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Running for a Cause

Saturday I completed my 3rd sanctioned 5K. An MFP buddy, WiseBadger53 and I were on different courses, in different states, but we ran 5Ks at the exact same time. It was his first - you know, he was a race virgin before that!

Before you get the impression that I am sort of running action hero figure, I want to make it clear that I never ran a 5K in my teens, my 20s or my 30s, or even my 40s. I had a whole bunch of other things that seemed more important than my health. I smoked for 20 years and ate whatever I wanted.

It took me a year to do C25K!

As most of you already know, that heart attack got my attention last year and I have been on the Get Healthy or Die Train ever since.

Of course my first race, an American Heart Association run was awesome because I simply finished. The second, a memorial to a fallen policeman in a local town, was great because I finished in well under 30 minutes.

What is it about the third one that makes it more special than the others? I ran it in memory of my mother who died of pancreatic cancer on September 14, 2001. It's an awful disease and I hate it. The race proceeds benefited Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

This was the race I was training for. It was going to be my best time ever.

My little team from the YMCA showed up on a gorgeous sunny morning. We did a short warm up, took our customary team photo, did some stretching together, and jogged around near the starting line until the race was about to get under way. I got a lot of thumbs up for my Cancer Sucks t-shirt!

The adrenalin rush on race day is always welcome, and Saturday I needed it. I took 3 big hits playing hockey on Wednesday night and bruised my ribs and cracked one too. If I had known, I might not have run. (I didn't get an X-ray until Sunday.)

I had read a horrifying story about pre-medicating with Motrin before a race, so I decided not to. Besides I cranked out 2 miles the day before in record time. I was feeling good - well, good enough.

The gun went off, and 200+ runners pushed through the start gate. I had a good pace going to start and cruised along to Lenny Cravitz. I thought of how my mom would have enjoyed this beautiful day as I ran on the brick walk beneath the majestic maples. I passed a large group of runners looking for some space to get back on the mark.

As I rounded the first corner and pushed on up a short hill those ribs started to hurt. The most annoying thing about bruised ribs is that they hurt more with deeper breaths. I thought quickly that I only had to run 15 or so more minutes and I could easily do that.

As the pack started to thin out we crossed the dam on the reservoir. The fresh cut suburban grass and the smell of lilacs was in the air; the water glistened in the midday sun. Again I thought about my mother...

The stabbing pain in my side was growing and up ahead there was the half-way water stop. I don't hydrate (<<-- MFP nerd terminology!) while I am running, but a quick refreshing mouthful was tempting. I slowed enough to grab a cup from one of the volunteers. Drinking and running never goes well for me. Did I say that coughing and bruised ribs are not friends?

I could see my teammate up ahead a few hundred yards - she is often the pace setter and we are always close in time; each of us having a win over the other. I started thinking this is the best of 3 series and I am falling behind. I picked up the pace on a level section of the track. However; the pounding became too intense and my breathing was off.

With about 1/2 a mile left, I just got in as comfortable a groove as possible wishing it was all over. Then it occurred to me that my mother hadn't given up when she was in pain. She did everything that she could do to keep her life as close to normal as possible during the treatments. We spoke on the phone the day she died.

I pressed on.

In fact I sprinted the last 400 yards as fast as I could go. I passed more than a dozen runners as I blasted across the finish line at 11.7 MPH.

Here is how it turned out:
Your Chip Time -  30:03
Your Time -  30:10    
Overall Place - 59
Division (50-59) - 5
Sex Place - 43
Your pace per mile -  9:42

Because the race was a tad longer than 5K here is my 5K time. 29:20 It wasn't my best time, but it was by far my best effort.

Tell us about someone that you would run in honor of?

