I did it, I finished the race!

So today was the big day! Everything I worked for thus far was going to show in my performance today. Injury or not, I was determined to run this race. Not only did I want to complete it, I wanted to do so without stopping and that’s just what I did.

I went to bed early last night, around 9:30 and managed to get a decent nights sleep. I woke up at 5a.m., in anticipation of today (I had planned to wake up at 5:30). I was nervous to say the least. My stomach was doing all kids of flips and all I was hoping for, was to make it through the race without having to stop for a potty break.

We had a great warm up with a vegan body builder (yes, it’s possible) leading the way. We did 150 jumping jacks, 10-15 push ups, and a variety of stretches.

My son loves to work out with me and came along to cheer Momma on!

Once I got in line to start the race, my nerves managed to calm themselves, I was ready to go! Something I didn’t know; place yourself in line according to your running pace. Faster runners in the front, slower towards the back. I didn’t know this and kind of just followed everyone towards the back of the line. I did jump in somewhere, so I wasn’t completely in the back. I was however, further back than I should have been. This caused my start to go a little slow…..I’m glad to have learned that lesson.

Now, remember all the hills I kept hearing about? They were just as bad as I had imagined, maybe worse. Even experienced runners told me that they had a hard time with those hills. Even so, I managed. I took them in and pushed. I didn’t push as hard as I normally do being as though I still have an injury. I also wanted to have a steady pace so I wouldn’t wear myself down too quickly.

There was a huge thunderstorm the night before and the ground was still wet. Going down hills is when I should have gained the most speed and took advantage of the ability to shorten my time, but I just didn’t feel safe when the ground being wet. I was too worried about slipping, not because I was worried about getting hurt, but because a fall would cost me time on my run! The beginning of the race started out on rocks! Now, no one told me about that! Due to the rain, there were several mud puddles along the way, causing a lot of detours among the runners. While I was attempting to pass along the outside, I managed to get cut off a few times by someone going slower than me simply because they were trying to avoid the puddles. Lesson learned, make sure to place yourself at the starting line accordingly.

I came up to the 1 mile marker and couldn’t believe it had only been one mile! I was already getting tired, oh no! I kept an eye out and never saw a two-mile marker. I received a new running watch for Mother’s Day and my first attempt to use it was during the race. Big mistake, I couldn’t get it to work right and had no idea what my distance was so far. It’s hard to pace myself accurately without an idea of distance traveled. The only thing I had to go off was my time. I knew we had started running at 8:32 and I know that generally it takes me about a half hour to run the distance of a 5K. I factored in the hills, my injury, and the other runners and added on about five minutes and figured I would finish around 9:05 or a little after.

I turned a sharp corner and saw tables with volunteers holding out water cups, this was the moment I really felt like I was running a race! You see it all the time when watching races on t.v., etc. The runners grab the cups without stopping, drink while spilling water everywhere and chuck the cups on the ground. Yup, that’s just what happened and exactly what I did. I guess this is the point that I should have realized I was half way through the race. It makes perfect sense right? The thought never actually occurred to me until later that day when I was thinking about the fact that I never saw mile marker two.

The last hill was the worst, and while I was climbing it I prayed, “God, please let this be the last hill, please!” And it was! Once I made it to the top and noticed all the runners ahead of me picking up the pace, I knew that the end had to be close. I rounded the corner and saw daylight peaking through (the trail was in the woods) and I knew I was almost there! I picked up the pace a bit, and then wished that I had picked up my speed much sooner.

Coming up to the finish line!

I had attempted to go around the man in the green, but he managed to jump out in front of me before I could. No where else to go but straight ahead!

I did it!

My goal while I was training was to finish the race in under 30 minutes. When I started running and shared my goal with my husband, he told me there was no way I could do it. He said I would be lucky to finish in 40 minutes and that 45 was a more likely time. Of course, I was determined to prove him wrong. But this wasn’t about that, it was about proving to myself that I could do it. I’ve never been a runner and was never good at it. Even when I was younger and played school sports, the one mile run killed me and I remember several times that I didn’t finish it. If it wasn’t for my injury, I just know that I would have finished in under 30 minutes!

Race results, I did better than I expected! 30:44 (to bad my husband wasn’t there to see it!)

I finished in 127th place out of 287

Team B.A.R.N, Baltimore Animal Rights Network, we took 4th place!

Top four running times for our team and my son.

When it’s all said and done, I am proud of what I accomplished with just a bit of disappointment. If I had only pushed a little harder I would have accomplished my goal of finishing in under 30. That’s what happens when I listen to other people saying “take it easy”. Better safe than sorry I guess, don’t want to make my injury worse than what it is.

I loved this experience and have another race set for the end of June. In the meantime, I am on the hunt for more 5Ks to sign up for!

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