Heroes in Recovery 6k–Last Race of 2016 and a Special One

Sunday marked the last race of what has been an incredible running year for me. It’s fitting that I ended with a race that meant something to me and that was for a special cause.

Heroes in Recovery has a simple mission: to eliminate the social stigma that keeps individuals with addiction and mental health issues from seeking help, to share stories of recovery for the purpose of encouragement and inspiration, and to create an engaged sober community that empowers people to get involved, give back, and live healthy, active lives. It takes a heroic effort to live clean and sober each day, and a Heroes 6K* celebrates that effort. The sixth kilometer separates a Heroes race from a typical 5K to symbolize the extra effort it takes to sustain recovery. The six kilometers also represent the six letters in the word HEROES.

If you’ve been a reader for a while, than you know that my brother is a big inspiration to me. I’ve shared his story before, and I’m so proud to say that he continues his life of sobriety to this day. And still runs!

What I haven’t shared, and I’m not completely ready to share a lot, is that my dad also battled with drug and alcohol abuse his and my entire life. What I do want to share is that the beginning of December marked SIX MONTHS of sobriety for him.

I’m so incredibly happy you guys. For so long, I wished and prayed for this for my family. I know the battle will be tough for my dad, that he’ll go through rough patches, but I’m comforted knowing he’s in the best position he’s ever been to be successful this time.


The race didn’t start til 9 a.m. which was nice because whoa was it cold. I had a ton of friends who were also running and we all huddled together for body warmth. And took pictures of course πŸ™‚


It was a smallish race so I knew if I had a good day I could maybe snag an age group award. There was prize money for the overall winners and 2nd, 3rd, and 4th male and female, but I knew I had no chance for that.

My friend Ashely–who I ran with for a bit at the Scottsdale Half–and I settled in near the start to avoid the crowds. I wanted to be around the 7:30 mark for the first mile and then go from there.

Yeah, no. Mile one was 7:22 . Close, but because I wanted to negative split it meant having to go faster than that and that was a little scary.

The course went through the Riparian Preserve and it was really pretty and scenic.

There were two out and back sections that went through the canal but the whole course was flat and fast.

So fast, that my second mile was 7:08 .

It was then that an old familiar sensation crept in. PANIC . I felt myself start to freak out at having done that mile so fast. It was just like old times where I started yelling to myself, “Helly, you’ve blown it!! There’s no way you’ll be able to keep this up! You have more than a mile left! Are you crazy?? You’re for sure going to bonk now!!” I felt myself slow a little as I battled the thoughts in my brain. I felt fine, like I wasn’t going to be bonking anytime soon, but the thought that I was so close to a 6 scared the shit out of me.

Mile 3, 7:18 . I was bummed I didn’t get the negative split I wanted but I knew it was because I had lost the mental battle.

I told myself to hurry up and finish as I had counted myself 9th female and my chances of age group placing were good. I ran the last .77 at a 7:12 pace–



A top ten finish and second age group win made the race a success, but like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the real winners are my brother and dad, who every day in their recovery show me that we can do hard things ❀

love you brother, love you dad

love you brother, love you dad

–Who are your running inspirations?

–How do you overcome mental battles while you run?


10 responses

  1. this is a great post- and a cause that is near and dear to my heart.

    i totally relate to that feeling that i’ve ‘blown it’ when i push my pace in a race. those are some really awesome paces…the 7’s are good looking on a Garmin.

    congrats on all your hard work!

  2. That is such great news about your dad. It is never too late. Did you listen to Denny’s podcast interview with Gene? You’d like it. Congrats on such a great race! You’re such an incredible woman. I love you to bits.

  3. What a fabulous race and how meaningful to be able to run it and celebrate the success of your brother and dad! ❀
    I can totally relate to feeling scared by what I see on my watch. In my half and full this year there were points where I had to tell myself not to look at my watch, because I knew if I saw a “fast” pace I would think I couldn’t keep it up. Would you ever run a 5k or 10k without a watch (or further, but I know for myself I couldn’t give up the control of going watchless in a goal half or full)? You.Are.Fast. Believe it my friend!! xo

    • Thank you so much, Katrina!! I think I just need to get used to seeing paces like that, lol!

      I’ve gotten to the point where I only look at my watch when it beeps the mile (and I don’t look during, but run by feel) and adjust my pace if needed. I really just need to not freak out and trust my body a little more.

      I miss you blogging!!! What’s next for you??? ❀

  4. My running inspiration is God because he gave me these legs to run with!!
    And music (like disco and old school), make me really happy! πŸ˜ƒ