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Wanna Be Cancer Free 5K Race Recap

This morning I ran the Wanna Be Cancer Free 5K to support my friend Dominique from Free To Be Athlete. One of her team members has a rare form of cancer, Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, and organized this non-profit to support the fight against cancer through the promotion of a healthy, athletic lifestyle. This was the inaugural race and I think it was a huge success. They had over 300 runners and everything was perfectly organized.

The race started at 8:30 so it was nice to be able to sleep until 7 and take my time getting there. The event took place at a local high school so there was tons of parking and space. I met up with Dominique before the race to snap a picture. I took a few warmup laps around the parking lot because it was gray, damp and kinda cold. Also, I cannot go from 0 to 100 mph when I run 5Ks. A little warmup is required!

We lined up at the start and the gun went off promptly at 8:30. I went out fast as I always do with 5Ks but settled into a 7:45ish pace. I knew pretty immediately that this wasn’t going to be a PR or even super competitive day for me. I was coming off of two days of tough strength workouts along with babying my hip. I just didn’t have it in my legs today.

The course took us through a big subdivision and I appreciated that there were very few significant hills.

The race finished with a lap around the high school track. I actually liked finishing that way because I could clearly see the finish and tell myself it was just a 400 meter sprint. I caught a photo of Dominique bringing it home.

I finished in around 24:12. It was my slowest 5K in two years but the best I had in me today. I was shocked when Dominique texted me after the race to tell me I placed third in our age group. What a surprise.

After the race I met up with reader Elizabeth who won the race entry giveaway. She left the following comment on my blog explaining why she wanted to run the Wannabe Cancer Free 5K…

“I want to run for my grandmother who I never met due to her dying of cancer at 45. My dad says I look just like her. I want to run for my grandma who passed away four years ago while I was stationed at Bragg and I couldn’t get leave to go see her. I want to run for me. Because it fills me with hope that I can beat cancer if I ever got it. Running makes me physically, mentally and emotionally strong. I want to run for those who can’t hug there grandmothers because of cancer.”

I loved talking with Elizabeth. She is in the Army and stationed in Fort Bragg. She just returned from a deployment in Afghanistan and participated in the Marine Corps Marathon while she was there (they run it on the same day) and was the top female finisher with a time of around 3:30. Pretty incredible, huh? I am so honored that Elizabeth drove into Charlotte this morning for the race.

This 5K was a wonderful way to start my Saturday! Thank you Dominique for inviting me and Elizabeth for participating!

How do you deal when you realize you’re having an “off” race day? 

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Ann December 8, 2012, 8:43 pm

    Wow, what a surprise read that your friends team member has ACC. I am a 12 year survivor of Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, it is very rare indeed. What a small world! Your time of 24:12 is awesome lady . . . be proud of yourself. I tend to be hard on myself when I don’t get the time I hoped for though 🙂

  • Carrie @ Fitness and Frozen Grapes December 8, 2012, 8:52 pm

    That’s still a good time, Jen–nice job! Races that finish on a track are the best; that’s how the turkey trot I ran was structured, and it was really nice to know exactly where you are in relation to the finish line. When I’m having an off workout day, I acknowledge it and do my best to give it *today’s* best effort. Tonight, I just finished a really tough indoor bike trainer ride, but I gave the workout everything I had; today’s 100 percent is not equal to my usual effort, but I pushed as much as I could.

  • Katherine December 8, 2012, 9:51 pm

    Fort Bragg is like 15 min from my house. 🙂

    Great job on your race!


  • Alaina December 9, 2012, 12:12 am

    Great job on the race Jen! 🙂

    One of my “off” races was the Tufts 10k last year. I was so looking forward to a PR but the weather just wasn’t cooperating. I just chalked it up to being a learning experience and that was that. I know I’ll get my PR eventually.

  • Kerry @ Totes My Oats December 9, 2012, 10:19 am

    Awesome job! I love how the last lap was around a track. Such a motivating finish!

  • She Rocks Fitness December 9, 2012, 12:36 pm

    I actually haven’t raced in over a year. I just haven’t had the desire lately to do it. Running and yoga are outlets for me and I like to do them when I can to unwind, relax, and enjoy that alone time. Not sure when I will sign up for another race and I’m okay with that.

    • Jen December 10, 2012, 5:50 pm

      i love that you’re taking it easy on racing. all of my race decisions are always a few days before or the day of lately so there’s no pressure!

  • Clara December 10, 2012, 9:14 am

    Jen! I saw your instagram pic of that book and was so curious, I downloaded the sample on my Kindle and began reading it last night. Just a few pages in and I’m already sold. It’s kind of ironic because the Omega Institute that the author keeps referencing is just 15 minutes from where I grew up! I actually did an internship there one summer during college. I’m sure you would love the place. I’ve never taken a class but I ate at their dining hall a ton that summer- organic vegetable heaven! Anyway, excited to learn more about the woman who founded it. Have a great week! xx

    • Jen December 10, 2012, 5:46 pm

      clara – i’m happy to hear that you are enjoying it. i really like that it includes a lot of different stories and perspectives. that is crazy that you grew up so close to the omega institute and did an internship there. i am sure that i would love it!

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