After the disaster we had trying to run the 10K a couple of weeks ago I was sure to get up in plenty of time for the Presbyterian Home 5K and 1 mile youth run taking place in Lynchburg, VA. We had less than a 10 minute drive to the race start so we thought we would leave about 35 minutes before race time. I had my usual pre-race breakfast of a double fiber honey wheat English muffin with peanut butter and a banana. I think if you find a combination that works for you-stick with it!
The hubs was coming to cheer me on so we packed up his SUV and headed out. We plugged the start location in the GPS and saw we would get there with 22 minutes to spare which is perfect for me. However, in keeping our 5k curse going we get started on our trip only to find every direction we tried to go in the roads were already blocked. Finally, with 10 minutes until race time we get directions from an officer…wrong directions. So we stop and ask another officer who gives us correct directions. It is now 3 minutes until race time. My husband is zipping along as quickly as he can but we still get to the race about 4 minutes after it has started.
I find someone (fully expecting the same reaction we got in Ronaoke at the AEP run) and was surprised/rattled when they said “go ahead and jump on in there and run it”. I had not stretched or gotten in any kind of good mental state so I stood there for a second. The hubs nudged me on the shoulder and said “Go on. You know you want to run this”. So I took off. I looked back at the clock and saw I was 6:15 seconds late starting the race. I had to remember to subtract that later to get my time.
There was no one around. The families/friends cheered in support as I started which was nice but made me feel like an idiot. I kind of want to fade away at these events. I do them because they push me (and scare me) so being a lone runner down a crowd of people was a huge mental barrier for me but I thought just keep running and you will be out on your own soon.
I was not paying attention to pace so much as I ran up the first hill, down the first hill and down onto some level ground. I was thinking a faster runner would catch up to at least someone but I thought for sure I’d be on my own the whole way. I had not been running long when the “pack leader” came zipping by me in the other direction. I must have looked startled but he was nice and told me I was doing great. I love friendly runners but sometimes I secretly wonder if they are patronizing me. And yes I know those are my own demons talking. This race actually did a lot for me mentally but I am getting there.
I turned a corner (still having not walked mind you) and what do I see? I have caught up to the walkers and a couple of interval runners. It was just a few people but I was beaming inside. I had started 6 minutes late and had caught up to the group! (at least the end of it!)
I passed a few walkers at a time and then in front of me I see some of the slower runners (like me). I usually end up somewhere in the middle of the slower runners so I was glad to have caught up to them. I also realize at this point that my legs are on fire (no stretching) and I am feeling a little queasy. I think some of it was heat and some of it was nervous energy. I was praying for a water stop because of course I didn’t take a sip before I took off.
I rounded another corner and took off down the first really long stretch. I knew there were hills coming and I would need to walk some so while on the flat land I thought just keep running and I did. It was not long before I was seeing loads of runners coming up the other side of the stretch. A lot of them called out my number and encouragement. At first I was incredibly embarrassed. Of course I am thinking “Is this encouragement out of pity?” “Do they think I have no business doing this?” “Are they just surprised I haven’t dropped dead in this heat?” As weird as I felt I just kept running.
I started thinking, as running is good for that, about why on earth I was having the thoughts I did. This time last year I could not run more than 20-30 seconds without stopping (if that). I didn’t watch my diet. I didn’t try to learn how to be better. I spent a lot of energy talking and not a lot doing. Now only a few months later I am running, training for a 1/2 marathon, eating right, 35 (and losing) pounds lighter. Only today I had overcome a 6 minute deficit and was running almost the entire way. So heck yeah go #182. Go me!
Something changed in me immediately. When someone called out something to me I could call back “Hey Thanks!” or at least a Woohoo!. Running is fun when I do it alone. Why shouldn’t it be fun when I do it with the other people who love to do it (even if they are better than me right now anyway)? So with a new mental outlook I just kept running.
I got to a couple of big hills which are my personal kryptonite. I am going to have to do a lot more hill training before the Disney Wine and Dine 1/2 Marathon in October. But even though I did quite a bit of walking on the hills when I could muster up the strength I just kept running.
I kept pace with most of my fellow slower runners and I knew I was in the final quarter mile. My heart sank a little when I saw what was in between me and the finish line.
Another hill followed by another hill. But I just kept running. While I was on this hill I had a little chat with myself. I prepared myself for what I thought the clock would say and reminded myself I got to subtract 6 minutes and 15 seconds. It is funny the things that hurt our self esteems. I am not fast, even a little, but by my own standards I want to do well.
When I got to the top of the hill I saw the hubs standing there. He was taking pictures and cheering for me. If I didn’t feel like I was going to throw up after running that hill I would have been beaming. I could not believe what happened next. I glanced up at the clock and even with no subtracting at all I had gotten a PR by 2 full minutes!! After subtracting that means I beat my best time by 8 minutes and 15 seconds!!!!!!!!
I am not going to diminish my victory by pointing out that I am still one of the slowest runners. Nor will I diminish it by any other negative emotion that likes to creep in. I did good by my own standards and those are the only standards that should really matter. I am feeling so good I will give you my time (with my 6.15 subtracted of course). I finished this 5K in 44 minutes and 31 seconds. This is by no means considered a good thing in the running world but in my world it made me proud.
My next goal is to finish a 5k in 30-something minutes. I don’t care if its 39.59. Just 30-something. I’ll get there. I will just keep running until I make it.
After the race I was shaking. I grabbed a water and shoved an orange slice in my mouth. Oranges are my all time favorite post-race treat. I snacked on oranges as Bry and I walked around and took some snap shots. I will also point out that I lot of people came up to ask me about the blog. Apparently the hubs was pimping out www.runninginpinkproject.com while I ran! I also met a really nice girl who is training for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC with someone I work with. Small World!
Overall, a great run that helped me break through a huge mental roadblock. I feel more ready than ever to keep training, keep running, and keeping moving toward my goals (both fitness and weight loss).
If I could say anything to the readers, who like myself, are trying to lose weight (whether a little or a lot) I would say please don’t let your own hangups hold you back. At the end of the day it’s just you, your life, and the people you love and trust who matter. There is a whole world of things out there you could be doing. Don’t be afraid to do them. Just Keep Living and Just Keep Running.