Last year when I walked in the Susan G Komen 5K Race for the Cure, I was amazed by the crowds. As I walked with thousands of others, I started wondering how crowded the running part of the Race would be. My older son had run in a marathon, my husband would be running in one the next month, and my younger son had signed up for a triathlon. Yet I just plugged away at walking. A germ of an idea planted itself in my brain…
My husband had been using a run-walk method promoted by marathon runner, Jeff Galloway. While I couldn’t imagine myself running 5K without a break, this didn’t sound too bad. I started my training the next month, running 10 seconds out of every minute. My enthusiastic husband came along, encouraging me and pushing me to increase the run time. Slowly, I did. After awhile I was doing three miles (close to 5K) at a 30 second/30 second run/walk ratio. And it wasn’t that bad! There were discouraging days, of course, when I felt about as energetic as a sloth and wondered if this was a stupid idea. But I always did have a stubborn streak, and I kept on.
Two days ago I ran the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K Run in Portland, Oregon. I ran two minutes for every minute I walked. The crowd around me encouraged me to pick up my pace, and my husband slowed his own pace to stay by my side. Cheerleaders encouraged us along the way. Bands played. It was–and I never thought I would say this about running–fun. By the time we reached the end, my face was red, my hair dripped with sweat, and my legs ached. But I made it!
My triumph was dwarfed by the courage of some I saw around me. A woman with bald head–no doubt due to chemo–passed me as I ran. Whole families ran or walked with tags on their backs listing the names of those in whose memory they raced. A 95-year-old grandmother pushed her walker in the one mile walk–a walk that was led by a 99-year-old lady. It felt good to be there, good to be part of a group racing so that, someday, this race will no longer be needed.