Earlier this month, we ran one of our favourite races – and one of the select few that make our race calendar every year: the CIBC Run for the Cure with K.Lo’s Krew. K.Lo’s Krew is a team I created last year for my friend and colleague, Karen, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Last year, she was cheering for her team from the sidelines, having just finished chemotherapy. This year, she is cancer-free and ran her first 5K with her team! What a difference a year makes…
Last year, we were running for Karen as an army of pink glitter and sparkle. This year, we were celebrating with Karen and the race was our party. Even the weather – an absolute downpour for most of the race – could not dampen our spirits!
The day began as any race day does: bright and early with Alana on my doorstep! With ponchos packed and fingers crossed for a break from Mother Nature (who did not heed our prayers – like, at all), we headed to the race site where it was raining just slightly. Our team is one of the biggest in our city and it is always so much fun to see everyone together, wearing their pink, ready to run. Soon enough, it was time for the warm-up and the party was officially ON as Alana and I managed to turn almost every move into a full-on dance!
I was running the 5K with my oldest daughter, Paige, who has had a great season on her cross-country team at school. She was so excited to run with me and nail her first full 5K (Run or Dye doesn’t really count because the course was short!). My younger daughter, Presley aka the little speed demon, was ready to race the 1K which took place after the 5K runners headed out.
As soon as Paige and I started running, the rain started to come down harder and harder. Seriously – 2 races with my kids this Fall and both have just teemed rain. Whereas I always seem to bring the heat waves and humidity to races, they are cursed with rain lately. The weather gods just do not like my family. The feeling is rather mutual at the moment!
This was my first race running with Paige, just the two of us – and we had so much fun. It was great to share every soggy kilometer with her. She was very well trained for the run, even more so than I expected. I was planning for her to take walk breaks here and there, but she would have none of it! She just wanted to run – and given the weather, that was fine by me. I did make her stop briefly at the 3K mark for a quick water break and photo though!
Given that I had just completed an 18K training run the day before, I was counting on a slow and easy 5K with Paige – not so much! She was on a mission. Our clothes and shoes were so soaked and heavy, yet on she ran. We noticed what others were wearing and who they were running for. We talked about Karen. We talked about why we run. We had a lot of laughs. There was not one single complaint on the course – just pure gratitude. All I could think about was how lucky I was to be healthy and running with my daughter. And soon enough, we were done!
Paige managed to finish the race in 35 minutes! And as soon as we crossed the Finish line, we learned that Presley had finished in the top 3 of the 1K (even with posing for pictures along the way!). I was so proud of my girls, soaking wet but fully embracing the spirit of the day.
Next came the moment I’d been waiting for: seeing Karen cross the Finish line with her family. After seeing the team in action last year, she decided to join the Survivor Clinic at the Running Room so she could run with us. She was out there pounding the pavement all spring and summer getting ready for this run. Her list of accomplishments and triumphs this year, along with her grace and bravery at each milestone, are so inspiring. She is not only a fierce survivor, but now a badass mother runner too!
And of course, we still had Alana and her daughter, Luisa, to cheer in! They were lighting up the course with their bright, pink outfits and huge, matching smiles. Luisa is turning 5 this year and made it through the whole route like a champ (like mother, like daughter, right?).
There was so much to celebrate that day. The power of family and friendship. The power of hope and love. The human spirit was on display everywhere we looked. As it was all spinning around me, I found myself pausing. Taking a deep breath. Taking a mental picture. Because this is why I run. At the end of the day, THIS is exactly what it’s all about.
We talk a lot about costumes and PRs and medals and “racecations”. We dress up like princesses, chase personal bests, and welcome the bling we earn for our efforts. And that is all great. But those are just the things that make running fun and keep us motivated. They are not WHY we run. Sometimes we need days like this to remind us of why we started this journey; to be grateful that we get to follow this path; and, to do so in tiaras.
PS Want to read more about this race? Check out our race recaps from this event last year! So epic it took 2 race reports to cover it: