Running for Rachel 2014 Race Recap

What a day for a 5k. On Sunday, April 27, close to 1000 runners gathered at Harrisburg’s City Island for the 3rd annual Running for Rachel 5k. With sunny skies and a temperature near 50 degrees, it couldn’t have been better condition-wise!

With a personal connection to the race having grown up with Rachel – read more about her story here – I was so excited to get this race going. It was also my first 5k in awhile! Having just come back from a knee injury, my speed work left a lot to be desired. But boy, for this race, I was stoked.

Here I am bright and early that morning, dressed and ready to go – sporting my Cocogo Ambassador patch, a tank and compression pants, I was set. Game on.

R4R 1

We arrived to the island around 7:30 (race start was slated for 9:00 am). Picking up my bib was simple and The weather was perfect for running around and warming up before the crowds got too intense. The portapotties were plentiful (if you’re new to racing, you’ll soon understand why this matters) and spirits were high. While the music played, we all anxiously awaited the start.

Around 8:50, I made my way to the starting line. Because this is a race with a large number of walkers, I wanted to be near the front…I had a PR in mind :). The race started and we set off across the river. As far as good times go, this course is perfect – flat, out and back, well-marked, everything a good 5K course should be. The wind wasn’t working in the favor of runners, but it wasn’t terrible either.

My favorite part of this course is the out and back feature. On the way back, I passed by many runners still setting off and encouragement was wonderful. Spectators were also lining the course, adding a little more excitement!

I crossed the finish feeling strong, but, having taken my first mile at 6:48, I’d gone out too fast. Still, It wasn’t terrible. I set a new PR: 22:23 and took 5th female overall, 2nd in my age group (congrats to the women up ahead…this was a FAST race!).

Proud at the finish:

R4R 3

Little man showing off “his” medal:

R4R 2

Put simply, this was a great race for a great cause. If you’re local and looking for an event to start training for, whether it’s your first 5k or your 100th, don’t miss out on this one. Learn more at the site: http://www.runningforrachel.myevent.com/. Looking forward to seeing you all out there next year!

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Running for Rachel: Who’s Ready for a 5k?!

Alright, it’s been announced, has opened for registration and I am excited…the third annual Running for Rachel will be held on City Island in Harrisburg on Sunday, April 27…You game?

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You’ve heard my story, but, in case you haven’t, Rachel played a role in it that she’ll never know. We went to elementary, Jr. high and high school together. We started as basketball opponents and became teammates as we moved up. She was an amazing athlete with a personality to match it. A few years back she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. After an inspirational battle during which she showed more courage than most of us could match, she passed away. But, her legacy has changed lives and continues to do so; mine is one of them.

I lost my way. I went down a path that was as far from fitness and health as possible. During the first Running for Rachel, I was sidelined and watched as my friends and even family (DH took 2nd) excelled in Rachel’s memory. That day, my journey to health and running began; I signed up for my first half marathon and have never looked back.

Last year I was able to run in the race. I took 3rd for my age group and was so proud. I was a competitor again; Rachel’s story has a lot to do with that. I look forward to returning this year and registered as soon as I heard it had opened.

The race is a simple, flat, out and back 5k that runs along the beautiful Susquehanna. Because of the turnaround point, there’s an awesome chance to cheer on other runners. The spirit of race day is high and the community support is incredible. Last year the race was big and the competition was great. I expect the same this year!

If you’re ready to be inspired, whether you want to go for a place, train for your first 5k or enjoy a beautiful walk, sign up for Running for Rachel today. You won’t be disappointed and will leave the race changed; I know I did.

Why ZOOMA’s Opportunity Matters to Me

For those of you who have been following me online for the past month or so, or have seen me in person during that time, you know I’ve been entered in ZOOMA’s Run to Napa contest for a chance for myself and a reader to win a trip to ZOOMA’s Women’s Half Marathon in Napa, CA in June. I appreciate every single vote, especially those who have gone out of their way to vote every day, and wanted to shine a little light on why this matters so much to me.

Here’s the thing. You all know I haven’t been a runner my whole life; in fact, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. I’ve been an athlete, I’ve been a couch potato, I’ve been everything in between…but I’ve never been a runner. Until now. Now, I am a runner, and what I’m doing now has everything to do with what ZOOMA stands for.

When looking for organizations to support, brands to become more involved with and communities to become a part of, ZOOMA stood out to me. The reason why is simple. The mission and core values of the organization are all about inspiring women to live happy, healthy and active lives. BAM. That hit me and stays with me every day, in every single thing I do.

Let’s go back.

From 8 or so years ago up until 2 years ago, I dug myself into a hole. I became inactive and satisfied that that level of inactivity was my life, that my circumstances were beyond my control and that I needed to settle for who I was. It’s ironic because during that time I was dating my now-husband, John, a collegiate distance runner. I’d go out to his races, wonder what would possess people to take part in that level of activity, and would immediately write it off as something I was not meant to do.

before

I lost track of me; of what mattered, of what drove me and of future aspirations. I became a product of my choices and had excuses for every single side effect. “I had a terrible injury, the doctors told me I couldn’t compete at a high level.” “Ya know, weight, it’s a genetic thing…” “I’m just big boned, I’m not meant to be tiny,” you name it, I could combat it. During that time I lost track of self esteem, of my goals, and of the fact that I mattered.

To compound it, I became a mom; those boys are two of the best things that ever happened to me, but they also became part of my excuse…”What kind of mom has time to work out?! Not me! Hahaha.” You get the idea.

But then it happened. As I mention in my own story…an elementary friend of mine lost a long and inspirational battle to a rare form of cancer. In her memory, we held a 5k. My husband competed, but I was in no shape to even walk a 5k, let alone race in front of my high school friends. No way. But, then the day came. As I watched runners of EVERY level cross that finish, I was inspired…something clicked. That was it. I went home and signed up for a half marathon (I never do things part way…I jumped in head first).

My husband and I started training…it was painful, it was hard, but I loved it. Along the way I had some victories…a sprint triathlon:

tri pic

A few 5k’s and so on…but that Half Marathon, the Hershey Half Marathon, was what it was all about. The day came and I’d never been more nervous or excited about anything…I cried at the start and lost it at the finish. No one could take those miles away from me…that race was about me pushing every excuse I’d ever made to the curb and climbing out of the hole I’d put myself into…Running Changed Everything.

Here’s a photo from the day:

During 3

Since then, I’ve come a long way. I’ve started to share my story, because, like ZOOMA, I want to help inspire runners. I’ve been at both ends of the spectrum…from wondering if the wrong things were showing the wrong way in my running clothes or if I was breathing too hard to winning medals…I get it. I try to encourage women to find what drives them, what gives them focus and what allows them to truly live and experience life to the fullest and to go after it with everything they have.

To me, running has done it. ZOOMA’s mission has been a driving factor in my life. Because of this, I’d appreciate the opportunity to Run to Napa and to cheer someone else on as well. This opportunity is like no other.

Thanks to each and every person who has voted so far…daily voting continues until February 24. For those who are just finding out, please take the time to join in; this mission is something I stand behind wholeheartedly. You can vote by clicking on the photo below or by visiting my Facebook page. Let’s run to Napa!

Before After