Saturday we ventured to DC (50 miles from our home) to participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K. My 8 year old Samantha has participated in this race for 8 years – this year was her 9th year. The first 7 years I pushed her in the jogging stroller; this was her 2nd year running it.
She was pretty excited and was determined she would beat Jeff’s Mom, Ramona, and her friend Pat who were participating as walkers – but walk very fast! Samantha even trained a few times on my treadmill and planned that she needed to be at or under a 12:00 mile to beat Ramona!
We left at 5:30am to drive to the nearest metro stop (Branch Avenue) in Suitland, Maryland. The parking at this metro is super easy (back parking is the best!) and we easily made our way into the station and bought a few more tickets. Last year was Ramona’s metro initiation and this year it was Pat’s turn! We were lucky to immediately get on a train and after a short wait we were off. Samantha would not, could not sit still! She was in a super great mood and loves the metro. The 8 stops went by fairly quick and we were soon at the Archives metro stop. In hindsight, we probably should have gotten off at the L’Enfant stop – with most of the other participants – but the walk to the start looked the same distance. Ummm…I think I was wrong…it was quite a long walk.
The start line was moved from farther down the mall to right beside the Washington Monument – same start as the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. Since Jeff was running and wanted to get in line and since Ramona & Pat were walking, we all split up. I grabbed Samantha’s hand and we headed for the port-a-potties….ahhhhhh….no lines!!! We were able to get back to the start line with :15 to spare!
There isn’t a lot of runners in this race, so even with an 8 year old I decided to get fairly close to the start. No one seemed to mind and we could see the fast runners (like Jeff) quite a bit in front of us. Samantha surprised me with her excitement as she did some stretches as we waited for the start. We fiddled with the iPod in hopes that my ear buds (drats, I forgot hers!) would stay in her tiny ears. Soon we were off! Samantha took off at about a 9:00 pace – the ear buds immediately popped out and she unclipped the iPod and handed it to me – without stopping. I kept glancing at my Garmin just knowing she would slow down – and she did…but only to about a 9:30 pace.
My ITBS issues in my left knee began hurting just after a ½ mile – ugh – but I quickly remembered I would be running slow and/or walking soon…but that didn’t happen…she kept on going and going and going. Around ¾ of a mile she grabbed her stomach and said “owww, it hurts!” – so I told her to slow down, and finally we slowed to a 10:00. She was happy to see the 1 mile marker and now
began talking…almost non-stop! Whenever she got farther in front of me, she would look back and shout “C’mon Mommy!” – and I would get smiles and laughter from those around me. I honestly do not remember the scenery from the first part of the race. I think I was too engrossed in watching and taking pictures of Samantha! We stayed on a 10:00 pace as we hit a turnaround point where we could see Jeff – way off in the distance…with the fast runners! And even more exciting was to see how many thousands of runners were behind us still – this made Samantha smile…yeah, she’s a wee bit competitive. She informed me that Ramona and Pat were “probably waaaayyy behind us” – which made her smile even bigger!
I love the feeling of being in a race and love the friendly nature of everyone on the course – and it seems at this race and at this pace, people were extremely nice. It was interesting to see an over-6 foot tall man slow his run to high-five Samantha and another that took my camera and ran ahead of us to snap a picture of us running together. As we noticed survivors in their magenta race shirts my dedication for the cause became even deeper. My mother is a two time breast cancer survivor and my grandmother fought breast cancer until her death 5 years ago. I was racing for a cure – I pray that before my beautiful daughter grows up there is a cure…but until then, we will continue to support the cause and to run this race every year. My reflection was quickly interrupted by the chatting 8 year old beside me requesting another drink of Gatorade!
It was a gorgeous run back into the city. The sky was cloudy and the view of the Washington Monument was nice (it is under repair – so not breathtaking!). I enjoyed running past the Jefferson Memorial – it was a photo opportunity! The course was flat and fast – and we proved that as we made our way to the 3 mile mark still at a 10:00 pace. I saw Jeff waiting for us near the finish line and he was shocked when I called his name and he saw us – and yes, I was beaming with pride at my little runner. She sprinted to the finish line and finished with a chip time of 31:28. She was tired, but she was also excited and proud – almost as much as me! We waited a little while to find Ramona and Pat who finished the walk near the front of the pack – got to persuade them to register as runners next time since they walk faster than a lot of runners!
There seemed to be a lack of freebies and snacks at the finish line this year and I walked around quite a bit looking for the items we got in previous years. There were bananas, granola bars, juice, and sun chips – so we did get something. I will have to say the finish area was not as congested as it has been in years past (perhaps due to the lack of give-aways?) and the separate (walker and runner) finish lines helped to keep things more spread out, so it was nice to not have the mobs of people at the finish this year…and I loved the new course!!!
I am glad we did this race again this year, we had a great time and look forward to next years event! If you want to run a race and be truly inspired by all of the survivors – this is an event you don’t want to miss!