Hola! I’m back again, ready to tell you more about my “journey to running a 5k.”
Quick recap from yesterday, in the words of my best friend from high school: “Every time I get on Facebook and see the posts that you’ve just been out running, all I can think is…Heather?! Running?!”
Yep. Heather is running.
As the 5k approached, I tried to get others on board as well. At one point we were going to have quite a large group, but busy schedules dwindled it down to me, the husband, and our friend who planned on bringing his toddler along in the jogging stroller.
In my training, I hit the 3.1 mile mark about a week and half before the race, and ran it 3 or 4 times in preparation. It took me every bit of 30 minutes to do it, and each time I felt like it was my absolute limit….like I literally could not take one more step. That’s all I needed though…3.1 miles.
Then the weather reports started rolling in. “Cold front”…”Winter temperatures”…”Rain, drizzle”…”Highs in the 50’s”…”Gusty winds”…Yep, only in Texas could it be 90 on Thursday and in the 50’s on Saturday. My response? New running clothes…tights & a long sleeved shirt! 😉
And the final surprise before the big day? My parents came in to cheer me on…which really, really meant a lot to me. I took a mile & a half warm-up run the night before, went to bed early, and started drinking water as soon as I woke up. Ready or not, it was time to run!
The race was out at Clark Gardens, the very same place that Chris and I were engaged and one of my favorite places in MW. There were a lot of people there…more than I had really been expecting. We had time to look around a bit and show Dad the place…while I tried to stretch a bit here and there. (Note to self: I really need to learn a little something about stretching.) Posed for a few pre-race pictures, laughed while Dad gave me the Nascar version of how to cut off / spin out other racers, said my prayers, and then there I was….waiting at the start line behind a pack of runners.
I’m not gonna lie, I was literally tearing up those first couple of hundred yards. Sounds silly, I know…but wow. “I’m really doing this!” is all I could think. I dried it up as we entered what felt like a cattle chute though; branches hanging low waiting to whack me in the head, stroller mama’s about to run over my toes…it was serious business! The air was crisp and cool, but the winds weren’t bad and there was no rain despite the dark clouds overhead. In fact, as I got going the temperature felt just right…and eventually the “cattle chute” widened out and everyone could spread out a little. From there it was just…running. The sound of other runners breathing, of the gravel beneath my shoes…the feel of the cool air, of my muscles warming up…the beat of my heart and the air filling deep into my lungs and my prayers for a steady pace.
I hadn’t hit the timer button on my phone as I had intended, so I had no clue how I was doing on time or how much farther I had to go (the signs were all weird because there was a half-marathon going on at the same time). Looking back, I could have kicked in it sooner, but since I didn’t know exactly where the finish line was I didn’t want to overdo it. Once I knew where I was though…it was on. 😉 I ended crossing the line in 27:10, just about 3 full minutes faster than I’d ever run it before. (Mom and Dad almost missed it and they were standing right there…they just weren’t expecting me for a few more minutes!)
I felt awesome afterwards…full of energy and accomplishment. It was so great to hug my parents afterwards, and we were all a bit shocked to look at the race results and realize I had come in 34th out of about 190 runners. Who woulda thunk it?! 😉 Once Chris made it in and we watched the awards ceremony (I was 6th in my age category…just out of the prizes. Darn the luck!) and then went out for brunch. (It wasn’t as fancy as it sounds…we went to Fuzzy’s.) Once Mom and Dad headed home I took a shower and then settled in for a much deserved nap.
<Oh what the heck. I settle in for naps whether they are deserved or not.>
So after all that, after all these words and thoughts and me acting like this was such a big deal…I’ll just say that for me, it was. I’m thankful to my family and friends for their support and encouragement, and to my running partner, my Lord, for answering my prayers.
And in case I didn’t mention it…I think I’ll be doing it again.
KEEP CALM & RUN FOR THE LORD!
Still not convinced? Here’s the proof…just scroll quickly. I tried doing a little photoshop to solve a pesky little problem in these pics, but I’m not that good. And I’m too proud that I ran to not post the pictures because of it.
So…who wants to run with me next time?