But that doesn’t mean I can’t keep trying.
Pardon my appearance above. Unwashed,slicked back, hair isn’t attractive on me. And yes, this photo was before the race – I am positive my appearance after the race was much more blotchy!
I’ve always wanted to be a runner – in March, I started the Couch to 5k. I’ve been exercising in some capacity at least 5 days a week and trying to run at least one of those days. On the treadmill, I can run just over a mile without having to stop to walk – which isn’t exactly great, but is a lot further than the 30 seconds I could run when I started. Outside running is a different beast (and definitely uses different muscles) and while I would still not consider myself to be a runner (when I can run the entire 5k outside, we’ll talk about that label…) I’m closer than I’ve ever been. Mike is a runner. He ran cross-country in high school. He’s been going to the gym several mornings a week to run on the treadmill since it is so dark in the mornings right now. He makes it look easy!
On Saturday, Mike and I participated in Geneva’s Harvest Hustle. It was my first 5k. My first race. I knew that I would be doing run/walk intervals and set a realistic goal of completing the 3.1 miles in 45 minutes. That was the fastest I’d managed on the treadmill and figured I should be able to do the same outside. (As I said – I’m not a runner!)
When we began the run, it was 39 degrees outside. My already labored breathing and inability to pace myself was compounded by the cold. My lungs were on fire. My throat was all phlegmy. I just told myself to keep going. When I had to walk, I tried to walk as fast as my short legs would let me. It really wasn’t pretty. I knew I could walk it, but I wanted to run – and my lungs kept protesting profusely. But at least the scenery was beautiful and the morning felt crisp.
Around the 2 mile mark, I saw Mike standing up ahead waiting for me. He’d come back to finish with me. I felt all sorts of emotions in that moment. Happy to see him. Sad that I wasn’t a better, faster, smarter runner. Relief that I didn’t have to finish alone. I was in the middle of the “slow pack” so I knew I wouldn’t finish last – but still – it would be nice to have a buddy. At least until he started pushing me…
Mike wouldn’t even let me catch my breath before he’d announce, “run to those barrels,” “run to that shadow,” “you’ve got to pass Cutler (a guy wearing a Cutler jersey)”. And during the walk “breaks” he’d grab my hand, which while it could have been sweet, was really to drag me along so I was walking as fast as possible. While I know that last mile wasn’t my fastest mile, I know it was significantly faster than it would have been if I hadn’t had my hubby cattle prodding me towards the finish line.
I finished in 42:30. Two and a half minutes less than my goal time.
And when I was finished, despite the fact that my lungs burned and I coughed for the rest of the day, I felt good. Accomplished. Ready to do it again.
Plans are in the works for Mike and I to attempt the local Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Morning. 40 minutes? We’ll see.