I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

In 2010, ovarian cancer took my amazing Auntie Daph away from me. It was especially hard because she was loved by anyone who crossed her path. She treated her body well, was active, and lived her first 69 years with little to no sickness. Then this nastiness rolls up on her body like nobody’s business and in less than 2 years she went from vital and joyous to – well. Less vital, but still joyous. I told you – she was incredible. My Auntie was the embodiment of Proverbs 31. She’s left a huge hole in our family and we miss her every day. Cancer blows.

When I fell in love with running 18 months ago, one of the first things I did was to search for a race whose profits went to research for ovarian cancer. I was surprised to find that there is an annual race in St. Petersburg each September. I informed my mother (aunt’s baby sister), whose running addiction was also just beginning, and tried to gather several family members to run or walk, whichever they wanted. 12 people registered to represent Team Daphne! I loved it because A) it brought my family together doing something healthy and B) I think she would have loved to do something like that herself.

Fast forward to this year. Team Daphne was 16 strong! Last year, we walked most of the race. This year, because we love to grow and compete, we all went at different paces. They offered a 10k this year and because I hear Coachie in my ear wherever I go, I registered for that. While I love spending time with my family in this way, racing with them STRESSES.
ME. OUT. Because I found the race and I am the “family runner,” I apparently have the responsibility of answering all questions and making sure everyone stays organized (read: arrives before the race starts and is actually behind the start line). Of course, we were running later than I wanted, but we actually made it on time this year! Progress!

As I was getting ready, the strap to my Garmin decided to fall off. Fantastic. I love when I have to run and like, just listen to my body. I wasn’t expecting or trying to run a PR, but I wanted to feel like I was working without killing myself. I lined up with my family but went off by myself as the race began. The day was really beautiful. 🙂 Racing in St. Petersburg means a lot to me – from the Women’s Running 5k to St. Anthony’s Triathlon, I have already made a lot of precious memories here. I smiled as I passed sites I have seen many times. My body was feeling wonderful and I felt the runner’s high that has lately eluded me during my half-Ironman training. The sky was filled with gorgeous color.

As I made my first turn-around, I saw some of my family and waved. We cheered each other as we passed. I saw a chick walking with 2 colorful parrots. I giggled. I love that I can find pleasure in races of high competitive intensity and races where people have parrots. It was about celebrating good health and honoring those who have fought ovarian cancer and are currently fighting. Good vibes.

Alas – I think God has this thing where regardless of the distance, I am reminded that I need Him no matter what. 60 mile ride? 6.2 mile run? No matter. “Hey Joan you’re gonna feel great for like 75% and then you will curse your existence and look to me! Don’t forget who allows you to do this!” Indeed, somewhere between mile 4 and 5, while I didn’t hate life, I thought, “Hmm. I’m still running. I’d rather not be.” Then I saw a lady walking who appeared to have one leg longer than the other. Immediately I pulled my brain together. I cheered her on and made my way to the finish, where my family was waiting for me.

1:06:33! About 3.5 minutes off of my PR in April, but I’m super stoked because

1. The last time I ran a 10k without my Garmin was my first 10k in May of 2013. It reminded me of going out and having fun, tee hee. Oh, to be young again!
2. My foot felt great! It’s looking like she will hold up for Augusta IF I keep treating her right,
3. I am happy I was able to hold that pace fairly comfortably. It’s good to know that is a natural pace for me and I didn’t have to aim for it or struggle.

Tee hee. My family says they are already ready for next year and are looking to PR for themselves! More running, walking, and good health for everyone! Who knows how long we have it? God is good.

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