There come moments in every woman’s life when she must toot her own horn a teensy bit.
This past Sunday, Albuquerque hosted the Susan G. Komen Central New Mexico Race for the Cure 5K, and I won! I was the first woman to finish – for the third year in a row!!
Ok, enough tooting.
Conditions for the race were fantastic, with temps in the 50s and negligible wind. I parked in the UNM football stadium parking lot and trotted across the street to Isotopes Park (“The Lab”), home of our AAA baseball team and site of the race’s start and finish.
It’s probably politically incorrect to criticize anything about the Race for the Cure, but I’m gonna do it. I know the event focuses much more on The Cause than on the race part of it; I’ve accepted this. But still. Exhibit A: not one blessed race volunteer seemed to know where the starting line was. Exhibit B: they only had two bathrooms open, out of at least four. Two bathrooms for thousands of women. Picture it.
But! To the race organizers’ credit, they did have timing chips this year. In past years, the finish line folks just kind of jotted down your name and estimated time. Hooray for progress!
After finally confirming the starting place and taking care of my last pre-race potty visit, I edged up to the starting line, ready to defend my title and feeling sassily festive in my pink shorts, pink socks, and pink shades.
This year’s out-and-back route commanded my respect, with the first half seemingly one long uphill. By the last mile, my breathing had acquired a distinct panting quality, and proportionately, my mid-race slobbering definitely pushed the “sort-of-demure” levels at which I normally try to keep it.
But positives definitely outweighed any negatives. Lots of wonderful ladies cheered me on as I ran back along the return route – they didn’t care about my panting or slobbering, God love them. And at the end of the race, no matter how the course changes otherwise, you always get to run right into Isotopes Park and take a lap on the “warning path.” So cool.
Afterwards, during the awards ceremony, a lady who has won repeatedly in the Survivor category talked about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, cheerily saying “Running is grrreat for that!” [not like Tony the Tiger, mind you, but with a fabulous French accent]. And as the one guy who beat me received his medal, he quietly said that he ran in honor of his wife, a breast cancer survivor. Just little reminders that it’s fun to go out and kick butt, but it feels even better to do it in such a supportive, celebratory environment.
With that, I’m looking ahead and looking forward to this Sunday’s Day of the Tread Half-Marathon. And for anyone else out there running in this race-heavy month of October, go out, be supportive, and be proud of yourself.