroy that hill.

Rachel said...

Way to dominate on that hill! Congrats on a new PR too, that race is a tough one to PR in considering the crowds and the giant hill. Way to go!