[Author's note: I wrote this back in April or May, but never published it because I couldn't find the accompanying picture. Obviously, I still can't find it, but I wanted to share it anyway. Maybe I'll add that picture in someday ... ]
Over the past year, I've attempted some pretty ridiculous things. And by "attempt," I mean "wrote them down and tried really hard at first but then gave up because the weather got cold and I hibernate in winter."
Anyway, one of those things on that list was "run a 5K." My reasoning was that although I hate running, not being able to run much farther than a mile was really bugging me. So I set the goal at 5K (3.2 miles, for those not in the know) and started training as soon as the weather rose above freezing.
[Updated 8/14/12: So a 5K is actually 3.1 miles, not 3.2. I guess I'm not in the know.]
This past weekend, I participated in the We're Looking for Trouble 5K. If you scroll WAY down, you can see that I came in 179th overall, 23rd in my age group, at 37:01 (which is a mistake, mind you ... I came in at 37 minutes even). This comes out to a 11:54 mile time ... which is almost two minutes faster than what I calculated on my taper run on Wednesday. Seriously. My taper run was a 13:46 mile, or a 42:46 5K time.
I woke up at 4am, nervous as sh*t. I tried to go back to sleep, but I just couldn't make myself do it. So after 2 hours of tossing and turning (and waking up my husband), the alarm went off and I popped out of bed.
I could barely eat. I had a few sips of water, but I wasn't really interested. So I just got into my clothes, woke up the kids, and loaded everyone into the car.
The race site is about an hour from where we live, in the middle of Maryland's Amish country. (Side note: Maryland has an Amish country?!) When we turned off the main road, one of the first sights we saw was the horse and buggy caution sign. Honestly, I thought it was a joke, but not even five minutes later, a man in a straw hat rolls by in his carriage. And they continued to roll by as the day wore on.
We were really, really early. Like, the fifth car in the parking area, before the volunteers had even set up early. So we sat in the car, listened to music, fed the kids, and waited. And waited. And waited.
When the registration booth finally opened, I was off like a shot to get my packet. It wasn't anything fancy, just my t-shirt, my bib, and some information on the Mediation Center, but I had my bib! With safety pins! That I could use to pin my bib to my shirt!
Yeah, that happened.
After picking up the packet, all that was left to do was wait. The kids ran around, I stretched, my husband tried to stay awake. The crowd started to swell, the lines for the toilets got really long, and as the appointed start time got closer, I got more and more nervous.
I shouldn't have been. When they called for runners, I headed for some people that looked like they ran about as fast as I did (slow), struck up a conversation (one was training for the Disney Half Marathon in January, one was checking something off his bucket list), and made sure that my music was already on. The race coordinators said,"Go!" And I went. Slowly, at first, then faster, then settling into a good pace.
The course was gorgeous. As I already said, we were in Amish country, but I didn't realize how RURAL this course was. We ran past fields beginning to sprout, old American Foursquare houses with blossoming trees in the front yards, and abandoned farmhouses. But I had 3G connectivity, and therefore my Ke$ha station on Pandora, so I was happy.
The last mile was a little tough. My left instep was beginning to hurt, then my left knee, and then my left hip. I could feel myself running off-balance, but the goal was to finish the race WITHOUT walking, so I kept going. Before I knew it, I was at the final curve. I didn't see my family at first, but then there they were, waiting for me at the finish line. I got a little burst of adrenaline and pushed it out with a smile.
I did it. Not fast, not well, but as far as I'm concerned, I can hang up my running shoes.
Or not. Racing is kind of fun.
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