Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Saving the World - In my Undies

The adult in me wants to start this post with a memory of my dad and something about how exciting it was to participate in my second Colon Cancer Alliance's Undy 5000 5K Run.
The 12-year-old in me wants to start this post with a completely inappropriate joke.
Choices, choices...

The good news is that I can compromise.
My dad, who subscribed to "laughter is the best medicine" policy, named his colostomy so he could discuss it a little more easily.
He named it Sparky.
The mascot of my beloved Arizona State Sun Devils is named Sparky.
I'm convinced that my dad named his colostomy as such just to drive me insane.
Haha, Dad - I got you this time.
(this is where I could put in a close-up of my rear end in the ASU undies I bought for the event, but you did not come here to see a close up of my rear end)

To tell you the truth, I was so excited to have this event be my first repeat event.  This was the first event I ever ran last year, thanks to my friend Veronica.  She convinced me that I can run 3.2 miles (or more) and did so in time for me to train long enough to go into last year's race with some confidence.
So I was even more excited (and ever so fortunate) that she was able to run it with me this year.

The Phoenix Undy marked the last Undy event of the year, but the 2012 ones are already scheduled and the first few up on the website.
I was pretty impatient to get going, or maybe I was nervous - it was windy, which meant I would probably be slower than last year.  And that annoying "Press the center button to begin your workout" kept being repeated in my ear.
Veronica and I are good running buddies because we don't feel a need to run with each other all the time.  Last year, when I was "training" (I use that term very loosely) for the Undy 5000, she was already training for her first half marathon.  The focus of each race is so different, and she is truly a long distance runner while I am clearly a middle distance type person.  So I shot out at the beginning, maybe a little too zealously.
For some reason, this race felt harder than last year (or even my morning runs that are about equal to a 5K).  It was windy, and the weather was cooler, so perhaps that factored in a little.
But in the end, I ran the entire way, I cheered on some participants who were walking, and finished with a big smile on my face.
  • Overall time: 27:21 (down from 25:46 last year - I am blaming the wind for this)
  • Overall place: 105th (up from 111th last year - woo hoo!)
  • Place among women: 45th
  • Division (30-39) place: 13th
You can see those ASU undies here.
You're welcome.
The funny thing is that I have gotten so used to running with Zooey, I felt somewhat "off" when the air horn went off.  I kind of wonder if that was part of my slowness - Zooey starts off pulling as much as she can, and I'm usually trying to almost keep up (when it's that early, I need some motivation, and not face planting when chasing a coonhound is pretty good motivation).  But alas, Devil Dog was left home this year.
I was fortunate enough to meet Todd Setter, the event director for the Undy 5000.  I follow him on Twitter (@UndyRunner) and was happy to talk with him briefly (haha - briefly - I slay me).  What struck me was his absolute passion for this event and this cause.  His enthusiasm simply could not be contained, and the Colon Cancer Alliance is fortunate to have that exuberance dedicated to making the Undy 5000 a successful and powerful fundraiser.

After hearing I'll be heading to my first colonoscopy (consult is this week - I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous), he made sure I went home with an entire bagful of Dulcolax® (one of the major sponsors of the event - you gotta love that humor!) for my pre-procedure prep.
Heck yeah!  I love free stuff!
(I promised myself I wouldn't say I love free s***, but I know you think that's funny, too)
In all seriousness, though, if that doesn't show dedication to a cause, I don't know what does.
The Phoenix Undy 5000 raised over $100,000 in the fight against colorectal cancer.  It was beautiful to see so many walking and running in celebration or in memory of a loved one who has battled this terrible - yet completely preventable and treatable - disease.  My heart is filled with gratitude toward Todd Setter and all the other wonderful coordinators for putting on this event.  It has given me a place to channel the grief I still have over my father's death into a positive and working honor to his memory.  I know that running the Undy 5000 will never bring my dad back to me.  But it can keep him alive in my memory and my heart.

That's me on the right.


  1. I love this! Congrats on your time! I did the Atlanta Undy 5000 with my father, a colon cancer survivor. We walked and made it in in just under an hour but were so proud. :) It's a great event to honor and remember our loved ones.

  2. Congratulations on your accomplishment - what an experience to have been able to participate with your dad after he survived. My hat is eternally off to him for beating this malevolent beast we call colon cancer! That is certainly something for which we can be thankful! :)

  3. That "Sparky" thing is going to stay with me for awhile.

    In all seriousness lady, I'm so proud of you for running to make a difference. I feel very lucky to be a part of the Running Pack in the Sky with You.

    Good luck with the colonoscopy - I can't really do anything in solidarity with you for that one (I mean, honestly), but I'll be thinking of you.

  4. Colon cancer runs in my family too, so it's great to know that your run alone raised 100k. That's HUGE!
    I can't wait for our children's cancer cookie week!

  5. I am excited for it, too - I think it will be a great way to shift my focus again. Thanks for your support, everyone - I am truly blessed to know you!