Monday, October 26, 2009

Helping to find a cure for breast cancer...

I participated in the Susan G. Komen Central Florida Race for the Cure yesterday morning and boy did it kick my butt!

I've been wanting to run in the Race for the Cure 5K for quite a while now, since before I did my first 5K. And it was everything I'd hoped it would be.

I didn't do the competitive run, I just did the fun run, but I timed myself. My time was about the same as my first 5K was. Weird. Because that was 8 1/2 months ago and I've run another 5K and a 10K since then and I really thought I'd be able to run a faster time. I really pushed hard, too.

After the 2 mile mark, I had to start speed walking because my left knee started hurting again. Darn knee! It'll usually start hurting after a couple of miles of running. But I speed walked for about 3/4 of a mile then I started running again. Pushed through the pain. Once I hit the 3-mile mark, I kicked it in gear and ran full out.

I thought I was going to die before I made it across the finish line. My heart rate went all the way up to 198. Ugh! I know, NOT good!! But I just wanted to push as hard as I could. I was totally inspired by the event and by the courageous women running with me.

They had these "back signs" that you could get (letter size pieces of colorful paper) that you could write down someone's name on who either died from (in memory of) breast cancer or who has survived it (in celebration of) and pin them to your back while you raced. And the whole time I was running, I kept reading the back signs of the runners who passed me. Most of them would have a woman's name but some said in memory of "my mom", "my wife", "my sister" and some said in celebration of "my mom", "my wife", and "my sister". Whenever I saw these, they just lifted me up and encouraged me to keep pushing. Running in a 5K and being completely exhausted and spent is NOTHING compared to what they each had to go through or are still going through.

So when my heart rate got up that high, I just pierced my eyes on the back signs and kept pushing.

Through the whole race, I kept hearing what sounded like someone following me, like their sneakers were scuffing on the pavement behind me. But whenever I'd look back, there was no one there. Kept bugging me. I thought there'd be someone there but then I thought maybe they got around me before I could see them or something. Then just before the finish line I figured out what it was. It was my back sign. It was scuffing up against my back.

I had written down my husband's aunt's name on my back sign. She died almost 20 years ago of breast cancer. She was one of those who knew there was something wrong and didn't want to go to the doctor for fear that there really would be something wrong. So it was way too far along to do anything about it by the time she went to the doctor.

Merle Odom was her name.

So about the time I realized that it was my back sign making me think there was someone behind me, it dawned on me that there was someone behind me—Merle. She was running right behind me in the race, I know she was. Then I knew I'd be able to finish and finish strong. And I did!

So what that my finishing time was a bit worse than my first 5K over 8 months ago. So what that my average heart rate was 178 beats per minute. So what that I just about passed out as I crossed the finish line. I did it! And I finished strong knowing that what I was doing was helping us get one step closer to the cure to breast cancer.

I think I'll run in the Race for the Cure every year from now on. It's really the least I can do, right?

If any of you would like to donate to the Susan G. Koman fight to find a cure for breast cancer, here's a link to my fund-raising page. I'm trying to raise $150 to help find a cure. Just click on the "Donate to Cara!" link under my picture to donate online. You can also print out a donation form and mail in your check. Thank you for anything you can give. <3

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6 comments:

screwdestiny said...

Sounds great! That's really awesome that you did that, and that you pushed yourself hard. I mean, obviously it can get dangerous if you're not careful, but it's always good to push ourselves a little past what we think we can do.

Sheilagh (60 x60) said...

Well Done on the run, I know how emotional theese races can be. I cried almost all the way round when I did a "Race For Life" a couple of years ago reading all the dedications.

I love that Merle spurred you on.

Fat[free]Me said...

Aww, I am tearing up for you and Merle here - well done both (wink) of you for doing the race and for such a great cause!

Georgia Mist said...

Beautiful story! You are very inspiring, my friend!

Sheilagh (60 x60) said...

There is something on my blog for you:)

Shelley said...

I got chills reading about your sign - how awesome that Merle really was with you during that run.