Posts Tagged ‘10K’

Catching up on race posts, grief, loss, and continuing the journey

I have been neglecting my race posts and need to catch up.

Missoula, MT Half Marathon (July 13, 2014) Time: 2:14:01

Oklahoma City, OK Half Marathon (October 11, 2014) Time: 2:31:08

Savannah, GA Rock and Roll Half Marathon (November 8, 2014) Time: 2:25:04

Run SLC Race Series (5K on February 7, 2015; 10K on March 7, 2015; 15K on April 4, 2015) 

Eisenhower Half Marathon in Abilene, KS (April 11, 2015) Time: 2:23:43

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Life certainly got in the way as I faced two especially tragic events over the past few months–the tragic suicide of a current student, and the cancer-caused death of a former student. As you can imagine, my world abruptly changed and priorities certainly shifted.

I can’t even begin to process the suicide death. The loss of someone so talented and with so much promise is incomprehensible. That loss happened in November and was sudden and shocking. I must leave it at that. I will never understand that one.

The other loss unfolded over the course of months–allowing me to be a bit more emotionally prepared, but that loss was closer to home. TJ was a former student of mine who asked me to help him through his cancer journey late last summer and through the fall. At the time, his relationship with his parents was virtually non-existent and he needed support. I was honored that he asked me, but that journey was particularly difficult as I had to watch cancer steal his life away despite his most valiant efforts, through the summer and fall, ending in December. With each daily hospital visit, I watched as my dear friend TJ’s life slipped away and he died on December 5th at the young age of 24. I am grateful that, over the course of his illness, he used that time to reconnect with his family members, which was a blessing to all involved. We are all, however, still reeling from the unfairness of it all.

During the emotional turmoil I was experiencing, I was grateful for the well-being of my own husband and children and tried my best to carve out time for occasional runs and yoga classes. As a way to process stress and have some semblance of control in my life, I decided to use the month of December to complete a 30-day yoga challenge. I wrote about that in this blog, and that experience probably helped me a lot as I was processing a great deal of pain. My running, however, became an afterthought and during the first few months of the year, I barely ran at all.

I have now recommitted, and know how important my running and yoga classes are to my own emotional and physical well-being. I didn’t take time to post pithy, cheery details of my races, however, because I just wasn’t in that place. Not sure I am still.

I do, however, look forward to my continued race journey and this half marathon 50-states goal. As of today, 32 are in the books and by the end of this week, I will report having finished numbers 33, 34, 35, and 36.

2014 Race for Grief

Date: May 26, 2014

Distance: 6.2 miles

Time: 1:00:04 (gun time); 59:47:37 (Garmin time)

Today was a beautiful day to run. I was glad I had this race on my calendar but was a bit concerned because I spent the past two days fighting some sort of a stomach virus. My goal was to run this in under an hour and I did. Barely, but I did, so I’m happy–that is, if I count my Garmin time, which I will since I didn’t cross the start until a few seconds after the 5K runners started.

This race is a nice event that brings together parents who have lost babies. Others also run the race commemorating older loved ones who have passed away, and there’s a nice spirit of shared support at this event. I’ve found it to be a very satisfying way to take time and honor Melanie, whom we lost four years ago.

Shirt and medal

Shirt and medal

I wrote in more detail about the event last year at this link.

This year, they added a 5K option and moved the race day to Memorial Day, which I thought was a great move. For me, it’s especially meaningful. Melanie’s middle name, Irene, honors my Grandma–who would have celebrated her birthday tomorrow, if she were still with us.

As long as this event continues to be held, I’ll look forward to running it whenever I can.

Peace to everyone today who is remembering and honoring service men and women, and family members and friends who have left us too soon.

Happy Memorial Day to everyone, and Happy Birthday, Grandma Irene. I know you are taking care of Mia until we get to see her again.

2013 Race for Grief 10K

Date: June 29, 2013

Distance: 10 K (6.2 miles)

Time: 59:19:00

The Race for Grief is a nearby 10K race (with a 2 mile walk option) devoted to helping people commemorate the loss of a loved one. It’s a really nice event that brings all types of runners together in the memory of babies, children, or other friends and family members.

Race shirt & medal

Race shirt & medal.

Runners are encouraged to bring posters to display during the race and lots of people wear specially made shirts or signs to indicate who they are running in memory of.

While I loved the shirts this year, I decided to run in one of my racer backs to be able to show my tattoo of our baby’s footprints. If there is ever a perfect place to show it off, this was it.

