Run for the ROC
Monday, September 29, 2014
Yesterday, I participated in the Run for the ROC 5K, a fundraiser for a local radiation/oncology center. I’ve done this race before and it’s always fun. It takes place on the grounds of the historic Saratoga Race Course, and it’s a unique opportunity to run through the paddocks and backstretch areas that are usually closed to the public.
Since returning from vacation, I’ve been fighting a fever just feeling generally achy…no idea why. So I knew it would be a bit of a struggle, but I still wanted to do it. The weather was much warmer than it typically is this time of year, so I knew the heat and humidity would be a factor. When I was warming up, my legs were tired and felt like I was running through mud.
The race was crowded, so I spent most of the first mile trying to find my own space. Shortly after that, my right knee started to hurt. I kept running on it, while in my head I told myself that I could keep trying to run the whole race, which would most likely knock me out of my next two races on October 11 and October 18, or I could walk a bit, and rest my knee. I opted for the walk. I would maintain a walk/run pace for the balance of the race, not always because of my knee…sometimes it was just that inner voice in my head that I can’t seem to beat. This summer, I have proven to myself over and over that I can run the whole distance, with no walk breaks. But apparently, I just can’t during a race.
The last half mile was made much easier because there was a band playing and members of the local high school football team were cheering us in. Nice! As I rounded the turn into the finish area in front of the Grandstand, I saw the time on the clock and it was better than I thought it would be. So I really began to push…until I saw the tiny hand of a child of maybe 4 or 5 reaching out, wanting to high five a runner. His mom was waiting behind him with her phone to take a picture of him high fiving someone, but everyone was running past him. So I stopped and high fived the little guy. His mom was thrilled and he was ecstatic! Even though I lost a bit of time, it gave me the final push I needed to really sprint to the finish. My official time was 36:14, less than a minute slower than the personal record from my race in August. Not bad considering the amount of time I walked.
Since the race, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand the disappointment I was feeling. I already know I can do it, so why do I care that I didn’t? And I took it a bit easier because of my knee so that I know I will be able to race again in two weeks. What’s wrong with that? And, really, who cares about the finish time on the clock…I got outside on a beautiful day, and ran/walked through the race track grounds for a good cause. And I got to high five a cool little kid and made his day at the same time. What’s not to like?
The truth is, I know I will never win a race, probably not even medal in my age group, and that’s okay. That’s not why I do it. I started running to lose the last of my weight, and I continue to run to maintain my goal weight, which I’m doing.
So to that end, I guess I am a winner!