I did it! This past Saturday I ran 13.1 miles in the Palos Verdes Half Marathon (PV 1/2), and with contributions from 80 generous supporters, raised more than $6,000 to help the 9 billion factory farmed animals raised and killed each year in the U.S.
I completed the notoriously difficult course in 2:57—running 13 miles is hard enough, but running 13 miles of rolling hills is even harder! Though with the ocean views, a slight breeze, pelicans flying in formation overhead, and the chance to spot grey whales migrating with their calves, the scenic route offered plenty to keep me in stride.
The first 9.5 miles were fantastic. I had hydrated so well before the start that I didn’t need any water to refresh me until mile 7, though that’s when the sun started burning through the clouds and without a hat, I was getting hotter. The next couple of miles I paced a little slower, saving my energy for the huge hill I knew was coming at mile 9. That was a good plan, because I was able to keep myself powered up and I didn’t slow down until after reaching the top, heading into mile 10.
I was hoping to sprint miles 11-13, but with an unexpected mountain at mile 12, I just did my best to stay focused and consistent. A quarter mile to the finish my right foot began to cramp, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me when I was so close! I took a deep breath, pumped up my music, and with thoughts of all the wonderful people supporting me and all the animals we hope to help, I pushed to the end, finishing fast and strong. I felt unbelievably empowered crossing the finish line, and can’t wait to run this race again next year.
I was also motivated throughout my run knowing that this wasn’t the only Race for Compassion going on! The PV 1/2 was accompanied by a 5K, which COK volunteers Melissa and Steve Griswold ran while showing off their COK shirts to spread compassion with every step: “We decided to make our run count!”
And the next day, on the other coast in Maryland, Team COK ran in the annual Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary Run for the Animals—and came in second place! Led by Team Captain Hina Ayub, one of our of dedicated volunteers, there were 25 of us in all (plus Sherlock, our furry four-legged team mascot!) who either ran the 5K or participated in the 1-mile fun walk. Highlights include team member Caitlin McTague taking first place overall for female runners, and Steve Small sporting an an awesome cow costume during the run!
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