Orlando joined me in the race this year, and that made it especially meaningful. We both wore signs on our backs with our baby’s name, birth/death date, a photo of her tiny feet, and a caption that read, “There is no foot too small that cannot leave an imprint on this world.”

Race day weather was beautiful, but a bit hot–even at 7:30 a.m. I certainly didn’t set a personal record during this race, but I did manage to finish in under an hour, which is always my 10K goal. Of the four women in my age group, however, I placed fourth. (That sounds better than last). Correction: Official race report now shows six were in my category so I didn’t finish last. Yay!Race for Grief 2013 back

Some very fast runners ran this race–many of the top finishers were in the 45-minute range.

The highlight of the morning was hearing the announcer call Orlando’s name as the first place winner in his age group. He hasn’t been consistently running and walked most of the race–finishing in 1:29. He was quite surprised to hear his name being called and, at first, he was sure they were calling him for a raffle prize instead of a medal.

Turns out, he happened to be the only male runner in his age category. (But we won’t need to tell anyone that)!

Sure enough, he left the race with a “1st place” finishers’ medal around his neck and he claims he is going to wear it to work tomorrow.

Next year the race will be held on Memorial Day–which is quite appropriate, and running it will likely turn into an annual tradition for us.

Loss is difficult, but it’s certainly made easier with the support and care of others.

First place medal!

First place medal!

Race for Grief 10K, I mean 15K

Date: June 30, 2012

Distance: 6.25 miles

Time: 59:13:19

AND

Distance: 3.37 miles

Time: 37:32:12

Sometimes the journey is longer and harder than expected–especially if the last portion of the race course is not marked and no one is there to tell runners where to turn.

Today I intended to run a 10K race to commemorate infant and pregnancy loss, only I ended up running a 15K due to the fact that I got lost.

The race started at West Bountiful Park and the majority of the course followed the Legacy Trail–a biking/running path. It was a simple out and back course that shouldn’t have been difficult to follow, and we were promised at the start that there would be people at each turn to direct us. I was a bit confused, then when, after passing what I knew was the last water station and running about a mile further, I no longer saw runners from the race and I could tell from my Garmin that I was nearing the 10K point with no finish line in sight.

I figured out pretty quickly that I had missed a turn and decided to keep going anyway until I got to 10K (6.2 miles).  I signed up for a 10K, so I was going to run a 10K.

When I looked down at my watch and saw “6.25,” I hit the re-set button, turned around, and proceeded to figure out where I missed the turn. At that point, I saw another runner who did the same thing I had done. I suddenly felt a lot better knowing that I wasn’t the only person to mess up. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the turn had been clearly marked and I still managed to miss it. But Amber, my newfound running partner, assured me that she, too, saw no turn marked or saw anyone directing runners.

We kept a positive attitude and Amber noted that, according to her training plan, she was supposed to run nine miles today anyway. And, as we calculated, that would probably be what we would end up running by the time we made it to the finish line.

This was a low-stakes race for me. Heck, I didn’t even bother to put a timing chip on my shoe. I was just out to enjoy a six-mile run in memory of our daughter. And, as I reflected on how the race was unfolding as I ran the 3.37 additional, unintended miles, I thought to myself, “what a perfect metaphor.”

Today’s experience was yet one more reminder that sometimes our life journeys do not take us where we intend or expect. We are sometimes put on a confusing, unmarked path with no guidance or reassurance that we are going in the right direction. The journey can be lonely, confusing, and difficult. The journey might be far more challenging than expected, and the journey might bring some tears along the way.

back of shirt–I added Mia’s name & the wings

As I neared the finish line at the park, I finally saw people guiding runners. I commented to one man that I had just run 15K rather than the intended 10K due to missing the last turn. He said, “Good job! Finish strong!” And, as I passed him he read the back of my shirt and shouted out, “Mia would be proud!”

I crossed the finish line in tears–and not because I had just run almost ten miles when I only planned on running six. I cried, once again, for our loss and for what should have been. I cried because I was reminded so clearly why I was running this race.

Melanie was with me during this race and during all of my races. She is there to give me strength and to reassure me that even when life’s journeys don’t go as planned, there is a bigger reason why, and I’m not the one in charge nor am I expected to understand the reasons why.

Still, I miss her every single day. She would be two years old right now, had things gone as planned, and I would be complaining about having a defiant, stubborn toddler. Instead, I am left to grieve our loss.

