"The Race!" - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

"The Race!"

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Working a nightshift during the week makes getting up early for any event a bit or a challenge for me. But getting up at 5 a.m. Sunday was the beginning of what would prove to be a great morning. Today, Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure held its annual Race For The Cure in Balboa Park.

I never sleep much when I know I have to get up early so the first order of business was to stumble down to my kitchen to make some coffee. Then I trekked up the stairs to wake my 12-year-old daughter Kirsten who always accompanies me to The Race. She's a great buddy and wonderful company on a dark, chilly morning. We each opened our race packets and put on our Race t-shirts, numbers, scarves and pins. The excitement was starting to build. On the drive in we turned up the radio and and as she sang the words to all the songs she knew I decided to join in... something I find quite fun but ultimately has Kirsten shaking her head, covering her face and saying "Geez Mom...." I remember when she was 7 or 8 she thought I could do no wrong and quite often used to tell me I had a pretty voice. But now she's 12 and most of the time seems to think I'm a dork. Welcome to the etween years.

When we got to the park Kirsten spotted some familiar faces in the KFMB tent across the grass and started to run ahead of me. I was a bit stiff from my three hours of hiking at Torrey Pines yesterday as part of my Three Day training and had trouble keeping up - which she thought was hilarious. Now I was actually starting to feel like a dork.

As soon as we arrived we got ready to greet the walkers and runners and hand out some pins and scarves. My co-workers all pointed out how much taller my daughter was this year - she now stands a whopping 5Œ 7 and is passing me in a hurry. This makes me feel like a small dork.

The survivors ceremony got underway shortly after 7 a.me. and included a procession of pink hats worn by amazing people who have fought the battle against breast cancer and are now part of the effort to wipe it out for good. There was music, a proclamation from Mayor Jerry Sanders that this was now, officially the Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure Day - and an inspiring speech by Deena Deardurff, this year's honorary survivor. Deena is a former Olympic athlete who won a gold medal in swimming at the e72 games in Munich and she has an incredible energy about her that seemed to spread through the crowd this morning. Perfect.

I then joined Rudy Novotny who emcees the start of the race with me each year. Rudy is a runner himself and brings that pop of enthusiasm that really gets everyone going. We slow things down for a moment as Lucinda Nichols, a former honorary survivor and opera singer, provides a beautiful version of the Star Spangled Banner. This woman can sing! When she hits a high note at the end the crowd of nearly 15 thousand erupts into applause and cheers. I announce "runners on your mark", Deena sounds the horn and they're off!

After a few minutes of reading the names of various teams that pass by the platform at the starting line I bid Rudy farewell and Kirsten and I join the crowd of walkers. It's pretty slow going at first but after the first mile the crowd spreads out a little and we pick up our pace. We chat with other walkers, sharing stories and jokes and comments about the beautiful San Diego morning. Eventually we break off from the crowd a little and it seems like it's just the two of us. We chat with each other. Another mile passes and I find myself holding her hand and for whatever reason - she lets me. And it hits me. She's really growing up.

I've always said I walk for my daughter so that when she grows up she won't have to. Now I feel like I'm starting to run out of time. But I find peace in knowing that I'm doing what I can. On this special morning some 15 thousand of us are doing what we can and we should feel good about it. So thank-you to everyone who took part in this event and the 700 volunteers who make it happen every year. And thank-you to my little girl for making my three miles so much more - and for quietly letting me know that, dork or not, I'm still your mother- and you're still my baby.

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