DBacks Race Against Cancer 5k: A Meaningful PR

I signed up for the Diamondbacks Race Against Cancer 5k sort of on a whim. A high school classmate posted on Facebook how her and her husband participated in it last year as part of a fundraiser/awareness for their daughter battling a rare type of cancer (DIPG). I remember when she shared that original post, the one where her daughter was present.

She wasn’t at this years.

For the 9 months or so that Gianna fought cancer, she did so with strength that I could never imagine. At 5 years-old, no little girl or boy should have to go through what she did. Her mom chronicled Gianna’s fight through her Facebook page, and there were times that I just couldn’t bear to see the posts. I would get so angry at the unfairness, so sad that there is so little treatment and research for what she was fighting.

Gianna the Warrior Princess

About two weeks ago or so, Gianna’s mom said they’d be back at the 5k event as part of the opening ceremony for the family fun walk portion of the race. She said they were organizing a team and that anyone who wanted to participate could join them. So I signed up knowing that the race would be done in Gianna’s memory.

The race is pretty popular and when I arrived, I didn’t think I’d be able to find Gianna’s mom. But as I was walking to the porta-potties, I spotted her. I gave her a big hug but I couldn’t say much.

I saw her again at the race start and when they announced why the parents were there, the tears began to flow.

Gianna’s mama in white

I gathered myself together because moments later, the race started and we were off.

There were no corrals but I positioned myself in the front. There were a lot of little kids who wanted to start right at the front but I didn’t mind because they were so excited. It was cool to see a lot of adults make room for them instead of grumbling that they were in the way (as I’ve seen in other races).

I ran unplugged, as I wanted to focus solely on Gianna’s bright spirit. I was running in her memory and wanted to be free of distraction.

My goal was also to PR. I didn’t know if I had it in me, but I was willing to try. At my first track workout last Wednesday with my coach, I did two 2Ks at 7:30ish pace, and it hadn’t felt too bad. So for the 5k, I wanted to shoot for a 7:15 first mile and then negative split.

When the first mile beeped 7:03 I thought I’d blown it. Way too fast and there was no way I could negative split with that as my starting point. But I didn’t let myself get too down or count myself out. I would simply continue to try and keep it under 7:15.

Mile two– 7:18 .

I was sooooo bummed. I really wanted to keep it under 7:15 and I felt like I was running fast (I mean, I was, but I thought it felt faster than 7:18, lol). I also thought that my secret long-shot mini goal of seeing a 6 was gone. If I hadn’t done it in the too fast first mile, there was no way I’d be able to have a six-minute-something mile 3

Well, wouldn’t you know it, my third mile was 6:57 !!!! You have no idea how I freaked out when I saw that. And then I saw that I was very close to getting under 22 minutes so I ran the fastest I think I ever have in a race…

Sub 6 minute mile for 30 seconds!! Whoa!!

And finally entered the 21 minute 5k club!!!!

6th Female Overall, 2nd Age Group–I’ll be presented my award at an upcoming baseball game!

When you finished, runners/walkers were able to take a victory lap inside the Diamondbacks stadium. I don’t go to baseball games often (as you can tell by my Instagram, I’m more of a basketball girl 😉 ) but it was fun to see it in a way I’ve never seen it.

In the dugout–Put me in coach!

When I was done, I called my husband and told him how bittersweet this PR was. I was happy, but I was sad.

I was there because a little girl wasn’t.

It’s easy sometimes to avoid sad things, avoid them so that you’re not affected. I chose to be there. I wanted to be. I never met Gianna, but she touched so many lives, and my own, in her short time on earth. I’m a different person, a different mother because of her. Because every time I think of Gianna, I think of my own little girl–and I hug her a little tighter, a little longer…

–Do you know someone affected by cancer? I feel like unfortunately so many of us do…

–Do you have a meaningful PR?


The Comment Turned Blog Post

I have no idea how or when I discovered Suzy’s blog but I thank the heavens above that I did. Her blog is everything I wish mine could be. In all aspects. She’s freaking fast so anytime she writes about her running, I’m green-eyed. She’s an amazing writer in general and super honest. When she writes about real life stuff, I wish I had the cajones to do so on mine. There’s def times I wish I would/could write more about life behind the running. There are moments when I’ll start a post about something non-running related, something that has been inside that needs to get out. And I know ultimately this blog can be about whatever I want….but I always seem to put those posts in the “save” folder and stick to the running topics.

I feel like there should be a picture here between paragraphs.

Suzy and me last January

But when I go visit Suzy’s little corner of the inter webs, I always look forward to her thought provoking posts and the questions at the end because that’s my moment to share with her (and anyone else who comes across my comments, lol!) some of what’s happening in this little ‘ol brain of mine.

Her most recent post ended with these bad boys:

What does your what-for look like, usually? Do you need a smack around today?

What do people usually criticize you about? Is it true, or are they just being jerks?

If you’re Type A, what are the pros? What are the cons? Would you rather not be a Type A?

What helps you be more chill, or do you wish you weren’t so relaxed all the time? Do you wish you had more oomph?

And when I started answering, I found I had a lot more to say than what is normal for a comment on someone’s blog. I know Suzy loves me, but I knew she’d probably prefer I call her or text her rather than leave a blog post in her comment section, lol!

People don’t typically criticize me to my face (thankfully, jaja!), but I do know that something that drives my friends and family nuts (and I’m completely self-aware because I criticize myself more than anyone else), is that I’m pretty uptight. I’m very particular, picky, opinionated, and whatever other synonym that means the same or close. Most times, I’m able to keep others from being affected by my…issues…but the other day, I completely vomited an opinion when it was better left in my mouth (or stomach or whatever). It was so unlike me and I immediately apologized, but like any purge, there’s an after taste that lingers for a while.

Suzy’s Type A question kinda relates… My personality thrives on routine and structure so those can be seen as pros. I feel like my success with Hanson’s Marathon Method was largely due to its rigid plan. I like knowing what to expect each day and crossing it off when I was done.

But, life doesn’t work like a Hanson’s Marathon Method training plan. So when I’m thrown a curveball in the structured day I’ve so carefully planned, I get a lot little frustrated. Sometimes I wish was more relaxed and go-with-the-flow, but that’s just not how I’m wired.

What helps me chill is running. My husband, my ying-to-my-yang (i.e. The Calm One), knows that when I’m getting a little anxious about things/life/adulting, I need to run and leave it out on the pavement. I’m able to not let my anxiousness overwhelm me because running allows me to process whatever is going on in my head.

And yet, despite having these often seen as negative traits– actually because of it–that’s where my oomph comes from. While I may not be overly spontaneous, my oomph comes from thinking about things beforehand, putting thought and purpose into everything I do. It’s not an exciting oomph, but I think it’s still pretty emphatic 🙂

How would you answer Suzy’s questions? Where does your oomph come from?

Alright, Let’s Get This BQ Training Party Started!!!

Saturday, April 1st began my first workout with my coach! I’ll talk more about my coach and why I decided to go that route in another post, but for now, the BQ train has begun its 6 month voyage to ST. GEORGE MARATHON!!!

I laced up my special edition Boston Marathon Newton Fates and joined a friend for an early 8 miler on Saturday. I’d had these shoes in my closet for over year–telling myself then that I’d only bring them out when I decided to train for a Boston Qualifier. A year ago, I *never* thought I’d attempt it. I seriously can’t believe that I’m signed up to actually try for it!

Eye on the Prize


I hope you join me on this crazy, new journey!! I’ll be documenting my workouts and commitment to healthier eating (OMG) here and hope that having this blog/outlet helps with accountability.