Thursday, October 22, 2015

My 5th and final Rock 'n' Roll St. Louis

Here's the deal.  I have been over the Rock 'n' Roll race craze for a while now.  I have run Rock 'n' Roll in San Antonio once, DC once, and St. Louis five times now.  At least for St. Louis, the number of half marathon finishers keeps decreasing.  In 2011 there were over 17,000 finishers.  In 2015 there were just over 8,000 even after they offered a Living Social deal.  I had no intention of running the Rock 'n' Roll half in 2014 but then they offered such a great discount that I couldn't refuse.  Then early this year I received an email stating that I would get a commemorative bib and bottle opener key chain if I ran it one more year to make it five in a row.

And so....I ran it one more year and now post-race I can honestly say that this was my last year running the Rock 'n' Roll in St. Louis.  I need to mix it up and run other Missouri races and start back on my quest to run a half in all 50 states.  I also wasn't impressed with the swag we got this year.  It was just ho-hum.  Remember when we used to get the black bags stamped with the Rock 'n' Roll logo for that particular city?  Well those days are over apparently over!

Sweet Swag
Boring Swag

The shirts were cute this year though.

But the commemorative 5-year bib and key chain took stops at three different booths before I was finally directed to the correct staff.  Even during the race, several runners asked where I got my 5 Years Running bib because they never found where to pick it up at the expo.

Despite the ups and downs mentioned above, I did have fun during the race.  I ran with a co-worker of mine who was in the Fleet Feet training group with me, just a different pace group.  I had trained with the 8:1 group (8 minutes running: 1 walking) but I ended up running with her pace group which was 5:1.  The hills in St. Louis never go away, but somehow the time flew (even if my pace didn't:) because I always had someone to talk to.  So in 2016, I will have to find different late-October half marathons to try. On to new routes and roads!  I only have one more half marathon left in 2015, then a few short races to close out the year.  I can't believe it is almost November....

Happy training!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Going Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

My blog is going pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

For me, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a month of remembrance for those lost, celebration for those in remission or now cancer-free, and an education opportunity for everyone. 

I remember when my maternal grandmother was fighting breast cancer.  I was in junior high at the time and I hadn’t heard much about cancer at that age and back in those days, I don’t remember cancer being as prevalent as it is today.  I am from a small town, and I remember our family having a benefit for my grandmother to help cover medical expenses. We sold food, baked goods, and even tickets for miniature train rides.  It seemed like the entire town came out to support my grandmother. 

Then I remember her on hospice.  Taking naps next to her in her hospital bed, which was in the living room.  Brushing her thinning hair.  Then I remember that last Christmas together where she gave all of the grandchildren handmade quilts.  I won’t even use that quilt today, 20 years later, because I don’t want to damage it in any way.  I want to leave it exactly the way she gave it to me.

Today, I hear about cancer constantly.  My step-mother passed away due to lung cancer in 2010.  My dad had prostate cancer around the same time that my step-mom was battling cancer.  My great-aunt (grandmother’s sister) had ovarian cancer.  A high school classmate has breast cancer.  One of the instructors at the gym had breast cancer.  The list goes on, and on, and on, and on.  People I am directly related to, acquaintances, and friends of friends.       

Since my grandmother had breast cancer and my great aunt had ovarian cancer, my mom has discussed our family history with her doctor.  If there is anything out of the normal going on with her body, she goes to the doctor.  Now I admit, I don’t do the breast self-exam as often as I should, but I recently went in to my doctor because I was having an unusual pain in my left breast.  The doctor didn’t feel anything abnormal and recommended reducing my caffeine intake and taking Vitamin E and Evening Primrose Oil.  She also said that if the pain continues, I should come back in.  So far the reduction in caffeine and the supplements seem to be working because the pain has subsided, but I was completely terrified as I anxiously awaited that appointment last week. 

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “If you see something, say something” if you have ever taken public transportation in a major city.  I heard it daily on the metro when I lived in DC.  Well when it comes to breast cancer: If you feel something, please do something!  Whether it is a sharp pain, tingling sensation, or just that one breast feels different from the other, get it checked out!  The sooner cancer is detected, the better chance you will have at beating it.

There are many great resources out there for more information, but I recommend this blogpost from the Bankers Health Care Group.  It won't take you long to read and the info-graphic is very concise.  Check it out and be sure to get checked out by your doctor if you have any doubts or concerns. ANY!

Click here for larger version of graphic