Back where it all started. The 2015 Carolina Hurricanes 5K was my first 5K event. I remember being very nervous the night before. I didn’t know what to expect and I was afraid of coming in last. I just wanted to get it out of the way because my parents were throwing me a birthday party at their house that afternoon.

This year was different. I wasn’t nervous, but still afraid. I was excited, but exhausted. The night before, I had to take Jess to the hospital as she had another pancreatitis flare up. It’s a tiring and stressful experience. Watching her whimper in pain, knowing there’s nothing I can do about. We have to put our lives on hold in order to combat an unbeatable enemy.

She had planned a Saturday night surprise party for me with the Dragonboat team following their Cary race. We had to miss the race and the party, which I didn’t know about until a few days later.

I was afraid that I would miss my race as well. I wanted to be by her side, but selfishly, I wanted to run.

I stayed with her until 11:30 PM. She was comfortable from the drugs and ready to pass out. I told her that I was leaving because I had to be up at 7:30 for my run. She was sad, but she understood. She knows how much running means to me. How it’s a stress reliever and allows me to be free for however long the run lasts. I have very little use at the hospital. While I want to be there and be supportive, it’s draining sitting there and watching the woman you love be so helpless. Rest is the most important thing a person can get in the hospital and when I’m there, I feel like she puts that rest on hold in order to spend time with me.

I ended up getting six hours of mediocre sleep. Not the ideal night to say the least.

My parents came to the race to support me. I felt good, but my mind was elsewhere all the way up until the start of the race. Once the race started, I felt free.

With over 500 people in the race, the start is always tough. If you’re a faster runner, you have to get outside quickly and make your way around everyone before finding your pace. I managed to do this, but know I pushed myself a little faster than I wanted to at the start.

I was familiar with the course, which I think made things a bit easier. If nothing else, I didn’t do the same loop twice and end up running an extra mile. I felt a little slow during the second mile, but the first and last miles were good by my standards.

My goal for the race was to finish around 25 minutes. I knew from the See Spot Run 5K the week before that this was achievable. Last year, my time was 26:05. A one minute improvement over a year may not seem like a lot, but any improvement was good improvement to me.

I ended up finishing in 25:11. That time was good enough for 50th overall and 8th in my age group. 50 out of 500 seems pretty good to me.

Pancakes were provided post-run, but I can never eat after a run. It takes me a good 30 minutes to an hour before I’m ready to put food in my stomach. After walking around a bit and going inside the arena to cool down, I talked to Jess. She was proud of me and thankfully feeling better than she had been the night before.

Overall, it was another successful event. While the circumstances weren’t ideal, I’m glad that I did it and met my goal.

I haven’t signed up for another run, but I should finish my 10K training program in October. I hope to do another 5K in October, but first I need to get back on the trail. Between hospital visits and poor weather, I haven’t run since Sunday’s race. Last year, I got lazy after the Hurricanes 5K and didn’t stick with things the way I should have. A couple of days off isn’t a bad thing as my legs need to recover following a tough week, but I can’t go more than a week without running.

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