It’s Not Shuffling…It’s Running!

Today I  Started out bright and early to meet Tahny, my trainer for my first 5k run in literally over 20 years. I thought it was more like 15 but after doing the math I realized my last 5k was PK (pre -kids). I was full of nerves and exhausted due to no sleep the night before (nerves and gut issues due to nerves), but very determined to face the challenge that I gave myself (see previous blog Anything Is Possible). Tahny talked to me about what my game plan was. Game plan? What’s that? I really just only wanted to run this 5k and finish. I didn’t care how long it took. So I guess that was my game plan.

(my number)

We got registered and put on our numbers and took a quick bathroom break, and headed to the starting line. I would have to say at this point I was OK. Pretty calm. We decided that I would let Tahny know when I was comfortable and she could go on ahead of me when she wanted. I was OK with that because I had my music, and I didn’t want to hold her back. Enter the first melt down (as I have said before I like things stress free with no hitches or I tend to come a tad unglued). My music wouldn’t load! How can I do this with no music to drown out my thoughts and breathing? I literally started fidgeting  to keep the tears back. After a few minutes I was able to calm my self down. Seriously who has a melt down because of music?  I couldn’t be the only person there to have a  panic attack! That would be so embarrassing!!! Enter melt down number two…yeah I said it number two and the race hadn’t even started!  All of us runners of the 5k parted and watched as the 12k runners  started their race. As I’m watching all the fit and tone bodies run by looking so confident and strong the tears started flowing. Partly because that used to be me, and I know what it’s like to be that way. I also teared up because I realized what I was getting ready to do. I am a big lady, and it’s a lot to run with at least 100 extra pounds on your body. I was scared that I couldn’t complete the race. I knew I could walk it. I wanted/needed to run it.

We faced the starting line every one squished in ready to go. Then the “cannon” (that’s what I will call it because that’s what it sounded like) and the crowd of 5k runners started. Off we went. I felt a lot of the adrenalin  from those around me and tried not to focus on that. I knew that in order to complete my goal of running the whole run I had to do my pace, which is incredibly slow. As we started to be able to spread out I was feeling a little less emotional. Soon I was passed by a speed walker that started after the runners. He passed like I was a snail. Then came the mom with two kids in a stroller. Ok that was no big deal, but when the grandma (no offense to the elderly because I love the elderly) passed me and she was walking I knew I was in a for a tough time. But Tahny just kept encouraging me. Reassuring me that I was doing just fine.

Thany and I had discussed that at any time I felt that if I felt OK she would run on ahead and run her race.  She was really not running the way she would if I wasn’t there to slow her down, but I was completely OK with her talking to me guiding me. We had also discussed if I had an “OK shut up” moment I was to let her know. My first “OK shut up” came after the first hill and these ladies who were walking, and yes passing me were laughingly discussing that the first mile marker hadn’t been passed yet. Really? That’s what hey needed to talk about and so loudly?? OK shut up now! That’s another reason I wanted my music! I think I may have grumbled under my breath a little. Tahny kept saying that my speed walk was faster than my run. I shrugged and said I wanted to run. After a hearing this a few time I felt a little guilty because I felt that I was slowing her down. I told her to run ahead, but she stayed with me.

Right around the one mile mark, I felt some sense of relief that my breathing felt easier, and my legs were OK and not feeling tired. Tahny said again that if I needed to walk I could (after all it was faster than my running) Once again I refused. She said “wow you are stubborn” I honestly don’t thing she was being mean. I think she had a goal set for my time (she had the watch) and maybe thought I wouldn’t meet that time.  But yeah I was being stubborn. I wanted to run the whole race! Shortly after the one mile mark the We started to see the 12 runners on their 6th mile. Holy cow the front runners were still looking so strong! maybe I felt a tad bit of envy, but I still said “good job” as they passed me.  We approached the two mile mark and Tahny said that once there we would have our one big hill. She said “Feel free to power walk up the hill or not it’s your race do what you want” I think I may have walked up the hill, but then she said “Your walk is faster than your shuffle”  My response sounded kind of whiny as I loudly said “IT’S NOT A SHUFFLE IT’S RUNNING!” Ok maybe it was a shuffle but I was really trying. Yet once again I think she was trying to make sure I didn’t get discouraged. I love her for that! I love the fact that she cared enough to stick by me, and offer words of encouragement even if she thought I was shuffling. I ran up the hill. It wasn’t a big hill, but it was still a hill.  At the top we rounded a corner and were in for the home stretch. I felt good. I had a slight butt cramp, but other than that I felt good. My pace was steady. I never went slower than the pace I started at. I guess that’s good.

Right around the 2.5 mile mark Tahny said she was leaving me so she could be at the finish line with her camera so she could capture my finish.  As soon as I was alone I felt like an abandoned child. I wanted to yell “wait don’t leave me! Come back!” Enter melt down three (I’m so pathetic) Tears that I had been fighting back began to flow. Tears of joy. I was almost finished with something that just a short time ago seemed impossible. As I rounded the last turn I heard a few people that were watching the race shouting out cheers for me! Telling me that I was doing great. I had tears of sadness, because my family was not among the voices that I heard. Their faces weren’t among the ones at the finish line. As I entered the entrance to the finish line, I heard someone yelling my name and cheering me on. It was a lady I had just met before the race. She came back to the finish line to cheer me on! That was pretty cool. Not as cool as it would have been if my family was there showing their support….but still pretty cool. I finished the race in under an hour. I don’t know my placement or official time, I just know it was under an hour. I’m happy with that! I set a goal, and I achieved that goal. I’m happy with that!

I never dreamed that I would ever be able to run in a 5k again. I never thought that I would be so excited about running again. Once the tears stopped and I recovered my breath, and ate some watermelon, I realized that I had fun! I’m ready for my next 5K!