Sunday, May 18, 2008

Steps to the Cure 5K

Participating in this race was a must for me, since it was a benefit for the Parkinson Foundation of the Heartland. My grandmother suffers from Parkinson's. It's difficult to watch the progression of this disease in someone you love. I remember when I was a child and the tremors developed in her hands and head. In recent years, she's lost about 90% of her coordination. So, this was really important for me to do.

In addition to our regular bib numbers, they gave us another bib to write the name of a loved one we were running for. I had this pinned to my back during the race:

Several family members came to watch the event. Angie, my parents, three uncles and two aunts all cheered me on. It was great having them all there, but I'll admit it made me really nervous. I was afraid I'd do poorly and embarrass myself.

When I picked up my packet a couple days ago, the race coordinator was telling me what a wonderfully flat course it was. Eeeesh. If that was a flat course, then I have a lot to learn about
running. I wouldn't say it was hilly, exactly, but there were quite a few generous inclines and declines. It was a lot like last week's race. There were several occasions I wanted to slow down to a walk, but I had three factors motivating me. First, I tried to remember that my grandmother doesn't have the ability to run (or even walk more than a few assisted steps), so I could definitely get through a few minutes of discomfort to honor her. Secondly, a good chunk of my family was there, and I didn't want to look like a chump. Third, I knew there were bananas and water a couple miles away. Family, fear of embarrassment, and food- the motivation trifecta.

In previous races, I haven't had any water at the halfway point, but today I felt like I needed it. Sadly, most of the water wound up down my front instead of inside my mouth.

When I was about 0.10 miles from the finish, I spied the clock and it said 27:00 on it. Crap. I wanted to break my record, but I only had 48 seconds to do it. Digging deep, I found the energy I needed and kicked my legs as hard as I could.

I made it in 27:40, which beats last week's time by 9 seconds. Whew, that was close!

My family members gathered around and gave me big pats on the back. At this point, I was really out of breath and thought I'd hurl at any second, so I just smiled and remained silent, trying to collect myself. Finally, I was able to talk and tell them about the experience.

It was so wonderful supporting the Parkinson's cause. During a speech after the race, a special award was given to a volunteer who raised over $12,000 for the charity. She said it was a thrill knowing one of the dollars donated might be the dollar that finally cures Parkinson's disease. That brought tears to my eyes.

After the race, I had the best (and longest) shower of my life, then Angie and I headed out for a well-deserved gigantic salad and cupcake. Everything tastes better after running your ass off, so those calories were definitely not wasted.


Melanie said...

Congratulations Morgan! I got chills just reading about your runnig experience. What a great cause to run for and I bet your Grammy is very proud. You look fantastic in the picture of you running! You really inspire me.

The Lady of Things Forgotten said...

That completely kicks ass. You rock!

G.G. said...

Way to go! Great picture.

Julie said...