I'm #827! I'm #827!

Yesterday I ran a 5K for Catch Your Breath: Women and Lung Health Initiative. It was the first time in as long as I can remember where I woke up, made my coffee, checked my email and the weather, strapped on my watch and heart rate monitor and headed out the door as if exercise was just another part of the day.

I'll admit - I didn't know anything about the Catch Your Breath women's run until Fleet Feet sent me an email about it containing a picture of the Nike technical shirt they were giving to the first 3000 runners. CUTE!!!!

(this is just a sketch. I'll post the actual shirt when they post the pics on PhotoJack)

Then I realize they help combat women's asthma (which I have) so I was totally THERE! It was nice to realize I was running to benefit a cause I actually would have simply donated to on my own, and that it wasn't just for the shirt. Oh, but did I mention? CUTE!!!!

Even though the run was women only ("NO BOYS ALLOWED!!" as one runner yelled to a guy asking what the race was for), Shannon was right out the door with me at 6:30 AM. Which in itself was amazing and supportive.

He walked with me on my quest for swag (Nike arm bands! Sweet!!), hung out with me while we waited for the start time to approach, then walked with me to the start of the course. I stood about 20 feet behind the last pace sign, "11:00," seeing as I'd run about 14-15 minute miles in past 5Ks and didn't want to get in anyone's way (o:.

Shannon waved and clapped as I started off. I saw him again about 1/4 mile up the course, clapping me on and cheering. Then I saw him again another 1/4 mile up or so. Then again. He'd wait for me, cheer me on, then, as soon as I passed him, he'd take off sprinting so he could cheer me on again. I saw him 6-8 times during the race, and by the end of it he was at least as exhausted as I was.

I thus attribute my increase in time to Shannon's encouragement. Though I don't think I would have stopped to walk, I don't think I would have pushed myself as hard as I did, gaining a few minutes on my last time. He attracted quite a lot of attention as he sprinted from point to point along the course. I heard a lot of women yell, "There he is!" as they spotted him and "There he goes AGAIN!" when he was sprinting up to his next vantage point. One woman actually slowed down and another sped up to tell me how incredibly lucky I am.

As if I didn't know! (o:

My final time was 39:29, (a 12:43 pace) up from 42:13 (a 13:36 pace). at the Ravenswood Run in May. THAT one I would have been tempted to walk during. My feet hurt and my leggies were TIRED. But you'll notice, Shannon was right next to me, so I couldn't have stopped if I wanted to. He's a tireless, encouraging, ultra-positive coach who quite often has more faith in my ability to accomplish my goals than I do, which leads me to have faith more in myself than I ever have. Which is why I got a little choked up as I saw him up ahead of me for the fourth time while my iPod played the starting chords to Joe Cocker's version of "Have A Little Faith in Me."

In addition to Joe Cocker, here's the rest of my playlist:

I started off with Abba - "Lay All Your Love On Me"
NitzerEbb - "Join in the Chant"
XTC - "Making Plans for Nigel"
Michael Jackson - "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"
Monty Python - "I Like Chinese"
Kylie Minogue - "Can't Get You Out of My Head"
The theme from Beetlejuice - Danny Elfman
ended with Rory Gallagher's - "Bad Penny"

My goal is a 35 minute 5K in September! And then, Moscow:

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