Monday, June 6, 2011

Rockin' the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Race for LLS

Yesterday I ran and completed the Dodge San Diego Rock 'n' Roll race....along with 30,000 of my closest friends. The race benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), and I've been training as a member of Team in Training (TNT) to raise funds for LLS.

June 5th wasn't just "race day." It was also National Cancer Survivors Day. As a 3x cancer survivor, there was special meaning in lacing up my shoes, adding a "survivor bib" to the back of my race singlet, and getting out there on the concrete to pound cancer into the pavement.

I'm truly grateful to everyone that donated to LLS, and that continues to support me and the Cures Rock! campaign. Trust me, yesterday me and about 3,000 other TNT runners pounded Cancer into the pavement!
Since I know many of you couldn't make the race and were virtually cheering, I thought you'd appreciate some race highlights from my perspective. Again, thank you for your continued support of the Cures Rock! campaigns --- we will kick cancer to the curb. LIVESTRONG! GO TEAM! CURES ROCK!

2011 Dodge San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Race Highlights:

Total $ Raised for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at this race: Over $9 Million!!

Best Running Training Pal!: Erin. A loyal friend, and an awesome running buddy that proves running CAN be a team sport! GO TEAM! She didn't run this race because she has the Alaska race to run in a few weeks, but she did stick by my side at the Surf City (Huntington Beach) and LIVESTRONG (Austin) Half Marathons earlier this year as part of Team Cures Rock! And, she came out to support along the course.

Pre-race moments: Tweeting with other runners prior to the race (really built up the excitement!). Getting out of my car in the pitch dark, pre-dawn hours and not being able to find a single landmark in the dirt lot of thousands of cars so I could find my car again. The runners getting out of their car next to me tried to write the serial number of the light post down...yup, it was that dark. Also, rode the shuttle bus with a team that had raised money to build a hospital in Africa. We shared a passion for running for charity, and I shared that I had only plans to have fun during the race, but wasn't planning on winning it --- to which one of the African and incredibly speedy runners replied, "maybe today is your day." Loved that team. :) Hope they all had an incredible day too.

Funniest people seen on the course: Guy holding sign saying, "Sweat is Sexy" (liar) and a guy holding a sign at the .2 mile marker that said "You're almost there" which he would flip to the other side that read "Only 26 more miles" (just plain mean).

Biggest inspiration: A woman on the side of the road holding a sign that said, "Thanks for running for TNT. I'm a survivor." Also, I looked at my yellow "LiveStrong" wristband I wore in honor of National Survivors Day and I knew I would never stop running and raising funds until we find a cure for cancer.

Favorite Spectator: It's true. I adopted a spectator. A gentleman who was riding his bike and cheering for his daughter in an AZ bike jersey, kept appearing about 5x along my run. His sign was simple: "Left Right. Left Right. Left Right." Most the time, by the time I'd run into him again, those simple words kept me moving. Very zen, and it kept me mindful. I actually stopped to introduce myself and thank him. Spectating is a tough sport, too.

My break-down moment: Some runners were goofing around and one crashed into me. Slamming into my foot. At Mile 3. I suddenly felt very alone out there. Took me until Mile 4 to clear my head, suck up to the pain and refocus on the reasons "why" I was running the race.

Surprises during race: Seeing friends and past TNT teammates unexpectedly along the course route cheering (thank you, Myra, BreeAnn, Karin & Pat...and anyone else I forgot!). Having moments of running with my TNT coaches, captains & mentors along the route at times I needed it most. Many thanks to Aimee for finding me in the last mile of my race and jogging with me for a bit. Need it. (You rock.)

Best Post-Race moments: Getting off the shuttle and hitting the parking lot with dread because I knew I would have trouble finding my car -- and I did. Thank goodness another runner asked me what time I arrived and pointed me in the direction of that set of cars. To "pay it forward," I then spent another hour or so driving other lost runners around the huge dirt lot to find their cars. I mean, everyone just ran 13.1 or 26.2 miles -- did they really need to then walk around a huge lot looking for their cars? (Note to self: Suggest to RNR that they mark the lot next year). But, I met some great new running buddies. On the way home, stopped at a burger restaurant for food, and they comped my meal....and gave me extra food to go. Yum.

Favorite Question: "When's your next race?" The best is getting asked this during the race. :) But, I've also been asked it several times afterwards. Stay tuned to this blog...there will be more to come. But, I think it's safe to say that we will have a Cures Rock! team pulled together for Surf City (Huntington Beach) and LIVESTRONG (Austin) Full/Half Marathons again (seriously, I want a BIG team for Austin!)...and maybe even L.A. But first, give me a day or two to recover. All my brain power is working on moving sore muscles at the moment. *smile* In the meantime, check-out Team in Training and Team LIVESTRONG.

Overall, it was a great race. As I like to say, "When your feet get tired, run with your heart" -- and there is no doubt that I ended up running most of that race with my heart. I am truly thankful to be cancer-free, and I am truly thankful for all of those that donate and that support the Cures Rock! campaigns to spread awareness about cancer and the 28 million in the world fighting it. GO TEAM! CURES ROCK!

1 comment:

  1. Way to go Julie. It has a been a tough few weeks for many reasons and I enjoyed reading your report and perspectives. Art


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