Sunday, September 19, 2010

Kickin' into high gear for Kickin' Cancer

At 9 a.m. the starting shot sounded and 2,000 bodies pressed forward.  Those at the front of the pack were off to a fast start on this sunny and mild day in Los Angeles.  Those of us in the middle of the pack were off to a decidedly slower but no less enthusiastic start as the music blared and the crowd cheered.

Today was the 9th annual Lynne Cohen Foundation Kickin' Cancer 5K run/walk and the entirety of Team FORCE, me included, was in the middle of the pack where it took at least a minute and quite possibly several minutes to even cross the starting line.  It has been more than 20 years since I have run in such an event with so many runners.  The last time I ran this type of event I was 20 years younger and running 6 days  a week.  This time I am not only older, which clearly has changed my running immeasurably, but I am also a mere 6 weeks post-op and not fully back into shape.  For the first 4 weeks after my BSO and hysterectomy my only exercise was walking, slowly at first then gradually increasing to a normal pace and for longer periods of time.  Two weeks ago I began adding a little very slow jogging to my walks, starting with only half a mile or so at the end of a walk.  Just more than a week ago I realized that if I was actually going to attempt running (jogging actually) this 5K then I was going need to kick my workouts into high gear so to speak.  In the past 9 days I have either run or been to the gym 7 times with three runs that were at least three miles.  These runs were not nearly as easy as I had hoped but I did know that I could compete the course, provided I didn't start too fast and run out of steam.


Team FORCE had 21 members and raised more than $8,500 to support FORCE and the Lynne Cohen Foundation in their work to enable under served women to have access to genetic testing and to find a cure for ovarian cancer.  My FORCE sister Robin graciously agreed to run with me and the rest of Team FORCE was composed of walkers.  Robin and I got off to a slow start because of our location in the middle of the crowd but within the first half mile we found a comfortable pace and the crowed thinned.  Robin only ran with me so that I would not be running alone, as she said she has not run in "a long, long time" (she only bikes).  It became clear to me within the first mile, however, that Robin is in far better aerobic shape than am I.  At the half way point I was breathing hard and having difficulty with our ongoing conversation, although the pace was still comfortable.  Robin seemed to have not broken a sweat and was not breathing hard at all.  When I told her it was clear that even though she claimed to no longer be a runner, she was in far better shape than I am she graciously reminded me that it has been 10 months since her most recent surgery, whereas it has only been 6 weeks for me. 

We did complete the 3.2 mile course without stopping (I did slow down a bit in the 3rd mile) and crossed the finish line in under 30 minutes.  Neither of us knows how long it took us to cross the start line after the official start of the race but we are assuming it was about 2 minutes, thereby making our time about 28ish minutes.  Considering my age, my recent surgery, and my lack of "training," I am quite proud of that time.  Next year, maybe I will do better.  But for today, I could not be happier with my own efforts and more importantly, with the outstanding fund raising work done by Team FORCE for this important cause!

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