Monday, December 03, 2012
Saturday arrived, and, although sleepy due to uneasy sleep, I rolled out of bed and got ready to rock. Shower, favorite workout clothes, hair pulled back, and mittens, hat, and hoodie ready. Got the kids up and ready, and we were off to the middle school where the Peaks of Otter Christmas Classic 5K would begin.
I nervously joked with the other runners in the gym and from my church, pinned on my bib, re-pinned my bib to prevent the zipper from burning out my chip, and paced and gently stretched in anticipation of the announcement to gather. Once outside, I found a spot farther back in the lineup (to let the faster runners start up front), and walked in place while I waited for the horn. Took a call from my daughter, who was looking for me in the crowd (she was cheering me on), and then it happened. The horn blew, and we were off.
I started out at a friendly "68 shuffle" (I was told I jog like a 68-year-old lady) that I knew I could maintain for some time. So many people passed me I lost count, but I kept going, focusing on a pace I felt comfortable with. I was doing great. I stopped to walk for a very short time, then got back into my jog and continued on, feeling terrific. Imagine my surprise when, at the one-mile mark, they called out "13:24" as I passed! WOW! I had been averaging 15:30-ish during training. Hm, this might be pretty good. Conquered the dreaded hill in fine shape (walking), then jogged the straight. Walk up a short hill, to the water station. Golly, nearly 2 miles gone already, and I feel great! Jogged with renewed energy, and walked again a few minutes later.
Alternated jogging and walking around the little bit of the course off the main roads, then switched back to walking for the last hill. When I hit the driveway to the middle school, I knew I had to finish big. I kicked into "real" jogging (almost running), and powered through to the finish line, amidst the cheers from friends and family. I let out a big WooHoo (mostly to finally exhale for real) and then I saw the clock. My goal was 45 minutes. How did I do?
44:47?! I burst into tears and broke into a huge smile. I made my goal...even beat it by a little! I really didn't think I would make it, I was just far enough away during training that it wasn't a "done deal." I wasn't red-faced or out of breath, either. I had done it! I set a goal, worked hard at it, and was rewarded for my perseverance. My chip time was even better...44:23. Okay, so I finished 340th out of 386, but I had beaten myself! I even managed to take TEN MINUTES off my first 5K (in April).
I may never win medals for overall, or even top of my age group, but I have the awesome privilege of knowing that I can improve, set goals, and maybe even achieve them.
I am hooked on this "running thing". I have decided to take easier walks for the rest of December, and begin training again in January for the 5K (trail run) in April, which is the first 5K I ever ran. I need to know how much better I can do in that venue. Who knows, maybe a 10K may be in my future at some point! Now I just need to replace these sneakers...