Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Michigan Ele's Race - Race Day Report

Submitted by Heather Slawinski @Rocksicle_Lover

I apologize that this report is so late. Summer is just a crazy time of year!!! I ran in a 5K called Ele's Race in Okemos, Michigan on 7/22/12. Ele's Race supports Ele's Place which is a nonprofit, community-based organization dedicated to creating awareness of and support for grieving children and their families. Through peer support group programs, Ele’s Place helps children to cope with the death or life-threatening illness of a parent, sibling or other close family member or friend. Ele's Race is a larger race in the local area and has been very successful in raising funds for their organziation. This year there were more than 1,400 people in attendance.

 Because I'm not a famous actor like SOME people ;) I decided to honor my #run3rd dedications by making a shirt with all of the dedications listed. I just got a plain white tank top and used permanent markers and went to work! Once I was done and put it on, I felt SO PROUD to be running in honor of so many important causes and people. It really did give me an extra boost of energy for the day. I shared the shirt on Facebook and some of the people who are honored on the shirt saw it and were very touched to see their cause featured.

Once we got to the race, we realized it was a wonderful celebration of life! So many people and children having fun and remembering loved ones. My kids definitely enjoyed the kids activities they had!

I chugged my Gatorade, knowing it was going to be a hot day. The forecast was high 80s and the race started at 9:00, so I knew I'd be sweating a lot. We lined up, I got my music going on my iPod, and we took off. My family was lined up towards the first curve of the race so I was able to give them a wave and a smile before I really started in on my hard work.

As I ran, I could feel the heat almost immediately. I felt a little more sluggish than normal. I have realized that I am a cold weather runner—I LOVE heading out in chilly 30-40 degree weather and having that cold air sting my face! (I know, I bet I sound really weird to all of you Californians.) So any amount of heat is challenging to me. I vowed to make sure to grab any water that was offered along the way and to just stick to it. I had not run for a 9 days prior to this run, so I knew I'd have a tougher time than normal. I'm a slow runner, so I tend to fall to the back of the pack, just before the walkers begin. I trudged along but was exhausted so I decided to take some walking breaks. During my walking breaks, I thought about all of my #run3rd dedications. How some of those people have lived through SO MUCH and have come out the other side. Those thoughts would get me running again. It helped much more than I had expected it to.

Once I got towards the finish line, I saw my family again. After thinking about all of my #run3rd dedications and feeling the celebration of life from the race, I decided to grab BOTH of my kids and have them finish the race with me. My 1 year old LOVED the bouncing while I ran. And my 5 year old just loved running with her mommy.

Headed for the finish line

I finished the race in 38:59, an average pace of 12:35, which isn't too terrible considering I slowed WAY down once I got my kids to join me! :)

Crossing the finish line with my two girls!

After the race, I refueled with water and snacks. As I was sitting down, a woman around my age came up and said "I just had to tell you that I was running behind you and I read the back of your shirt over and over to keep me going through the race." I responded with a "REALLY?!?!?!" and explained #run3rd to her. She said she was new to running (started the same time I did) and would have to check it out. She thanked me for giving her inspiration and left. I was so touched! I was also so happy that the word was spreading on the causes that were important to people I knew.
Post race

We stuck around for a while afterwards so that my 5 year old could participate in the kids 100 yard dash. While we waited, I had a lot of people come up and ask me if they could read the back of my shirt. I'd stand still and they'd read everything and sometimes comment about what they were reading. It was amazing.

I truly enjoyed being a Team Captain for #run3rd and plan to continue my #run3rd ways. I will be running in the Capital City River Run Half Marathon on 9/16 and the Detroit International Half Marathon on 10/21. I've been so busy my running has fallen to the wayside, so the race in September will be rough, but I refuse to quit and will collect my #run3rd dedications to help get me through the race. I hope to be a little bit more prepared in October, but will still need all of the #run3rd help I can get!

I've learned that no matter how small you think your impact is, it is still a big impact to someone. Keep #run3rd-ing! :)

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