This morning I had the pleasure of participating in a race close to home, Smiles for Sophie Birthday Bash & Dash 5K, that benefits a local charity. Smiles for Sophie Forever, is a foundation dedicated to confronting Pediatric Brain Cancer, and named in honor of a little girl who sadly lost her battle with brain cancer a few years prior.
Cancer has had a huge impact on my life, and whenever I can participate in a fundraiser or race to raise money and awareness to fight this horrible disease, I jump at the chance.
Just moments before the race officially started, everyone participating in the event sang Happy Birthday to dear Sophie, as she was born on Independence Day in 2003. I have to admit, though I typically don’t get teary-eyed, I did choke up a little bit by the end of the song. I’m sure Sophie was an amazing little girl, whom her family loved so much, and my heart ached for them on this day.
Another amazing twist of the race, was everyone was handed a carnation, either in red, white or blue prior to the start. We were instructed to drop our flower on the front yard of Sophie’s home, in honor and memory of her. What an awesome idea!
At the start of the race, I hadn’t really determined what my finish time goal would be, I just wanted to get in a good workout, and have fun. I started out pretty strong, and tried my hardest to hold on. Before I knew it, we came upon Sophie’s lawn and I tossed my carnation into her yard. Shortly after this, we entered the second mile of the race. I admit I was feeling a little sorry for myself, as I tend to do during mile 2 of a 5K, it’s when the race begins to really hurt. I didn’t let my woe-is-me attitude stick around for long, I dug deep and thought about this little girl who were celebrating, and decided to dedicate my race to her, and I refused to let myself give up, and I wanted to finish as strong as I could.
During the race I missed all of the mile markers, I seriously had no clue what my pace was, but it just felt great to run hard! I was pleasantly surprised to finish in 20:13, good enough for 5th overall female, 2nd in my age group and was my second fastest 5K finish to date! This race was really well attended, which made me so happy, and it attracted some speed racers! The overall female ran an 18:08 and overall male clocked a 14:57, holy canoli!
Another fabulous thing about the day, I knew a handful of the participants! Mommaberries and my brother chose to participate, they have been visiting for the weekend, it was a great family affair! Also, my girl Kimi and a few more of my favorite CLE runners: Jess, Justin & Ryan ran their faces off! Everyone did so well! I’m sure Kimi, Jess & Justin will have some great race reports up on their blog in the near future. In very exciting news, Mommaberries set a 5 minute PR in the 5K walk! Talk about a PR party!
All and all this was a fabulous event and the perfect way to kick-off Independence Day, with a reminder of how precious life truly is, and an opportunity to celebrate!