76 votes + -


pittsblue99 wrote 81 months ago:
I have to say that my eyes teared up as I was reading this. That is an awesome 5K time, especially with bruised ribs - way to go! I run for my son...he has cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder, severe developmental delays, and numerous other medical handicaps. He is not able to crawl or sit up and he struggles just to be able to roll over. I have a body that works just fine and I needed to start using it. The last mile of any run that I do is for him.
76wendyful wrote 81 months ago:
I still don't run 5Ks, but I do walk them. Every September I walk in honor of my friend Sarah who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36. She is a survivor and I too think of the strength she had when she was going through treatment and it helps me through it!
cessnaholly wrote 81 months ago:
I ran my first official 5k (first race in my whole life) for my husband who has MS. He used to run in high school and in the navy. Now he's hard pressed to run to the driveway from the front door. I ran the MS Society race. I finished last. It took me a little over 1 hour. He met me at the finish line with a big grin and a big hug.
ADM1979 wrote 81 months ago:
I would walk for both of my Grandmothers. Both of these wonderful ladies passed away in my teenage years and both of the ugliness of heart disease. You have inspired me. And from today on, I will walk for these women who inspired me. Thank you!
staroftheeast wrote 81 months ago:
i haven't run a race yet but I love the shirt. I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment. I would run in honor off my grandfather who had leukemia, my friend Betsy who lost her battle with colon cancer yesterday, my sister in law who so far is cancer free after breast cancer trestment, my brother who was treated last year for testicular cancer that had spread and for several well known people who lost battles with cancer. Thanks for the post. Take care of those ribs.
CourtLiv wrote 81 months ago:
My best friend, without a doubt the greatest guy ever, died of a massive heart at the age of 23...that isn't a typo, he was 23. It makes me tear up just typing this.

He had his whole life ahead of him and he didn't get to stick around long enough to enjoy what this world has to offer. It was a strong dose of perspective for me, something most 20-somethings need, but not under these terms.

Nevertheless, when the small stuff gets to me, I think of his parents and his sister. I'm pretty sure that they would take the small stuff any day.

Jonathan is my motivation, he keeps me level, and never lets me forget what is most's never the small stuff!

Once my TBI (head injury) heals and I am cleared to put my feet back on the pavement, you can count on one thing for certain...I'll be running for him.
neverlost wrote 81 months ago:
Great job on your race, you are an inspiration to me.

One day I hope to run a race in honor of my late husband. He was my best friend; we spent 16 great years together. Lost him to colon/liver cancer when our son was 12. Only had 5 months from the time he was diagnosed to his last day. So heartbreaking. Cancer sucks.
anacsitham5 wrote 81 months ago:
I just did a 5k walk on Sunday for the 2012 Hospice Memorial Walk in memory of my friend Karen who died from lung cancer the day before her 50th birthday.

I didn't run, but I would like to one of these years. I did my 5k in 36 minutes, which is almost 5 mph. This could be my inspiration to run one. There is one in August, but I'm actually too afraid to even try it.
denigri wrote 81 months ago:
Anacsitham5: Remember....nothing ventured, nothing gained. Go for it!!!!!!
rschmmidt wrote 81 months ago:
Someday I will run, for my sister-in-law Sally who just had her last chemo and for my friend Patty who is in remission. Two strong women.
You are awesome. Thanks for the post.
wisebadger53 wrote 81 months ago:
You are the best my friend! Your mother would be proud of your grit and determination as you have fought this battle over the last year...and succeeded! Now get that rib healed up so you can continue to inspire us to exceed our goals!
Rick_SH wrote 81 months ago:
John, awesome story sir. I run in honor of my daughter who is a Leukemia survivor. I run with Team In Training and serve on their board to help find a way to cure cancer. Cancer sucks!! I want to see if eradicated. Someday soon I hope.

Your mom would be proud of you.
gooseafur wrote 81 months ago:
Great blog! Great job on running with bruised ribs!! My motivation for the June 2nd 5K will be for Autism Awareness! My oldest son has a mild form of Autism and will be celebrating his 9th birthday in June!! He has come so far in his young life, so I will run for him!
beebee0925 wrote 81 months ago:
Great blog post. I haven't done a 5k in over ten years but now I'm on week 4 of the C25k training so I would eventually like to do one in honor of my mom. She's a breast cancer survivor. Fortunately she's always had regular mammograms so they were able to starttreatment in the early stages of her cancer.
H_Factor wrote 81 months ago:
great story. I turned 40 last year and I didn't run a 5K before then. Hell, before last year, the best I ran was one stinkin' mile...because it was required as part of my 9th grade physical education class. I too found all sorts of "better things" to do than to run. Kudos to you for honoring your mother and gutting it through the cracked rib. Hopefully you will allow that rib to heal now.
odditblue wrote 81 months ago:
tmoyer1209 wrote 81 months ago:
What an awesome perspective you used to get across the finish line! After witnessing the pain of one dying from cancer it does put our pain in perspective. I was amazed that you did so well considering the level of pain you were in, one broken rib was enough to leave me crazy with it, and you had so much more! You are a wonderful example of dedication and an inspiration. thank you for all you do and for sharing your life with us! Kisses and hugs !

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