Well, I have to be honest here. I have been dreading writing this post. Only because I knew it would be my last one, as a "who wants to get active" challenge participant. The race was over 10 days ago if that gives you any idea on how much I've been procrastinating!
So..... here it goes.
Race day. April 18th. Chicago. 36 degrees. COLD!!!!!
Ok, I have to pause and think a little bit about what I want to say. I had so many emotions going through my head that morning.
Well, I made the necessary changes after my practice run. I actually purchased myself a pair of decen running pants, it had an elastic waist band, AND a drawstring. They were NOT going to fall off!. I was excited that my new pants were two sizes smaller than the old yoga pants that I had been training in. They were really awesome, so kind of dry-wick fabric, with "reflectors" near the calf, and even a zippered pocked on the back side to hold stuff.
We pulled in the parking lot early, like around 8:30, even though the race didn't start until 10. I wanted to make sure I wasn't going tobe late and "miss it", and I didn't know how long the packet pick up line was going to be.
It was such a "NO STRESS" atmosphere, I don't know what I had been worried about! Lots of happing smiling people milling around.
I got my number,( # 528) and my 'free race day t-shirt". I snapped a couple of photos of the grounds. Lots of tents set up, with different "vendors", like local Chicago radio stations, a cell phone company, etc.
Right in the middle of the park, there was a HUGE table set up with bananas and apples, and lots of tables with cups of water. There was a giant stage they were setting up, for the post race concert. Lots of media tents, and lots of porta-potties!!
I did my carb loading in the car at 8 a.m., so that it was 2 hours pre-race time. I opted for 1/2 of a bagel, and some strawberries. It was a chilly morning, so I had dressed with my running pants, with another pair of baggy sweat pants over the top. Then of course the running sports bra, the running shirt I bought with the I -pod pocket, and topped it off with a warm sweatshirt. Then when I got my race day "RUN FOR WATER" t shirt, I put that on over the top, and pinned my number on the back of my shirt. I asked if it mattered where we pinned it, and the general response was as long as it was on, it didn't matter where you pinned it. Ok, I was good with that.
When I registered for the run, I had two options. The timed chip run, or the fun walk/run. Since I was on Team Walk it off, and had been primarily training at the walk. at the time of registration, I decided I better not "bite off more than I can chew", and opted to select the walk/run. When it was time to line up for the race, all the folks who were in the "timed chip" race got to line up first, and they all had these orange tags tied to their shoes. All of us "fun run" folks lined up at the back. When the race began, it seemed like "FOREVER" before I got to actually cross the start line, because I had to wait for all the "official race" participants to go first. Now I have a better understanding of why they had the chips. Time didn't start for them until they actually stepped over the start line. It was a good 30 seconds before I was able to actually start. So I should deduct that from my finish time (ha ha)
Well we were all crammed together, shoulder to shoulder. Folks of all different ages, shapes and sizes. The young and the old. Bridal parties! One girl wearing a "I'm the bride" t-shirt, and 4 or 5 others girls wearing "I'm a bridesmaid" shirts. Even a mom pushing two kids in a double stroller. The youngest person I saw looked around the age of 8. I secretly hoped I wasn't going to be the last one across the finish line, and wished that I would be able to "pass" SOMEBODY!!
Well, off we went. You kinda get moved along with the crowd, and at the crowds pace. Everyone jockeying for position. Someone stepped on the back of my heel. I stepped on the back of someone else's heel.
Oops, just cut someone off because they were too slow. Yes, I realized at this time.... I was jogging, not walking! OK, lets see how long I can keep this up! I'll try to get to the one mile marker without stopping.
Jogging, jogging, jogging. Lots of "police" or "people in authority" roles wearing orange vest holding stop signs, trying to keep the anxious cars back. We are running along Lake Shore Drive. I'm so overwhelmed. The route had not been "closed off" for race day, so people are coming at me on their bikes, couples walking holding hands. HELLO!!! Do you NOT see that we are in the middle of a race here??!!! Could you please get off the road, and in the grass, and out of my way??
I was glad that I wasn't wearing the I-POD. The thing had died in the car, apparently you have to charge them up once in a while! Good thing to know for next time. There was so much going on. Cars honking, runners talking. "On your left!" yea, yea, go ahead and pass me. I know I'm slow.
Hey, where was that 1 mile marker? Shouldn't I be seeing it by now? How long have I been running? Oops, forgot to wear the pedometer. Don't have on my watch. Seems like I've been running for at least 20 minutes. Maybe they were wrong when they said they were going to have water stops, and time clocks at the mile markers. Oh well, I just kept going. Getting tired.Having a hard time breathing. Wait! What's that in the distance? Something glowing! Hey, its the time clock! So I must be close to the one mile marker!! Wait that means I haven't even run a mile yet??? But I AM DEAD!!! AAHHHHH!!!! Keep pushing. Get to the one mile, and then go ahead and walk. Why am I so tired? Ok, there is the clock. It probably says 20 minutes or so. WHAT!!!!! It says 11:24 , Did I read that correctly???? 11:24 ???? I've NEVER run a mile in under 13 minutes. THAT'S WHY I AM SO TIRED !!!! I am going too fast!!, I am not used to this pace! I am trying to keep up with the "fun runners", and they are too fast for me. I've shave a minute and a half off my "normal time". Hey wait a minute. If I keep pushing, then I am going to make my goal of finishing in under 60 minutes!!! This is it. This is what you trained for. Isn't the old saying something like "no pain no gain!". DON'T WALK NOW!! Just keep pushing yourself.
