Saturday, September 15, 2012
I did it!
I just ran the best race of my life!
Well, technically, it’s the ONLY race I’ve run, so by default it is the best.
If you can call being in last place, the best.
I do, for three reasons:
1 – I signed up for, trained for, and showed up for my first 5K. (I say first 5K very loosely, because I am not convinced by any stretch that there will be another to follow.) For me, this was no small feat. It meant waking early. And I am not a morning girl. It meant running no matter how I felt, good or bad. It meant time away from other things I like to do. It wasn’t all bad like I make it seem though. Somehow, when all of that was happening, somewhere along the way, I started to really like running.
2 – I never stopped running. Even after everyone in my group passed me up. Even after an old man, with a knee brace and a marked limp, passed me up. Even after three old ladies who were walking, passed me up. I never stopped. I kept my slow and steady pace, and I am so proud of that!
And 3 – I crossed the finish line. With a big ol’ smile on my face too! I have never felt so able. Able to do something I had set my mind to do. Able to see it through to the finish.
Here’s a re-cap of my day:
I spent the whole day before, near panicked after reading this. Saul kept laughing at me, telling me not to worry so much. It’s just running Sarah. Yea. I know.
I had a very hard time falling asleep. And staying asleep. When my alarm rang at 5:00am I was eager to push snooze, but didn’t. I had a list of things to get ready before we left. At some point in the night, both girls had climbed into our bed, so they were up with me, awfully chipper and loud for such an early rise.
We scrambled to get everyone in the car, and I felt super stressed after Saul told me Buena Vista is actually closer to 2.5 hours away. It didn’t help when we got stuck behind a slow truck in the first part of our mountain drive. I was sure I would be scrambling to get checked in on time. Our drive was smooth, even though the kids kept asking are we there yet? I was so nervous, I thought I was going to throw-up about 7 different times.
We didn’t do too bad after-all, and made it to check in an hour early. Plenty of time to pick up my packet, my bib, and make 4 trips to the bathroom. Yep….4!
The kids were all happy to be able to stretch their legs, and busied themselves with tree climbing, rock-jumping, and running. I didn’t even mind all the noise they were making, probably because I was just trying to distract myself, and enjoy the moment. I am so glad they were all there with me!
Isaac kept asking me questions like Do you think you’re going to be able to finish? and What do you get if you win?
I finally had to ask him to stop asking me questions.
I did a few warm up laps and stretched. By the time they announced for the 5K racers to line up at the buses, I was finally feeling more relaxed. The kids and Saul all hugged me goodbye.
I made small chat on the bus with a few women who were sitting close to me. As we drove to the starting line, I noticed that the course was very flat. YIPPEE!! At least I didn’t have any hills to overcome.
It was weird being at the starting line. I was off to the side, but near the front. All along, I told myself I would not worry about keeping up with others. My plan was to start slow, but end strong. They signaled the start and we were off. Right away, many ran past me. I felt a surge of adrenaline pulsing through my veins, but held back from running too fast. I didn’t want to get shin splints, or run out of breath right at the start of the race.
About the half mile mark, a group of old ladies who were walking, passed me up. Not too long after that, a man with a knee brace and limp, passed me up. I didn’t dare look back yet, but the road was pretty quiet, and I was sure I was the last one out. Oh well. Just keep on trucking!
I did look back at the mile mark and saw a few others pretty far back from me. So I wouldn’t be last. What a relief. The first mile of the race was on a dirt road. After that, we were on the side of a two-lane highway. It was all gravel, and that made me nervous and unsteady on my feet. I felt my foot slide a few times on some bigger rocks, and started to grip the road a bit after that.
I had nearly reached the halfway point, when all of the sudden, I felt a strong breeze to my right. A Marathoner had just passed me up. He was really booking too! He was the first of many that passed me, and several of them were clapping me on as they flew by. I could not believe they had just run 26 miles and they were cheering me for running 1.5! I must be looking pretty pathetic
I saw the sign marked “1 MILE TO GO” and I was so excited! I was nearing the town now and the streets were busy with cars and onlookers. As I passed, many cheered me on: Almost there! Keep going! You’re doing great!
Nearing the finish, I heard my kids screaming Mommy! and I picked up my pace. The finish line was crowded and Olivia escaped from Saul who wanted to get a picture of me crossing the bridge. She nearly tripped another runner…oops!
I was so relieved to cross the finish line. And so proud! My family was all there to cheer me on, and I was so happy to see them.
There was a huge spread of food and treats for the runners and their families. I wasn’t sure I was ready to eat, but the kids were starving. Big surprise. We spread out our blanket in the park, listened to the music, and watched all the people while we ate. It was nice to be relaxed, the race behind me and my family in front of me.
Isaac gave me so many hugs. You did it mom!