This has been a post that began coming together in my head during my recent trip to Spokane for their inaugural Title 9k race. In short, it was a rejuvenating, invigorating experience that brought a renewed, fiery excitement for racing back to me. Even after three very long days in the air and on our feet, my body may have felt fatigue, but my spirit was full.
Full enough that I’m told if we ever take a photo like this again, I’m in the back. Short girls can have hops too, okay?
The Title 9k isn’t just a race: it’s a magical event for many women. At my first Title 9k – a Boulder Mother’s Day race where I was a volunteer – I stood in awe as I watched the women depart at the gun, leaving in their wake a hoard of partners holding the hands of small children and the leashes of dogs. On the course, one hears the laughter of mothers and daughters, sometimes whole families of women, participating together. Watching two women chase one another on the course and hug after getting through the finish is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Once again, the countdown has begun – 48 days until the 4th Annual Bay Area Title 9k – and this realization has given me pause. The last four years have been an evolution of sorts of my person and in many ways, this race stands as a marker of this.
Bay Area Title 9k, 1st Annual – 11.07.10 – 1:13:40
The inaugural race was memorable in many ways: the first being that I ran/walked with both my mother, who would later prove my constant companion in the series, and my older sister. The other? It rained. The entire time.
These two gals from our IT department at the home office were volunteering their time to help out – thankfully, like most racers, they took the weather in stride!
This is the only picture I could find of myself (in the middle of talking nonetheless) from the race and it was likely on purpose. Skipping and smiling the whole way, that was me, but notice how unhappy the skin on my face is, and more rounded too. Yes, I was still pretty ill then, and masking it decently, I suppose. At the time I thought the race was just something fun. Today I see that first race as a piece of foundation laid that would help me rebuild myself.
Bay Area Title 9k, 2nd Annual – 8.28.11 – 1:16:55
What a difference a year makes! At this point I had begun to turn my life around some. Just a day or two before the race, my then-fiance and I had visited the East Bay SPCA and brought home a pup who was still known as Penelope (unbeknownst to the dog herself) who would later be dubbed Juno. I was enamored: my 28th birthday gift was my first dog. Things were falling into place: happy puppy to love and care for, wedding to plan, Ragnar Relay to run. I even found some coworkers before the race and stopped for a picture.
There was one hiccup: my mom had been ill, really ill, as in re-flare of previously treated tuberculosis type ill. Her doctor had explicitly told her no running.
One can only imagine their adult parent arguing with the doctor. “I’ve got a race I have to run with my daughter though!” accompanied with a mental flailing of arms and legs. “I have to run.”
And wouldn’t you know it? My stubborn-ass mother showed up and not only did she complete the full 9k, she insisted on running most of it. Check out those post race smiles! I even bought copies of our race photo.
Bay Area Title 9k, 3rd Annual – 9.16.12 – 1:01:47
The 3rd T9k was my most emotional to date for so many reasons: I was one year recovered, my mom was well and ran a PR for the distance and it was my first running in gear from Team Sparkle. It was also the inaugural year of T9 Run Angels on the course and I had been chosen to lead them as the Arch Angel. Last but certainly not least, it was the first race I ran after declaring my run 103 mission. There is a video clip my dad took at the finish and I love hearing his giggle as we cross the finish and I dive in for a hug. He said he was tickled to see us cross so quickly.
Bay Area Title 9k, 4th Annual – 9.15.13 – time TBD
It’s as though a complete evolution of person has happened since the inaugural race: two years recovered, one year married, my first and second half marathons under my belt. It will be my second year as the Arch Angel and I am happier, healthier and more excited than ever to be part of this event that has become so near and dear to my heart.
This year is the part I cannot wait to write about.
Is there a race that is more than a race to you? What sets it apart?