Saturday, April 23, 2016

Laura Lawson's 2nd #Run3rd 5K Race Report

Submitted by Laura Lawson, @gamma_laura

Two and 1/2 years ago, I was diagnosed with Stage 3C Ovarian Cancer. Prior to that I had started walking 5ks on a regular basis, but my surgery, chemo treatments and ongoing recovery put an end to that. I have struggled to get back into walking, but have felt discouraged by not being able to make much progress either in speed or distance.

I decided to attend the 2nd annual #Run3rd5K in Mesa, AZ, April 2, 2016, with the idea of supporting others, and walking what I could. I was at peace with this and very happy just to be there. Sharing the event with friends, old and new, is one of the great pleasures of Run3rd!

Race day was warm with a clear sky with a light breeze. Participants wrote down or in some way assembled the dedications that they would carry. Green ribbons worn in memory of Anna "Patty Duke" Astin and Mental Health Awareness were pinned on.

Best buds Laura Lawson and Sean Astin!
A ripple of excitement passed through the crowd of friends, Loyals and Run3rders as we realized that our Captain Sean Astin was there. I can't find the words to express my own feelings and experiences with this part.

Pep talks, intros, a moment of silence in Anna's honor, the National Anthem, and then it was race time.

My friends, Linda Iroff and Yasmine Matar, had decided to walk with me, sacrificing their own chances of Personal Bests. After watching everyone else start and seeing Sean off to run, we started out on our own no-pressure, comfortable stroll along the course. I gave myself permission to abbreviate the route at whatever point I needed to, and accepted that I would probably be last to finish, if I even did.

Directing traffic
As we made our way along the well laid out course, we cheered on others, including the wonderful volunteers! We danced. We took photographs. In general, we enjoyed our trek! Some highlights were the water-distributing robot, the two enthusiastic young men who struck fun poses to point out the way to go, and the "Falcon."

Excitement built as friends who had already finished started coming back and cheering us on. At one point, close to Mile 3, I realized that I was really going to finish! I was amazed. The energy and outpouring of love on this day had carried me along.

My emotions in that "home stretch" are indescribable.  There are a handful of moments in life that seem to stand still, and forever stand out. That finish with friends is one of those. That moment of Sean Astin putting the finisher medal around my neck…

My finishing time? 01:05:41.4.  I am happy.

I love the #Run3rd Spirit, and I love my #Run3rd family.
Sean Astin accompanies Linda Iroff, Laura Lawson and Yasmine Matar to the finish line.

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