It’s hard to believe that we’ve been coming back to Hanover every October for the last five years. Five years! The memories of being in the hospital with Jack, those deep feelings of fear and anxiety have faded. So much time has passed between now and then, and so many good memories have filled these past five years that mostly when we go now I just feel intense gratitude.
We walked out of the hospital with a healthy, happy boy-not every family gets to do that. So when I toe the line at that race, I hold that thought in my heart.
CHaD HERO Weekend
This year’s CHaD HERO was extra fun because we got to hang out with Organic Runner Mom’s (Sandra Laflamme) family while we were up in Hanover. We spent Saturday afternoon with them at their home and our kids had a blast playing outside in the summer-like weather.
From her house we scooted over to the CHaD Heroes Welcome, the reception for all the top fundraisers. I’ve been a recipient for the top fundraiser award in 2013 and 2014, and presented awards to other recipients in 2015 and 2016. This year we enjoyed catching up with people in this community that now feel like family.
This year I was able to surpass my goal of raising $2025! Brining my five year total to over $22,000! I’m always amazed at the generosity of strangers who read my blog or follow me on Instagram, who have donated simply because they care. It means so much and I’m so grateful to all of you who are making a difference for the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. The dollars that I raise go directly to fund care that isn’t otherwise provided by medical insurance. It’s those dollars that make the hospital experience a little less traumatic for young patients and their families.
We started race morning with a big breakfast at Lou’s and then made our way to the VIP tent to see some of the faces we’ve come to know and love over the last five years.
One of the things that I love about coming to the CHaD Hero Event every year is the chance to re-connect with some of the families who’s children have been through similar experiences, some far more severe and life threatening than Jack’s. It is such a resilient group of people, they’ve been through real struggle but remain positive and optimistic despite of it.
At 11:15 we all lined up for the Cam’s Course kids fun run, Sophia took off running with Sandra and her little ones, while ran hand-in-hand with Jack the whole way. Meeting up with Mark and Liam (in the stroller) just before the finish line of the one mile course. It was the first time Jack has run the course without riding in the stroller and he had the biggest smile on his face when we came through the finishers chute.
I had no real race plan going into the 5K. I hadn’t raced a 5K since April and I’m so out of practice when it comes to 5K pacing and my road speed has dwindle so significantly that I was just hoping to match what I ran in April (20:xx). I was there just to have fun and enjoy the day. I didn’t put much thought at all in to the way I was going to “race” the course. It’s a relatively good course, with mostly flat running for the first two miles and two slight up hills in the final mile. The real kicker is the hill from the 2.5 mile mark to the 3.0 mile mark, its always a challenge to hit a hill late in the race.
From the moment the gun went off I knew I was going out to fast, but instead of pull back I just went with it. The first mile ticked by in 6:14. I figured, either I’m in better shape than I think I am (the unrealistically optimistic view) or I’m going to suffer in the last mile. My pace stayed strong into mile 2, where I did my best to stay steady up the slight rise at the beginning of that mile. Mile 2 clicked by in 6:47. Oh man, I’m going to positive split this like a total newb. I tried to maintain my pace with some push in the final mile through the two hills and I felt like I was churning out as fast a pace as I could manage. Mile three went by in 7:02 and I sprinted in as hard as I could to finish in 21:08…the same exact time I ran in 2015 (except my splits from that race are WAAAAY more even).
It wasn’t pretty and I’m not super proud of the way I ran it, but it is what it is. I went straight into an extended cool down, running out of town a ways on the end of the half marathon course and looping through some of Hanover’s pretty neighborhoods. I just kept running, there were too many thoughts filtering through my mind so my legs kept moving until my mind felt settled and I looped my way back towards the Dartmouth Green.
I found my family, who was happily having out in the Kid’s Zone and then walked over to the half marathon course to cheer for Sandra (who was running the half marathon) as she came through the nine mile mark.
She ended up second in her age group and I was first in mine in the 5K.
The weather could not have been more perfect and we stayed until late in the afternoon, doing countless crafts and making countless trips to the bouncy house. The kids had an absolute blast and everyone passed out on the way home.
And as the heroes oath says:
I’ll be on the green next year with my tights and hero gear!
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