This morning, I ran a race that is incredibly near and dear to my heart.  The Breathe Easy for Asthma Awareness 5k was the first race that I ran after moving to Virginia Beach. It’s the race where I set my 5k PR of 22:44. More importantly than either of those things, this race supports the Jerome Alston Memorial Foundation as they attempt to promote asthma awareness.  Both of my daughters have asthma and almost five years ago, asthma nearly claimed the life of my youngest daughter, Hannah.

This is the fourth year that this race has been run, and it’s the second time that I have run it.  It is at this point, a fairly small race, which honestly on the path around Mount Trashmore is probably a blessing.  Still, with a little bit more advertising, I think they could definitely have a much better turnout.  I will say that I did notice that this year seemed to be much more well organized than last year.

Packet pick up was only available the day of the race, so I arrived at the park about 45 minutes before race time to get my bib and allow myself time to put my shirt in the car as well as hang out with a few friends from my local running group prior to the race.

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My selected race attire. Superman shirt, UNC visor, Hoka One One shoes, DeFeet socks, and of course, my sQoosh band

There was also a mini ‘expo’ set up at one of the pavilions featuring several local health vendors.  I honestly didn’t take the time to check all of them out. I just opted to hang out and chat with my friends before the race.

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At 9:30, the Kids Fun Run which was probably the equivalent of a 100 yard dash went off.   They had 5 or 6 kids run it.  This was a new addition to the festivities.  The kids all received a finishers medal as well.

At 9:40, we lined up for the start.  I have to be honest here, the start was the most unorganized part of the event.  They had an inflatable arch to mark the start, but there wasn’t a formal announcement that we were starting.  We were kind of herded together and someone casually walked to the arch and blew an air horn. Like that, we were off.

*Short Rant – This is in no way the parents fault or the kids fault. This one is completely on the race organizers. There was a large group of 10-15 young kids that were running the race. I’m all for kids running races. I want my kids to start running when they are able to go 3.1 miles.  However, you can not let small children start at the front of the pack during a race.  This caused for a fairly congested start out of the chute as we ended up spending the first quarter mile or so weaving through this pack of kids.

Out of the chute, the course was congested to start. I weaved my way in and out of the start traffic and once I got into the clear I decided to settle into a comfortable pace and just ride it out and see what would happen.  I’m about 20 pounds heavier than I was when I ran this race last year and I haven’t been training for 5ks during my training.  I knew before the start that a PR wasn’t happening.  This was a training run.

I settled in and cruised through mile 1 in 8:09. They changed the water station this year.  Last year it was one station and it was at the turn around with water in paper cups which as all of you runners know, is normal.  This year that put the water station at the 1 mile mark going out so it would be at mile 2.1 coming back.  Even though I didn’t use it, I liked the thought of creating a 2nd water station for those that may need it, but this station was handing out full bottles of Aquafina.  Not ideal.

The 8:09 first mile, was one of the fastest miles I’ve run in a race for a while.  At Shamrock’s 8k, my fastest mile was in the 8:20’s.  I did give a little of this time back.  Mile 2 clocked in at 8:34. When I hit the turnaround, I was in 21st place overall (I counted the runners that passed me coming back). In the final half mile of the race, one runner overtook me. I would finish in 22nd overall.  Mile 3 was an 8:45 pace and I finished the final stretch in what boiled down to an 8:23 pace.

My GPS logged the race as 3.2 miles and I completed it in 27:08 which is an 8:29 pace.  It’s a far cry from my 22:44 PR, but today wasn’t about a PR.  I ran this race with two things in mind.  First, every run is getting me ready for my first full marathon in November. Secondly, when I felt myself struggling with my breathing, my mind raced back to a then 3 year old Hannah fighting for her life on a ventilator for 4 days.  My very short term discomfort from pushing a little bit, doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned with the trouble breathing that she has experienced.  I was thanking God as I ran for saving my baby’s life that day in October of 2012.  To be honest, I get emotional running this race. It means so much to me to be able to contribute to a cause that ultimately can benefit my two daughters as they battle asthma.

It was a very enjoyable morning. I love this cause and I will continue to run this race as long as they continue to run it.

Entry Fee – $30

Course – Paved Trail

Weather – 57 Degrees, Sunny and very breezy

Aid Stations – 1 (only water) you passed it twice during the out and back run

Post Race – Water, Gatorade, Bananas

Swag – T-Shirt and Finisher’s Medal

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