Fit After Little Bits

eat right..work hard..play harder

Racing for a Reason

on April 25, 2017

There is just something about racing.

Running races, cycling races. Lining up at the starting line with a bunch of people that you do not know.  Strangers. All with the same intention that you have: making it to the finish line (and typically as quickly as possible!).

We train. Hard. We wake up early (and often in the dark) to log miles and hours in our given sport. We hop on the trainer or the treadmill after a long day, because we know that that extra edge is going to get us where we want to go. We know that these hours will get us to the finish line faster.

But why do we race?! What reasons do we have to put ourselves through the pain and suffering (okay, you know that is only slightly over-dramatic, but racing hurts!) of early alarms and sometimes grueling events?-> Hello, cramping legs and swelling hands-I am talking to you!

The endorphins? Sure. Those are pretty neat. Fulfilling our competitive nature? I would put a check mark next to this one. Giving ourselves incentive to keep working out and staying healthy? Absolutely!

But what if it was about more than that? What if it was about supporting a cause that you believe in? What if it was about raising money for a condition that you feel passionate about? What if it was more than racing?

Personally, I absolutely love when a race has a cause that it is standing behind. When I first started running, I knew that I wanted to race. And I knew that I wanted it to mean something. Wouldn’t it be awesome if more races would lend their support to a given cause??

Maybe I would race more 😉

Here are a few of the awesome races I have been able to participate in that had amazing causes behind them! Also, a look into my sister’s LA marathon run to support the Hirshberg Training Team!

Panerathon

The second race that I ever participated in was the Panerathon 5K.  One of the reasons that this race excited me was the amazing cause behind it! These guys want to Run Hunger Out of Town. If you read the statistics, it is mind blowing the amount of hunger in our country. It was amazing to participate in a race that I knew was helping to combat this issue. I love food. It breaks my heart that so many are not able to afford it. Go run this race. Right now.

Eagle’s Heart 5K

Running this race in 2011 was a great experience! It was a fairly small race and I managed to eek out a second place in the female division. My husband and our dog came to support me and popped around the course. The race benefited the local Boy Scouts. It was especially neat because the awards ceremony was tied into one of their expos and we got to explore and learn more about the program. It is a pretty sweet organization and they do amazing things in their community!

Mud Hen 5K

Oh boy do I remember this race. It was COLD! Rain/snow/wet. My poor husband had to suffer through watching me. I kid, kind of. I finished second in my age group the year I ran this race! It made me feel like a “real runner.”

The Mud Hen Races now support Habitat for Humanity in the St. Vrain Valley. Another great organization doing wonderful things in the community! Plus, can you beat a Mud Hen? 😉

Star Valley Half Marathon

This half marathon runs through the beautiful Star Valley in western Wyoming. It just happens to run right passed my in-laws house! In 2014, I decided to run this race on a bit of a whim. I trained for 2 whole weeks and got up to 6 miles for a long run. Needless to say, I had little expectation for race day 😉

Somehow, I managed to PR by several minutes and finished second in my age group. My daughter was 13 months old. I ran a 1:48 and couldn’t believe it.

This race is run to celebrate the life of Jeremy Kunz. He was a local runner who tragically lost his life to a drunk driver. This race serves as a remembrance of an amazing man and brings attention to the issue of driving under the influence. It is incredible to see the (fairly small) community come out and support this cause!

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These were all races that had amazing causes behind them! I would love to see more race directors teaming up with organizations that provide a back story to their race! The running community is such a phenomenal group. There is so much support for each other, but there is always this huge desire to give back.

While races with a cause are amazing, they are not the only way to run for something bigger! This Spring, my sister teamed up with the Hirshberg Training Team to run for pancreatic cancer! I asked her a few questions about racing for this cause and here is what she had to say…(Thanks, Alle and congrats on your killer race and outstanding PR on the LA Marathon course!)

Can you tell me a little bit about why you ran to raise money for the Hirshberg Foundation?
Originally I decided to run with the Hirshberg Foundation because the owner of the company I work for started the foundation in his father’s honor. I thought it was a great cause and immediately volunteered to put my legs to good use. Through the process of fundraising, however, I realized that pancreatic cancer was a disease with an incredible amount of people affected. Almost everyone I talked to seemed to know someone who had suffered from pancreatic cancer and was incredibly generous with donations and support. I even found out the my maternal great grandfather died of the disease at age 45, a fact I had not known until I began my fundraising journey.
Why it was important to you to raise money for a cause?
The more I raised for the cause and the more people I talked to, I began to realize that while this cancer had not directly affected me, it had touched millions of peoples lives and if I was doing even a small part to help, it was worth it.
Did it make it feel more important than other races that you have done?
It definitely felt more important. At mile 21, there was a huge group of pancreatic cancer survivors waiting to cheer me on and when they saw me coming around the corner in my team shirt, there was incredible outpouring of support like I have never felt. Right when I felt like I was hitting a wall, they were all there waiting to run a short distance with me and pick up my spirits. I rode that emotional high all the way to the finish line and it really gave me the strength to not only finish strong for me, but for them as well. The fact that those people had beaten the odds and survived such a horrible disease while enduring chemo, multiple hospital stays, and numerous surgeries, gave me a crazy amount of will power to give every once of every I had left to the course.
Would you do it again in the future?
Absolutely! I received nothing but support from friends, loved ones, and the foundation itself and if doing something I love can help others, I am all for it!
Any races for a cause you are interested in doing in the future?
I would love to do a race benefiting Type 1 Diabetes research. Since my husband, David, has Type 1, it is definitely near and dear to my heart.
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Yep, she KILLED it!!
Well, I hope that you feel inspired and ready to race! Find something that you are passionate about (I mean, besides running 😉 ) and get out there and support it! We can be advocates for so many things! Look for some of those races that mean something to you and get to training!! Good luck!
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