When I was in the second grade my school had a running race, I don't remember how long it was, but I do remember this...I finished second to last, because I didn't want to be last. It was the only race I ever did in my whole life before today.
I've NEVER been a fan of any type of physical activity, I suppose that is what landed me in the overweight /obese category. However, something changed during the last three months. I started walking, jogging and even running even scarier I found myself ENJOYING the activity.
Today I completed my first race as an adult and it was long, 9 kilometers or 5.59 miles. Now this is not a race I was training for. I actually have been training for a 5k or 3 mile race, but have been unsuccessful in finding one this length in our area. This race happened to fall between my 2 year wedding anniversary and My 30th Birthday, so it was the most ideal to celebrate the milestones.
We arrived at the race site and checked in. My husband told the woman at the desk we had sent our information in by email. The woman immediately said, Oh you're Michelle, the foreigner. LOL, I guess both my size and language gave it away. I had to list my nationality on the admission form. I was the only American so I was already standing out from the crowd.
We had to wait for about an hour and a half before the race actually started. During this time I was nervous, scared and worried I might not complete the full 9k. My family was sending me messages of encouragement so I tried to stay positive. I was intimidated by the other runners... everyone was so thin... fit and had muscles I don't think I will develop for years. The race time was quickly approaching and we all walked to the start line.
The countdown started...Tre...Due..Uno!! and we were off! I managed to keep up with the other runner for....Oh about 3 seconds. Then I was the last one. :( All Alone but pushing with all my might. Everyone was so far ahead that I got lost during the route and had to ask for directions. This must have been such a funny site. Me in my broken Italian asking, "where the other runners went, Which way to run." Finally I managed to get on the right path.
When the race moved from the lake to the streets, I passed a checkpoint and was asked, "Hey you....Do you have a number???" I had attached my racing number to my side belt. I nodded yes and kept going, shortly after a man on a Vespa was following me.
At first I thought I was in this motorist's way and tried to move off the road, but then the man stopped and asked if I wanted to ride. I realized that since I was the last person this man's job was to make sure I didn't die from trying to complete the race.
I thought there wouldn't be any hills but I was wrong on that. There were two hills which I ran twice. Oh god were they hard. In the middle of the race the driver sent me back at the "safe" zone in case I needed to stop, but I kept going and started the second half. I actually made friends with this driver, we had some small talk about where I was from and he encouraged me to go faster. He even kept pace for me for a while. It was probably the most ridiculous scene ever.
I was making good time up until the final kilometer. This is when my husband caught up with me.
He took this picture, and yea I was dying at this point...walking because I couldn't go faster than a snail. My legs were hurting, but I was determined to finish. When the finish line was in sight, I started to cry. Partly because of the pain, but also because I couldn't believe I was doing this. It hit me that I've gone from a person who couldn't walk a mile to someone that is completing 9 kilometers.
I heard the voices of my family encouraging me, The comments from Spark friends who said that walking the finish line would be an accomplishment. I turned to my left and my husband was with me every step of the way.
When I crossed the finish line the race team was breaking down the equipment. I was at One hour 6 minutes when my husband caught up with me, and ended the race at 1:39:56, The last person to finish.
This race was an adventure, it was funny and I'm proud of myself for completing it. There was a couple of people that stopped and gave up. I'm thankful for my Spark Friends, Spark People and my family. I might try another race next month. So far I'm experiencing soreness in my calves and a blister on my toe. I know tomorrow it will be painful, but it will pass and eventually running will be easier.....I hope. :D