Saturday, June 12, 2010

2010 Race for the cure 5K

Shannon and I ran the Race for the Cure 5K in Raleigh today. Shannon took pictures of course, which are here.

While my contribution didn’t amount to much, the 20,000+ runners raised around $1.5 million dollars for research. Also, it was quite inspirational to see the breast cancer survivors out there running. Apparently there were 2,000 of them, which really brings attention to how common the disease is.

This is the second time I have attempted the race for the cure. Last year I ran it in 19:48 and but failed to find the cure for cancer. This year I was prepared, and more determined than ever.

As we lined up on Hillsborough street at 7am, sweat dripped from runners in the heavy, humid air. I doubled checked the inventory of my equipment and supplies, and put my finger on my watch start button.

Mile 1
The gun sounded and we were off.

I decided to start conservative this year, running at an easy pace while working on a chemotherapy experiment on a small sample of mice. I had the cage strapped to my chest, and the poor little guys bounced around a little bit as I clomped down a hill.

I pulled a pipette out of my pocket and started the first round of treatment.
After the disaster last year with the hypodermic needles, I was wisely using oral dosing today.


Mile 2
Everything was going great. I hit the mile mark in 5:58, slightly ahead of pace, and was already collecting blood samples.

I passed a couple of inexperienced runners, who had started out way too fast. Apparently they sprinted right out of the gate with some stem cell research, and were being held up by religious protesters in front of the church on Brooks Ave.

This is where I ran into trouble too. Literally. I was looking behind me, firing up the centrifuge strapped to my back, when…. “BANG!”. I ran straight into this guy pushing this giant radiation machine up a hill.

My mouse cage flipped over, and I stumbled, dropping a whole batch of test tubes that shattered on the pavement. “Sorry! My fault!” I shouted to the guy, and then cursed at myself.

I checked the cage, and while I didn’t lose any subjects the experiment was ruined. The 12 mice in the control group had spilled over into the treatment section and they were all mixed together, and I couldn’t tell which was which. I was so stupid not to tag them!

That cost me, as I ran the second mile in 6:07.

Mile 3
So I went to my backup plan, and pulled out my new iPhone and with the built in Electron Microscope. I was going to push to the finish with a retro-virus study. It was a long shot because it was really complicated and I only had a mile left.

Around here I got passed by this guy running the race barefoot. He was tall with a big bushy beard, “Good job” I said waving to him. I could smell the strong scent of green tea and ginger, and it looked like he was testing out herbal remedies on some Petri dish cultures.

The hills were relentless. I was gasping for air and sweat was dripping into my eyes and onto my iPhone. My stride had fallen apart and I was having problems with the DNA Sequencing App.

With a quarter mile to go, I got desperate and checked my bag for an alternative. Acupuncture? Lasers?

I crossed the finish line in 19:11, completely exhausted, and again without a cure.

[Note: After I wrote this, I discovered that I unintentionally, yet shamefully, ripped this idea off from The Onion. Sigh. I have no original thoughts.]