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Met one of my online friends in person today–she is the administrator of a Facebook group comprised of other moms who have also had angel babies. She traveled several hours to be at this race and her loss was only two months ago. This was her first race ever. So glad I got to meet her, but so sad for the reasons why we have connected. It is because of her that I now wear yellow on Mondays. Check out her blog at: http://yellowmondaysproject.blogspot.com/

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Also, had I been wearing my racing chip AND not missed the turn, I would have placed first in my division. The woman listed #1 finished in 1:03 and my 10K time would have beat that by almost five minutes.

Portland Downhill Dash (10K)

Date: 10/09/11

Distance: 10K (6.2 miles)

Time: 57:43 (PR!)

Another fun weekend with my Portland marathon buddies! For the third year in a row, a small contingency of the Bozeman Hawks class of ’86, and one adopted member, met up in Portland for some catching up time.

Jen was the most ambitious of the group and ran the full marathon; Todd, Anne, Angie, and Suze completed the half marathon, and I chose to complete the inaugural 10K Downhill Dash.

The Downhill Dash was a blast. The course covered the last 6.2 miles of the full marathon course and the conditions must have been in my favor–cool weather and a light rain or mist, along with a mostly downhill course allowed me to run my fastest 10K so far. I was just hoping for a sub-one hour time and met that goal by over two minutes.

After I picked up my race medal, received my post-race space blanket, and grazed my way through the amazingly well-

stocked food tables, I walked against the stream of racers to find the half-marathon crew. At about 2.5 miles in, I saw Anne. She was doing great and finished first among the half crew. At about 3 miles in, I saw Todd and Angie. They both had big smiles on their faces and were walking much faster than I had expected them to be. They were doing great.

With about one mile left, Todd decided to run and crossed the finish line next. I left the course with just a couple of blocks from the finish and Angie triumphantly completed her first half marathon. Suze crossed soon after that–also completing her first half marathon. I was so proud of both of them! Jen finished not too long after the walkers–and had a great, 4:27 time. Amazing.

The weekend was emotional–we were happy to spend time together and celebrate our continued friendships. The past few years have presented us all with a variety of emotional and physical challenges and I’m very thankful for the friendship and support of my Portland group. We spent the weekend, as usual, talking about the good and the bad that life brings.

Over the weekend we hatched possible future race plans–all running next year’s Portland half with daughters or nieces, all running Bloomsday in Spokane, or all running among the redwoods in California. Whatever we decide, one thing is certain: we all look forward to our annual get together, wherever that may be.

About the Portland Marathon:

Ranked as one of the best first time marathons (I would agree–it’s very well-organized and the course is great).

Best food at the end in terms of variety and abundance. Where most races will have a few items at the finish–the standard juice, bananas, bagels–Portland offers much more. I remember seeing several different types of yogurt, nuts, donuts, cheese sticks, chips, cookies, licorice, candy bars, and more. Oh, and along the course, you’ll also get Gummy Bears at some of the many well-placed drink stations.

Two shirts. By running the full or the half, you will receive a shirt in your goodie bag as well as a finishers’ shirt. And I love the finishers’ shirts–long-sleeved, nicely designed, and a great tech material. I didn’t get one this year since I only ran the 10K and was bummed.

Great crowd support. Even in the rain, the course is lined with lots of people cheering the runners.

Bridges. If you like running across bridges, you’ll get that in Portland’s full and 10K races.

Different Distances: Racers can complete the full marathon, which has been offered for the past forty years, the half marathon, which has been offered for the past two years, the 10K family walk (don’t know how long that’s been offered), and the 10K race–new this year.

Live Music. Portland has included live bands along the race course long before Rock and Roll marathons gained popularity. Even when it’s raining, the bands are out there, playing their hearts out.

Rain. Did you hear that it rains a lot in Portland? It’s true. When you plan to race in Portland, plan to run in the rain. Two of the three years I’ve run there, it’s rained. Just dress accordingly, put dry clothes in your gear bag for the end, and you’ll be fine.

2009 Love Your Body 10K (Salt Lake City)

Date: August 22, 2009

Love you body while wearing an extra small shirt!

Time: 1:02:42

This is the only 10K race I’ve ever done. Can I say crappy organization? The night before the race, it took over two hours to pick up the race packet. Awful. This was the only race I ever complained about with an e-mail to the race director. Also, the ultimate irony is that the race shirts were far too small–not something that encourages women to “love their body.”

Evidently, improvements have been made since, but I haven’t run this race again to find out.

Also, little did I know that I was pregnant at the time of the race. That was big news and part of another type of journey that came next in my life.