This past Sunday, I participated in Komen Austin's big fundraiser for fighting breast cancer. While I was a little bit disappointed with my time in the 5K race (22:32), it was heartwarming to see the nearly 20,000 people that came out in support of a good cause. I was hoping to improve on my 22:08 from a week prior, but the hilly course and warm, humid weather slowed me down. After the race, I joined some Harley friends who were out in support of Lisa, a breast cancer survivor who is currently in a wheelchair due to a motorcycle accident.
Since my car was still in the shop, I decided to ride my bicycle the race downtown, rather than my motorcycle. It was probably a silly decision to bike 11 miles before attempting to set a PR, but I thought it might make a decent warmup. Once I parked my bike near the registration, I was pleased to find they had a bag drop, so I could leave my backpack with my bike gear somewhere safe. I jogged around a little bit, but there were already so many people around at 6:30 that there wasn't a clear stretch of sidewalk to be found. A little past 7, I made my way to the start area. I was near the front, and there were a number of people who were clearly not as fast as me. I figured as long as there isn't a group of them, they wouldn't be a problem. After some words from US Representative Lloyd Doggett and the national anthem, the horn sounded. I tried to hold myself back a little and not start out too fast, but I had trouble pacing myself the whole course. It was nothing but hills- not particularly long or steep, but other than Congress Avenue, it was constantly up and down. I wasn't really flying down the hills, and then I was putting too much energy into the uphills trying to keep my pace up. My mile times reflect my poor use of energy: 6:57, 7:03, 7:24. I did have enough for a decent sprint in the end, closing it out at about a 6:15 pace.
I got some fluids and a banana and retrieved my backpack. I tried to find my friends, but they were lost in the sea of thousands of people. I walked over the 1-mile marker and waited to see if I could see them come by. I figured Lisa in a wheelchair wouldn't be too hard to spot. Sure enough, after standing beside the river of walkers for about 15 minutes, there was Lisa being pushed by her daughter. I joined them and the rest of the crew for the remaining two miles. We were moving at what I considered to be a pretty leisurely pace, passing some people here and there, but mainly going with the flow. Around the 2-mile marker, I took over pushing the wheelchair. I did so at least partially hoping to pick up the pace, but the chair itself wouldn't allow it. Anything faster than about a 15 minute mile pace caused one of the front wheels to violently shimmy. When we turned the final corner and the finish line was in sight, Lisa's daughter took over pushing duties. Just before the finish, Lisa got out and walked (or more like hopped, recovering from a broken leg, among other injuries) across the line.
I stopped to see a movie on my way home, and afterward there was a wicked headwind the rest of the way. I almost felt like I was going backwards at times.