Turning Weaknesses Into Strengths: My 5K PR Race

May 10, 2016 · 13 comments

On Saturday, I ran the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure here in Richmond, VA.


As everyone knows, with my sister’s fight, breast cancer is a cause I will support to no end, so it seemed like fate that Alex’s mom used to work for Susan G. Komen and is one of the race organizers.


She signed Alex, his dad, and me up for the event a few months ago, and despite 5Ks admittedly not being my ideal race distance (I’m definitely a slow twitch muscle fiber athlete), I’ve been really excited to race for the cure.

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This was the first year the race was split up into competitive and recreational, so Alex and I laced up early and were at the start line at 7:30 a.m. Since Alex came in third overall last year and has one long stride to about every three of mine, I planned to just chase him and see how closely I could keep up.

Y’all. This 5K went by so freakin’ fast! The last one I ran was the Fit Foodie Run in Fairfax last June (psst, we are running it again in two weeks and you can sign up here with discount code “lifeofblyss”!), and I remember feeling like it might last forever with twists and turns around buildings. For me, it’s hard to keep up my strongest sprint for 3.1 miles, and because it’s so challenging to me, 5Ks seem to drag.

However, this course was beautiful. It goes over bridges with a view of the city, spans across a good amount of land, and has a good amount of uphill/downhill. Since I worked out normally throughout the week with my typical daily 5 miles, took a fair amount of Pure Barre classes, and taught my Pure Barre and Pure Barre Platform classes, I was pretty sore the Friday before the race, which always makes me nervous.

Ultra roller to the rescue!

You know how sometimes you can run a race and perform pretty well, but it feels terrible? I think every 5K has felt like that.

Saturday didn’t feel like that.

I felt strong, I felt capable, and I felt like I wasn’t even working too hard, which is partially why I wasn’t really sure how my finishing time would turn out, despite checking my TomTom Runner Cardio GPS watch stats.

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I finished first for women, 7th overall. My previous best 5K time was back in 2010 with a time of 21:18, so I shaved over a full minute off my time. And it felt good!

I’m still pretty shocked by the outcome of this race, and I attribute it to two things.

One, Pure Barre Platform.
If you haven’t yet tried this class, you need to. And not just once. Just like regular Pure Barre, to get the most out of this class, you need to try it a handful of times and build the strength to really benefit. Platform was so absurdly difficult the first 5(ish) times I took it, and now it’s just another great workout I love to dominate. I feel so much stronger when I’m taking a regular Pure Barre class, and I can definitely tell a difference in my running strength, this race serving as Exhibit A.

Two, the absurd strength I see in my sister.
Her strength and passion are contagious, and it’s been a learning experience. I’ve watched her beat breast cancer twice now, one in her 30s, once in her very early 40s. Not only did she kick it, but she did it while raising three little girls, and with a smile on her face. After witnessing how stalwart she stayed though the entire process, never have I been more thankful for the way our parents raised us, and never have I ever believed more that God gives hurdles to the people who can handle them. Now, in my pretty mundane (by comparison) every day life, I remember that strength and disposition I see in her and I try to mirror it.

Oh, and Alex? He came in fourth place overall, beating me by about 20 seconds.


I’m just lucky he even lets me go on leisurely runs with him. Last year the guy placed third.


After the race, we were interviewed by NBC12 and made friends with the ladies I watch early morning at 6:00 a.m. anytime I hit the treadmill. I told them I felt like they were my training buddies… ha.

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Yesterday morning’s run was probably the most eventful one I’ve had in ages. I almost LOLed off the back of the treadmill as Andrew Frieden spoke to my pace and showed a picture of my finish line cross (if you missed it, follow me @ ablyssa on Snapchat).

This race and this cause means so much to me and my family, and what really matters is the actual race for the cure. I believe in Susan G. Komen’s mission, and I’m so thankful there are other people out there fighting for the many (1 in 8!) women like my sister.


What’s the most meaningful race you’re ever run? Ever tried Pure Barre platform? Notice any results?

