My 5th 5k was Erin’s Run, right here in Bangor.
When this first came about, Emilie at One Mom in Maine shared the page on Facebook and I liked it, because an April 5k seemed like a good idea. As a fan of the page, I learned more about Erin Woolley, for whom the race is named. (And now, because Emilie is an English teacher I’m getting worried about my ‘whom’ use, but I can’t think too hard.) I remember reading some posts about Erin on One Mom in Maine, and it seemed like such a sad story, but so many are, right? As a fan of the Facebook page, though, someone was posting photos of Erin as a little girl, and being someone raising two little girls in Bangor, and seeing hints of places I know well (I feel like the backdrop was the West side, where we live, but maybe I was seeing things) it just made it even harder to imagine. When registration opened, I registered, because god, how could I not? It was a cheap price to pay to make someone like Erin – who I never knew – an unforgotten name. The race was secondary.
I had assumed the course would be like Komen, but they actually plotted a route that stuck to the river side of Main street. Having never run there, I met my friend Diana to do a lap and see how it was. (And then I learned that Diana is pregnant, so she OBVIOUSLY got to set the pace, so we did more walking and talking/squeeing than running but that was A-OKAY. Babies!) But seeing the parts I’d never run before was reassuring, and I had planned to run more later that day, but didn’t get to. And I didn’t get any more outside running this week because of the weather, and honestly, I really dragged myself to the gym to hit the treadmill and just did some Train Like a Mother interval workouts, and never even hit 3 miles while I was there. (And I haaaaate the treadmill, so I was literally running and trying to imagine the 5k route “Now I’m going by Tim Horton’s, now I’m going by Shaw’s, the turn is right up ahead” to get me through.) And on Friday night, it was the first summery evening of 2013 and by god, I wanted pizza and beer.
So, I went into the run without as many miles as I wanted under my belt, BUT with beer and pizza under my belt. Whatever, it was for a good cause and it was a BEAUTIFUL day, nothing to lose. I had picked up my race packet the night before, and all of the marketing made me think that purple must have been her favorite color, so I pulled out the Team Sparkle skirt to wear (and then my girls wanted to wear purple skirts, too.) We heard more about Erin at the start line, and when we took off, I was feeling good, and also feeling really emotional. My girls were going to be waiting for me in purple skirts at the end, how screwed up is it that someone else’s daughter’s death is the reason for this whole gorgeous race? One of the quotes of Erin’s at the pre-start speech was about how her body had so much to still do in life (I’m totally paraphrasing) and all I could think was how lucky I was that I got to DO this. So, I decided to run the whole first mile. I’m a huge fan of intervals and have honestly never run a whole mile, without stopping, ever. I ignored my preplanned intervals and just went for it, and was SO PROUD that I did it (and happy for the walk break.) The route was one big loop, and then one smaller loop, so I knew which parts I’d be repeating. At the start of the second loop, walkers were finishing, and there was a water stop for anyone, so I took advantage, since my mouth was dry from the gum I’d found to chew (not my usual) so that was nice. When I turned down Railroad, I knew Dave and the girls would be waiting for me, and rounding the corner to the finish line, I heard them. “MAMA! MAMMMMA!” they had water for me for when I finished (but of course I hadn’t finished yet!) so I felt like kind of a jerk for just zipping by them. As soon as I got through the chute I doubled back and was so excited to see my family. Dave had packed water for me, since the Freaky5k had not had water at the end, and that was really sweet. We took a pic (after cajoling Willa into it) and then we headed home where I took a great shower and we got ready for the rest of our day. (I have to say, the organization of this race was AMAZING, from the day before packet pickup, the water stops, the portapotties and they even had a bag check, which I didn’t use, but that was a great accommodation! For an inaugural event, it was great.)
Now for the stats!
I PR’ed! My Garmin time was 39:03 and my race time was 39:16 (it was NOT chip timed, so I’m really proud of the Garmin time, but the race time is a PR, too!) And my Garmin tracks records, and I ran my fastest mile with that first one, of 11:14. So proud of that. And the race raised 12,000 dollars and the DV shelter that was benefitting is naming their legal program after her, which is just awesome.
I watched a news story at the end, and realized that the woman who stopped me before the race to comment on my skirt was Erin’s mother. I wish I’d known that. Or maybe not. I can’t help but feel like this is a race for mothers – to make sure Erin’s mom sees that people are still learning about her daughter, for me to show my daughters that athletes come in all shapes, for my friend to be doing a 5k carrying her first baby (a daughter? who knows) from the start line to the finish line. So, Erin’s mom, as a mother of bright and beautiful Bangor daughters, I am so sorry that yours is not here. We wore our purple for yours, and we will be there again, next year.