Well, I did it!!!! I have my first 'official' time since starting the C25k program six weeks ago. This morning it was a brisk 23 degrees as we congregated to tie bells on our running shoes and look over the course map. I immediately KNEW I was waaaaay out of my league here. The run was on the university campus that I work for. ALL the other runners except my husband, myself and two others, were college students! Shouldn't they be sleeping or studying? LOL!!
Then the announcements started. The race coordinator thanked everyone for their contribution to the missions program that would benefit from the race proceeds (a moment of a warm fuzzy feeling). Then she said, "At the end of the race, we will wait until the last runner is in before we start the awards ceremony". Uhhhh Ohhhh! I knew who that last person would be and immediately felt pressure to do my very best to get it done as quickly as a could. I'm only six weeks into my training! I'm not ready to push fast. I just want to get it done, cross the line, hear the time so I will know much I have improved over the next three weeks. Yikes!
We line up for the start and I position myself half way through the pack, out toward the curb. I at least wanted to be running with people at the start and knew I would feel defeated if I started in the back and watched as everyone pulled away. My husband is running with me today. He is naturally fast and could keep up with those young guys, but he is my support team today and has put aside his goals for this race. Immediately he tells me I have started too fast and need to step it back. I did get caught up in the energy of the pack and desired to run with them for as long as possible. Running too fast in the beginning would come back to bite me in the end.
I could not keep up the pace I started at past the half mile mark and my breathing was way tooo fast. I got a stitch in my right side in the first mile. My husband was running a little ahead of me and he would turn around and cheer me on, but I couldn't tell him I was in a little trouble here. I had started to hyperventilate and my energy was declining at the end of the second mile.
I was using my podcast for week 6 day 3 during part of my run. I did the warm up walk before the race and then ran 25 minutes (without walking!!!!) then I allowed myself to walk two minutes and then resumed running (jogging). I ran again for eight minutes and then walked for two. I ran the rest of the 3.1 miles.
In the third mile, I was struggling and my husband could tell I needed help. He came back beside me and asked me what I was feeling and how I was doing. I told him I was struggling and didn't know why . . . my body didn't hurt. He said, "Well, you need to slow your breathing down." I told him I had had trouble the whole race, since I started out tooo fast I was breathing faster and now I felt like I was pushing my body to match pace with my breathing. He said, "You can't. Slow your breathing to match the pace of your body." and he coached me through purposely altering my breathing. He said "Just like when you are teaching yoga, focus, inhale fully, hold it for three seconds and slowly exhale. Without changing your pace, focus on changing your breathing." I know these things! I taught him these things! Why couldn't I have done that in the first mile????
I finally turned the corner toward the bell tower and the final approach to the finish line. I looked at my Ironman watched and realized I could not bring it under 40 minutes. I started to cry. I said "I can't do it, I can't bring it under 40 minutes". My husband said "But you will bring it in". The students had all gone inside to wait. The only people still outside where two grad students holding a sign thanking me for participating and the two time keepers. My husband made sure I crossed the line before him so I wouldn't be the last one in. They didn't announce my time when I crossed, so my husband turn to them and said "Tell her her time"! He knew that is why I was running. Official time 42:48.
Things my husband reminds me of on days like today when I am hard on myself for not performing well:
1. Six weeks ago I struggled to run one minute without walking. Today I ran 25 min.
2. I am working on endurance and strength at this time.
3. I finished. Some never start and two months ago I wouldn't have started.
The other thing I learned is that it is great to have a husband who is willing to put aside his goals and ambitions to help push me to mine