I ran my first 5k race today. Only I wasn’t really racing. My goal was to finish. I did way better than that. My pace was under 11 minutes per mile and I was so happy with that given my cough that won’t go away and the period that came back after only 20 days.
My friend who cajoled me into signing up in the first place was serious. She’s been training and this race was only her first stop on the way to a 10k in a few weeks. She did awesome and got a medal. I was proud of her. I was also sure that I’m not going to be one who goes for a 10k anytime soon – if ever. I like to run to keep in shape but that long of a distance does not interest me.
The first mile I was good but creaky and slow. My muscles weren’t warmed up yet and there were all these people I had to watch out for that were either going too slow uphill or too fast downhill. Too many feet, not a broad enough running path. It was hard to pick out where I wanted mine t to land. But it was new and exciting and I was definitely not bored. This was way better than staying home sitting on my couch cushion.
The second mile was the hardest. Always is. It’s the longest. But it’s where you get your stride. If you can make it through the second mile you are in the home stretch! You get the Gatorade cup during the second mile! People on the side lines start cheering you on. You start to get a little excited. Maybe even change your relationship status on facebook and tell a few people you’re in love.
For me, today, during my second mile I was day dreaming about lopping off the heads of every bald man who ran past me. Ally McBeal style. Or tripping them. I was mad during my second mile. I was just plain-old mad.
If you can’t handle the race at that point, that is when you SHOULD BAIL. If you know your heart’s not in it, you know it and should stop trying to do something for the sake of who knows what. I mean if you start throwing up…stop running already! Don’t make other people start worrying about you and don’t make unwise choices for yourself cause then you just become a burden to the people around you. It’s like a 56 year old man trying to keep up with a fit 20 year old. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. STOP ALREADY.
As soon as I passed the 2 mile mark there was absolutely no hand-wringing on my part. I was in it to win it. Well, ok, maybe not win it. But I was in it and I was committed to doing my very best. I passed a few people, even some teens. I felt strong, my body felt good, my chest was burning a little and it’s not like it wasn’t difficult. It was but my breathing was deep and even. I HAD THIS. I WANTED IT. No buts about it.
The last few yards were uphill and they were hard. I had one more right turn and then only a few steps to the balloon arch. For a brief moment I laughed and thought how stupid would I be to stop running now and just walk off to my car. I shook my head and thought what idiot does that? What stupid idiot just walks away at that point with no real reason?
Needless to stay I finished the stinking race and I finished it strong.
That is what normal people do.
And then I ate. I ate bacon and sausage and eggs and fruit and more sausage and more bacon. It felt good to eat for the first time in weeks for real. Probably not the healthiest choice but at least I’m eating again.