First- Christy. She's been training by my side all along. She's made vast improvements- well ahead of mine. She's encouraged me and heard me complain and watched me struggle and celebrated my triumphs. All the while, she's been pushing to reach her own goals. Today, she ran her first 5K in 43 minutes and 59 seconds. She ran the entire course- no walk breaks for her! I don't have a pic... her preference, not mine!
Second- my little running church family! This is Amanda, Ashli, me, and Ginger. These women have been encouraging me along the way and all are better athletes than I am and did great in the race. I was thrilled to be with them when the race started and emotional to have them waiting for me, cheering, at the finish line.
My cheering section... Jeff brought the kids to a corner of the route that isn't far from home. It perked me up to see them!! It was so important to me to have my family there, cheering me on, supporting me.
And after the race... recovery well under way... walking home... tired, proud, feeling accomplished and sweaty and hot.
My finishing time was 46 minutes and 26 seconds. My pace was right around 15 minutes per mile. I ran 2 solid miles before taking a walk break and I don't regret that walk recovery time in the slightest. I did what my body told me it could do the entire route. I knew when I could push and go harder. I knew when I needed to slow down and recover. I knew when I could pick up the pace and jog a bit again.
Surprisingly, I kept up with Christy for those first 2 miles. Typically, we run together for about the first mile and then I slow down or walk and she starts to push and pulls away from me.
Things I remember:
- Not long after passing my family, there was an older woman dressed all in purple who stood on a corner and smiled and clapped for everyone as they went by.
- The guy who had turned on his full lawn sprinkler system and invited runners and walkers to run down his sidewalk to cool off.
- The cheering of the volunteers at the midway water station.
- The guy with the horse puppet who cheered us on about 1/2 mile from the finish line.
- The dad sitting in his driveway with his 2 young boys on his lap, watching runners go by as they lounged in their pj's.
- The local high school pep band that was playing at the start and finish of the race. Loved hearing the drums and horns as I approached the finish line!
The lessons I learned:
- I'm good at starting at my normal pace. I didn't take off and go faster at the start. I started slow and stayed slow and steady.
- I need to work on my last mile so that I can run the entire 3.1 next time. I stayed pretty strong and steady the first 2 miles and then my body just stopped.
- A half mile walk to the park where the race starts is a great warm up.
- A half mile walk back home after walking 1/2 mile and then running 3.1 miles kinda sucks.
- Running and being emotional aren't a good mix.
I got to the last turn and the finish line was ahead. Maybe 1/10 of a mile. I had walked to almost the corner and realized that I was about to turn on the last street. I gave a grunt and kicked it into high gear. I was about half way to the finish line when I saw Jeff and the kids. I heard Teagan yelling for me "Mommy! Mama!!" Something about them being there, so close to the finish line... I started to cry but needed to keep running. Problem is, when I cry, my throat closes up. This makes it remarkably hard to breathe. So I pulled it back together and started to run again.
Then I see Christy. She had finished and was coming back down the route to be with me as I finished. I had to fight the tears all over again. We gave each other a thumbs up and a smile and I tucked the emotional breakdown into my pocket until...
The finish line was in sight- just feet ahead of me. And my friends- Amanda, Ashli, and Ginger- started to cheer for me. Loudly. Screaming my name, yelling for me to get to that finish line. I choked up all over again and kept pushing and pushing even though the air was not going into my lungs.
I crossed the finish line and started to walk, wheezing and wheezing. Miss Tori- one of Teagan's teachers- came up to me and hugged me (she's a runner and did great in this 5K). I choked out that I couldn't breathe and she handed me a water bottle. That sip of water reminded me that I could breath through my nose. Duh. I was fine after that.
I had Christy by my side, Ashli and Amanda and Ginger came to hug me... my husband and kids came to celebrate my accomplishment. I felt... sore and tired and sweaty and so, so proud. While I ran, I though about Momza and the comment she shared here this week... and about Nancy who sent me a note to cheer me on... and Beth who has given me amazing support and encouragement and advice... and Emily who has been doing her own challenges in running and has also guided me and inspired me... and all of the internet and real life friends I've made who have supported me, encouraged me... who have said that I inspire them... you all became my inspiration to be able to come back to this blog and say that I did my very best and that I was proud of what I had accomplished.
Tomorrow... I'll share the story of Teagan's reaction to all of this. Let's just say that I won't be winning any Mom of the Year awards if nominations are left up to strangers and neighbors who witness the behavior of your child.