I had heard of Cystic Fibrosis before this year but never really knew what it was. I knew it was a chronic disease but did not know or understand more then that. Through the GP Runners I was "introduced" to Emily from Rock CF, she is an active member of the group who has CF. The more I found out about Emily, the more inspiring her story was/is (Click here to read it for yourself) and along the way I learned exactly what Cystic Fibrosis was and also how far CF has come in recent years.
A description of Cystic Fibrosis from Cystic Fibrosis Foundation:
What Is Cystic Fibrosis?
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that:
- clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and
- obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.
In the 1950s, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond.
Originally Rock CF Rivers 1/2 Marathon was not on my schedule, but the more I learned about the cause and about the women behind the cause, I quickly signed up...Here is the thing, I truly believe some people our put on this earth to make a difference in the lives of many (we are all here to make a difference in the lives of those around us, our family, our friends, the people we meet) but some people are meant for greatness. Emily was meant for greatness, honestly she is amazing; her energy, her drive, her motivation, her inspiration, her contagious smile, the hope she gives to younger CF patients and their families. It was very awe inspiring to watch her "work" this weekend.
So let's get to the race recap:
Saturday I hung out at packet pick up and got a chance to meet some great people. I was really taken back at the way the Township of Grosse Ile had embraced Emily and Rock CF. There were signs everywhere for Rock CF on the island, they allowed the use of the High School for packet pick up and on race morning to stay warm.
Sunday I arrived on the island a little after 6:30 am (I had been up since 4, even did dishes before heading out to pick up my friend and make the hour drive to Grosse Ile). We parked in one of the off lots and quickly caught a shuttle to the high school. We stayed warm in the gym and took care of business before catching up with the fellow GP Runners and walking over to the middle school where the race started.
We were off at 8 am...My friend Rachel was determined to break 2 and I told her I would run as far as I could with her so I started off WAY to fast, but kept her "company" for a few miles till she pulled away only to be seen again as I entered the track at the finish with the medal around her neck and a huge smile on her face. I was so excited for her (only last year she ran like a 2:45 1/2 marathon and here she was about to CRUSH 2!!) Between 5.5 and 13.1 was honestly a struggle for me, I had been sweating so bad that every time the cold wind would get me I would shiver, not sure how to make my muscles relax when they are shivering. Every now and then another friend from the group would make an appearance next to me, John was always a welcoming distraction for a bit before he would say "I'm gonna back off", and then before I knew it there he was again. I was especially grateful when he showed up just after 12 and informed me that I was going to PR (My garmin had stopped when I tried to hit "lap" at mile 5.5, but instead it finished the workout so I shut it off) I also found motivation at the airplane hanger where GP Runners were volunteering and cheering their little heads off! As we hit 12.75 we see another runner who is clearly injured, turns out it is another GP Runner...OH NO! John stayed with Mike and they told me to go on, I was running for time. So off I went and crossed the finish line at 2:04 and some change clock time...I knew I had a PR, which after taking 2 weeks off for strep I had not thought it was possible at this race and went in only with the goal to use it as a training run which called for 1/2 pace + 30 which would have equaled a 2:06:24. Official time was 2:04:08. BOOM! That was a boost of confidence I needed a few months before Bayshore!
GP Runners after with a bunch of successes to celebrate including a birthday, 2 age group wins, an overall win, PR's, personal achievements, Rock CF raising $70,000 for CF and another successful event...It was a good day on Grosse Ile and I cannot wait to Rock CF again next year where I will be the one crushing 2!
For those who want some pros and cons:
Other then the cold I thought the race was very well organized (one of the better ones I have seen), we did not have any problems with shuttles to the high school or back to our car, there were some lines at the bathrooms and for gear check but those are kind of expected at most races, water and hammer gel stations were high energy and fully stocked, I did see some port o potties along the course and none had a line, the airplane hanger was really cool to run through and there was a live band there along with the parade company, residents waiting patiently in traffic even rolled down windows and cheer us on as we ran by, some people did have problems with the shirts being to small however I personally did not have any issues since I ordered a larger size then normal. I did have a problem with my race photos-that NONE of them were flattering in the least so to prepare for Bayshore I will practice looking cute while running...