Two years before I realized I had back issues of my own, I ran in the We’ve Got Your Back 5K. It was a small race in Reston, VA put together by the Virginia Spine Institute (VSI). Not only was packet pick-up right there at VSI, but the race started and ended in their parking lot.

In addition to a white short-sleeve race shirt, our swag bag included a heavy-duty flat backpack.

Shirt front…


Shirt back…




In honor of this coming Sunday’s tenth anniversary running of the We’ve Got Your Back 5K, I’m recapping my 2010 race. Back then, the race was in May, but has since been moved to the fall as a part of the national race series under the same name. Race proceeds benefit the Spinal Research Foundation’s research and patient advocacy.

Prior to the race, Bill and I passed along the following information about the event to the Cruisers. As a former patient of VSI, Bill wanted to run, but was sidelined with an Achilles injury, and instead, joined us on his bike.

Join in to celebrate fellow Cruisers’ successful recoveries from spinal/back injuries over the past few years. 

Let’s run as a team! If you would like to run as part of our team, sign up as a member of the Cruisers when registering.

For anyone interested in increasing the mileage of the 5K event, Jerome has set up the following:

  • Start at Trailside Park in Herndon at 7:45 am
  • Run from Trailside in Herndon at Mile Marker 21 to Reston’s Mile Marker 17 (4 miles).
  • Starting at 9 am, run the “We’ve Got Your Back 5K” for spinal health (3.1 miles) to celebrate Bill’s and Carrie’s successful surgeries and recovery!
  • After the race, run back from Reston past Trailside to Mile Marker 21.5 and back to finish at Mile Marker 21. (4.9 miles)
  • Total run 12 miles.

Those just getting back into running can meet us at the race and run/walk the 5K.

Like Bill, Jerome had a very good reason to want to run the race. He had suffered a back injury the day before a scheduled triathlon and subsequent visits with one of the doctors at VSI lead to yoga therapy as part of his rehab. It was in celebration of that part of his journey that influenced his decision to run the race; and today, Jerome recalls how grateful he was to run after having come back from his injury. Learning the importance of a strong core and flexible body to help prevent future injuries just may have been the motivating factor in him becoming a yoga teacher.

While on our Cruisers’ road trip to Boston the previous month, we discussed creating a Cruisers racing team. Once home, Jerome made bibs for us to wear to races, but I think this was the only race where we wore them.


Jerome also found this cute cartoon and printed it out to wear on his back. 

We've Got Your Back 5K


The morning of the race, Jerome and I were the only two to meet at Trailside Park to add mileage to our day’s run. Once at the race, we found Beth who had run directly from her home, and then found Rich and his daughter who had driven all the way from Maryland to join us. Bill cruised in on his bike just in time to play photographer and cheer us on as the race started. 

We've Got Your Back 5K

We've Got Your Back 5K

Looks like we spotted Bill and the camera again as we were lining up to run. 😉  Check out how my water belt fit around my waist. No wonder I had to stop wearing it after my back injury with the way the water bottle bounced right on my lower back, and thank goodness for lower slung hydration packs available today.

We've Got Your Back 5K

And… we’re off! Can you find us?

We've Got Your Back 5K

Beth, Jerome, and I stayed together most of the race. The course ran along a relatively flat section of usually hilly Reston and then turned onto a downhill portion of the W&OD Trail. After our turnaround, I recall whining quite a bit as we made our climb back up the trail as we reversed the out-and-back course to the finish line.

We've Got Your Back 5K

Highlights along the course were seeing both Bill and Beth’s husband Tom, and seeing friends along the way due to the out and back nature of the course. We maintained a respectable pace despite being long distance runners without a lot of experience running 5K’s (it was only my 4th 5K). Jerome, who had pulled ahead of us during the climb back up the W&OD Trail, was waiting for us as we entered the parking lot so we could all finish the race together. We finished with a time of 28:39 (9:13 pace), and for me, 8th out of 19 in my age group.

Even though for this group of marathoners it seemed like we were finished with our race almost as quickly as we started, it was fun spending time with friends; and therefore, a very enjoyable race.

After the race, Jerome and I ran the 4.9 miles back to the park where we’d met earlier that morning. We snacked on homemade muffins and orange juice. I had just learned about muffin tops, and cracked myself up demonstrating what muffin thighs look like. Apparently, I didn’t quite have the concept of how a muffin top is created, and yes, I’m easily amused.

We've Got Your Back 5K

Photo credit: Jerome

Thank you Jerome and Beth for contributing and filling in details where my memory failed. 😉 Finding the email that I’d sent to the Cruisers was also very helpful!


  • Questions:
  • Have you ever had any back issues? 
  • What’s your all-time favorite race?
  • When is your next race?