On Sunday I ran the Eleanor Firehouse 5K. They even gave me a shirt! I was hoping for my first race bib, but we got popscicle sticks. I was number 48.
It was freezing (by freezing I mean 50 degrees) and drizzling rain when we first arrived. There weren't that many runners - maybe 100, but the ones that were already there looked tall, skinny and fast. I was sooo nervous. I signed in, picked up my packet and went back to the car to
My race shirt. It's a tech t...all slick and shiny.
When it was race time, I took off right in the middle of the pack. I wish now I had started farther back, only because all the lightening fast track kids and crazy runners were in my sight and I took off waaay too fast chasing them. I didn't mean to, I told myself to take it slow, but the excitement, the cold and the fact that there were a bunch of people behind me trying to pass me freaked me out.
About a half mile in, I was worn out and my mind started taking me to bad places. "You'll never make it, you're already toast." "What were you thinking?" "You are so not a runner." I slowed down and forced myself take a realistic look at what was going on. I always struggle the first ten to twelve minutes of my runs, usually about the first mile. Then, my breathing gets more steady, my gate more rhythmic, my legs no longer threaten to leave me lying in a heap in the road. If all my running felt like the first ten minutes, I would have quit a long time ago.
I hung in there. Finally we turned onto a residential street and as we were coming in, we were met by the front of the packers who had already circled the block. I had to laugh. Those guys were fast. There was a little guy hanging right up there with them. Came to find out later that he is seven...and he came in tenth overall.
By this point I'd certainly found my pace and was doing so much better. I liked the residential route. People were out in their yards and they would wave and I'd wave back- so much better than the honking cars that scared the begeezus out of me along the main road.
I was by myself for a long time. I wasn't quite sure what to think of that, so I didn't. Instead, I thought about Shelly, and how she just puts one foot in front of the other... Every. Single. Day. And Emz running fifty freaking miles in one day. Who the heck can run fifty miles and come out looking spectacular? Must be the pickle juice. I thought about Rae and how she started out with a beginner program just like me and now she's running 10K's. I've got this.
Finally I began to catch up with a group of runners. Then I began to pass them, one by one. By myself again, I saw a couple ahead and made it my goal to catch them. We went back and forth for a while, they would lead then we would switch places. At some point I looked back and didn't see them anymore. When I rounded the corner, I could see the finish line way up ahead. Excited, I picked it up a little. I passed a few young runners and could see three more before the finish. Slow and steady, I caught up. The last girl was seemed to be struggling a bit so I said, "we're almost there, just a little farther." She grunted and I went on by. I started searching the finish line for my family and thinking about what I was going to eat. Suddenly I heard clomp, clomp, clomp behind me. What? I glanced back to see yellow shirt closing in. I took off as fast as I could. She beat me to the finish, but not for lack of trying.
I had no idea what my time was. My husband cracked up at this. "You didn't see that giant clock?" Um, no. I was too busy trying to get away from yellow shirt girl.
I finished at 31:41. My best time so far. I learned a lot too. I learned not to give chase to the fast kids. Not to listen to anything my mind tells me the first mile. Do think about all the people who inspire me. I learned not to fall for last stretch shennanigans. And last but not least I learned I can run pretty fast when someone is chasing me, but then when I stop I get all woozy and feel like I might pass out.