I kept pressing on. And on. Finally made it to the 2 mile marker. 23:24. WOW. That means I just ran the second mile in twelve minutes! I am so psyched. But I am about to hyperventilate. An d the weird thing. ? My legs were not tired. My arms were not tired. It was just my breathing! I was out of shape cardio-vascularly. I couldn't go on any further. I needed to walk. I had to walk. I did walk. I walked.
At first I was upset with myself. I can't believe I'm walking. Then some of Coach Jenny's words came in to my head. Hey, you are here to celebrate what you have accomplished for the past 8 weeks.
I've lost 16 pounds. I've dropped two sizes. I'm down 4 inches off my waist, and no longer have the "muffin top". I took two inches off my hips. I've dropped 4 points off my body mass. So what reason did I think I had at all, to be pissed off at myself that I was walking. NONE! I had nothing to prove to anyone. I walked for a couple of minutes, until I was able to breathe again and said to myself, ok, lets do this. Lets finish this up.
I began running again. Run, Run, Run. I got passed up by the lady pushing the two kids in the double stroller. I don't care. I have nothing to prove. I didn't come here to win the race. I came here to FINISH the race.
Just finish. Do your best. This race is all about me, and not about anybody else. This was my dream, my goal. Finish the race Kim, just finish the race. I slowly approached the 3 mile marker. 36 minutes something seconds. Wait, WHAT!!! 36 minutes something???? Why, I CAN FINISH THIS IN UNDER 45 MINUTES IF I REALLY PUSH FOR THE LAST 7/10th of the mile.
Dig down deep. Muster up any last bit of strength and determination and true grit, and what ever else and give it all you got.You've got 9 minutes to go the last 7/10ths of the mile. Yes, that's it. Look out over the Lake. It's beautiful and serene. Don't worry about the sand all over the path. Keep going. Don't let the sand slow you down. Keep going. Wait! There is a big tent! That must be the finish! There it is GO KIM GO!!! Closer.... Closer!!! What the?????? Its not the finish! Its a bicycle rental shop! UNBELIEVABLE!!!! Push on, don't get upset by the "false" finish line.
No one is around me. Everyone must have already finished. I truly must be the last one out here on the course. So what If I am.
Around the turn, around another bend. Wait! More Tents!! This time, lots of them. Music playing. People Cheering! Yes, this time, it is the finish! Keep going. There's' my husband taking pictures. There's my daughter yelling GO MOM! Look at the clock!!!!! PUSH, PUSH!!! Yes, across the line! UNBELIEVABLE!!! The time on the clock was 44:06. I can't believe it 44:06 ! I had done it! Not only had I finished in under my goal time of 60 minutes, but I finished in under 45 minutes! I was so thrilled! I wanted to collapse. My daughter was right there. Good Job MOM! Don't sit down.! Keep walking! All good advice. I was in this euphoric state. I felt so good! I was so happy to have finished in that unbelievable time . FOR ME! Couch potato to 6 k in 44:06 in 8 weeks! I had done it. I HAD DONE IT!!!
Me in front of the concert stage (90 minutes before the race) Not too many people there yet.....
After catching my breath, and reveling the the fact that I thought I had done so well, I walked back over to the finish line. More people were still crossing the line. I had not been last. Lots of people were behind me . They kept trickling in for another 15 minutes or so. All the "true" walkers. Wow! Now I wished I had done the timed chip race! Now I was feeling empowered! Lets line it up and DO IT AGAIN!!! The media crews were there. The concerts were about to start. A man went on stage." Attention, Attention! We need number 258 up on stage" Oh Gosh! I think that's me? Isn't that my number? What are they calling me up on stage for? Do they want an interview? Do they know I'm an "ACTIVE.COM participant? Do they want to ask me about my training, and get my thoughts on the race? I look around for someone near me. "HEY" Can you check my number? (I had pinned it to my back!), Yeah,um, you are number 528. YES! So it IS ME that they want. Again, the announcer says, "Can we get number 258 up here please? " oops, I'm 528, not 258!!! What an idiot I am.
258 gets on the stage. Its the winner of the race. They are giving her a medal or something. They announce her time.She finished in 22 minutes something. She was already finished before I even hit the two mile marker!!! Well you know what!! SO WHAT!!
I had to remember, I wasn't racing against anyone. I needed to stop comparing. I had finished the race. That's what I came to do. FINISH. And I did. IT WAS GLORIOUS!
The "blues" set it on Monday. Just like the big "let down" after Christmas. One day post race, and I already missed getting my email that said "today you are going to walk for 30 minutes at a RPE of 7-8. I missed knowing that I was going to blog about it. I missed everything. I missed my team mates that I never met! It took me several days to get out of my depressed state. I figured I needed to get back to walking, and get another race on the calendar. I'm eyeing something called a "Warrior Dash" that is coming up in June. I'm out of my post race blues, and am back to walking/running every day but Thursday and Sunday, just like before. But now I know I need to work on getting my cardio better. Lesson learned.
I jus want to finish my saying, to everyone at Active.com, to Michelle, to Coach Jenny, to my walk it off team mates Ruth, Jason and Megan, Thank you so much for your encouragement, your support. You mean more to me than you can ever know. Thank you for this opportunity.
Until the next race.................
This is Kim, signing off. Remember to always WALK IN THE LIGHT. GOD'S LIGHT!