#121 – Undy Run/Walk 5k

5kmIt’s that time of year.  It’s time for the undies to fly.

Yesterday was my fifth Undy race.  I’ve been running these every since I was diagnosed with colon cancer in December 2011.  Only three months after successful surgery to cure me, I ran my first Undy, still sporting bandages from my surgeries.  And I’ve run and fundraised every year since.

This year, the event felt a little smaller to me.  The MC announced that there were 1500 runners and walkers, 250 of which were fundraisers.  Our event in Da Lou has historically been one of the largest in the country, and this year, it raised over $130,000 for the Colon Cancer Alliance.  I’m always thrilled to be a part of those numbers, and I couldn’t do it without the generosity of family and friends that support my Undy races.  This year, y’all helped me raise $750 for the cause, which put me just outside the top ten individual fundraisers in Da Lou.  THANKS!

The other thing I noticed this year was a much larger number of kids, strollers and dogs.  Pre-race, I petted every dog I could (that’s one of my race rules!), and tried not to get tripped up by kids underfoot, or run over by strollers.  Once we got on course, this wasn’t too bad, but in the expo area, this was a bit challenging.

We all took a moment of silence for those that’ve been taken by this disease, and I said a quick prayer of thanksgiving for my situation, and the fact that I could be out there, helping others.  We were quickly routed to the staging area, and after a little crush just before the starting gun, we were off.

Anyone who’s read my rambling about my rambling knows my feelings about running in Forest Park.  It’s just not my cup of tea.  The park is beautiful, and early on a Saturday morning, it’s quiet and peaceful, even with 1500 runners traipsing through it.  However, it’s a tough surface, with lots of breaks in the pavement, places where the crosswalks are made pretty by use of uneven bricks (which I *hate* to run atop), and the occasional pothole where the surface material changes.  It’s just hard for me to enjoy the run when I’m having to watch my footing so closely.  However, the new shoes did really well, so that’s a plus!

One nice thing the race organizers have done is starting and finishing the race at the lower Muny lot, rather than the upper lot.  Using the upper lot means the last half kilometer of the race is a big, big uphill climb.  Construction in the upper lot last year drove the race to the lower lot, and I was glad to see that course used again this year.  It’s a huge difference, and keeps the last part of the race from being so draining.

While watching my footing, I ran a reasonable race, tackling the rolling hills when needed, and enjoying the folks around me.  That’s probably the nicest thing about this race.  Most of us are out there for the same cause.  Everyone you bump into is either a survivor, patient, family memory, or care provider, and they’ve each got their story to tell.

I finished up, and hung around for the survivors’ ceremony.  There were 71 of us running in the race, and after a medal ceremony for each of us, we gathered for a group photo.  I’m always so uncomfortable with this part of day.  I know my story is inspiring, and may help someone someday, but having so many people focus, photographing and cheering… well, it’s a little overwhelming.  Good thing I was wearing sunglasses.  🙂

This race benefitted the Colon Cancer Alliance.

Race Course