Thursday, February 20, 2014

#throwbackthursday ramblings

Each Thursday, I've been posting pictures and race bibs from past races on my Facebook page. A little self-indulgent, maybe, but these trips down memory lane have been fun for me. I've been running for 20+ years, but haven't given much thought to the miles I piled up and races I ran back in the beginning of my running years. I started running to chase away some personal demons, but found that running was actually something I enjoyed and was fairly good at. I've always been a middle of the pack runner. Even back in the 1990s, in spite of some pretty fast running times, there weren't as many people running. A recent story in the Wall Street Journal lamented the trend of slower race times among runners, but this may be because of more people taking up running. Regardless, even though I've slowed down over the years, I remain in the middle of the pack. Alrightly then!

The Y-Me race for breast cancer was started in 1991 to support a Chicago based breast cancer hotline. Women who were diagnosed with breast cancer could call the hotline and talk to a volunteer who would provide emotional support and information. This race ran through 2012, until the organization declared bankruptcy. The race grew from a small Chicago based race to a national race that took place in multiple cities, raising millions for the Y-Me organization. Every year on Mother's Day, runners and walkers gathered to raise money to support this organization. The 3 years I ran the race, it took place in Montrose Harbor and we ran along the lakefront. The race grew in popularity, and moved to Grant Park the following year. I stopped participating because in 1997 I was 6 months pregnant and wasn't running during my pregnancy. And then time passed as I became absorbed with my growing family. While I kept running, I didn't run races for about 10 years.

When I returned to road races, I was amazed at the changes. First of all, races were huge! When I picked up my first race packet, there was a D-tag on the back of my bib. I felt like a newbie attaching it to my shoelaces and stressed about doing it right. At my races in the 1990s, there were no timing chips! You tore the strip off the bottom of your bib and handed it to a volunteer at the finish line, who slid it on a spindle. Someone called out your time and another person recorded it. Super lo-tech. My race time was never recorded in one of the Y-Me races that I ran. And of course, that was my PR race. That was the chance you took back then. When I posted this on facebook, I realized I had no pictures from any of these races. There weren't photographers at the finish line to capture your victorious finish (and sell you a photo or 2). Race shirts were cotton t-shirts (which I did run in!)--tech shirts? What was that?

I chose this race for 2 people dear to me: my aunt Dottie, who was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer and fought for 10 years before she died from the disease; and my colleague and friend Lenore, who was diagnosed and died within 2 years of a very aggressive form of the disease. I thought about some of the women with advanced breast cancer that I had cared for as a home health nurse.

Funny how 3 race bibs could provide so much thought and memories!

Have you run any races for charity? Run in memory of someone? How long have you been running?

Oooh! My favorite popchips can be yours for 6 months! Follow the link to the giveaway....The Happy Runner

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  1. I started running on the mill and up to 10k when I was 35. I didn't do my first half and full until 2007. You know the March Madness half in Cary? There still aren't any chips. The photographer at the finish leaves at the 2 hour mark so anyone after that is SOL. The first year I ran it only the first 200 to register got a shirt so none for me. No medal either. Ah the old days!

    1. Now that I'm used to chip timing, I don't know that I'd want to do a race old school! But I've heard that March Madness is a great race. Glad I decided to skip it this year...the way the weather has been, conditions could be dicey....