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Liz @ I Heart Vegetables May 10, 2016 at 7:38 pm

Nice job on the race!!! You have me tearing up thinking about the strength you get from your amazing sister!! 🙂
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2 Kelsey May 11, 2016 at 3:21 pm

20 min!! GIRL! You’re on fire! Congrats on such a fast run. You deserve that PR!!


3 Di May 13, 2016 at 12:59 pm

Congrats on your time, that’s amazing!! It’s great to hear your sister has beat cancer twice, as well…it’s always encouraging to hear about survivors and to see the positive effect they have on the rest of us.

I haven’t tried Pure Barre, but I have incorporated a lot of strength training into my routine and the knee problems that I used to have when I run have disappeared. So, similarly, I think strength training has helped!

It’s not technically a race, but I participate in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk in September and raise money for cancer research and development as well as overall patient care. How I got involved is a long story, but cancer sucks and I’m happy to donate time and raise money for such a good cause!
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4 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss May 16, 2016 at 9:13 am

Thanks, girlfriend! <3 We need to do something soon, btw!
Alyssa @ Life of bLyss recently posted…Turning Weaknesses Into Strengths: My 5K PR RaceMy Profile


5 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss May 16, 2016 at 10:17 am

I’m with ya. Back in college, I used to focus so much on my cardio and didn’t pay nearly enough attention to my strength training. It was like “off day” and just played on the machines. Ha! I see a huge difference in my body when I pair Pure Barre with my running regimen.
Alyssa @ Life of bLyss recently posted…Turning Weaknesses Into Strengths: My 5K PR RaceMy Profile


6 kristen moore May 16, 2016 at 12:04 pm

wow, how inspiring! susan g. komen is a big part of my family too with my grandmother having breast cancer as well. thanks for sharing! i hope i get to do a 5k with them one year.

Loving Moore Blog


7 Elizabeth May 16, 2016 at 1:08 pm

Congrats, Alyssa!

Been following you since our field hockey coaching days back in the 757 (miss seeing you on the field CHCS vs NCS) <3


8 Brittany May 17, 2016 at 8:49 am

This post makes me so happy! Your sister is such an inspiration and her strength is unquestionable. I can’t imagine going through cancer once, let along twice and with three small children. She really is Superwoman! <3 And you are legit a speed demon and totally rocked that race. So proud of you.

Can you teach me your ways for this weekend?!? Thanks!
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9 Jen May 17, 2016 at 2:34 pm

congrats on the time!

can i ask, what brooks are you running in? my last pair of brooks pureflow 3’s are about to bite it and i’ve heard awful things about the new design.


10 Taylor May 18, 2016 at 8:36 am

Congrats on your speedy race!! Breast cancer awareness is a cause near to my heart (my grandma had breast cancer).


11 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss May 18, 2016 at 8:47 am

Aww, thanks, Elizabeth! I remember!! I hope you’re doing well. <3
Alyssa @ Life of bLyss recently posted…Turning Weaknesses Into Strengths: My 5K PR RaceMy Profile


12 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss May 18, 2016 at 8:55 am

Let’s run together on Saturday. 🙂 I bet you PR this time!!
Alyssa @ Life of bLyss recently posted…Turning Weaknesses Into Strengths: My 5K PR RaceMy Profile


13 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss May 18, 2016 at 9:05 am

Hi, Jen! I’m honestly in that camp, I think. I fell in LOVE with the first Brooks Pure Connect shoe (I had them in mint green and used them as my racing shoes for way too long because I loved them so much). I used the Brooks Pure Flow 2 as my training shoe, and really loved those, too. But I haven’t found any lately of which I loved the feel and appearance. I actually train in Under Armour Speedform Gemini Running Shoes now (fitted by Fleet Feet), and I LOVE them. I never thought I’d be happily running in UA shoes, but the soft core and light design with support for my skinny foot and high arches make them pretty perfect for me. These you see in the photo were random Brooks Pure Connects I found at TJ Maxx one time, and they don’t compare to the first Pure Connects I used to run in! I wish we could get them to bring back the originals.

Sorry, that was super long winded, but I hope I answered your question! 😉
Alyssa @ Life of bLyss recently posted…Turning Weaknesses Into Strengths: My 5K PR RaceMy Profile


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