Okay, maybe I didn’t RUN the 15K (9.3 miles), but I certainly did WALK it! And although I finished nearly dead last, I DID finish! And that is more distance than I have done since I used to walk home from downtown Buffalo if I missed the last bus…when I was 17! At 52, five kids, and a “few” pounds later, I never would have dreamed that I would be in any kind of race, let alone finish a nine mile trek in just under three hours.
But I did it.
A year ago I was preparing myself to do my first 5K ever. On that day in June, I remember crossing that finish line, huffing and puffing, and nearly falling over. People caught me and held me up from collapsing, handing me bottles of water to help re-hydrate. I learned a lot since that first race about hydration and pacing myself and NOT eating dried prunes beforehand! I was better prepared in August for the Zombie Run, “Push Yourself” in October, and “It’s a Wonderful Run” in December.
Yesterday was a new challenge for me with trying long distance…but that 15K was the dry run for the half marathon I have yet to accomplish in June. All I want to do is finish, even if I walk the entire way, and even if I end up dead last.
This is the map of elevations which outlines the HILLS we were running/walking yesterday! I am thankful that the half-marathon is on relatively flat ground… but I survived these hills! What helped at one point when I heard the thunder of the herd coming up behind us was taking the focus off myself and trying to cheer them. The walkers had left 45 minutes before the runners, and at about 8:30 or so, they caught up to and passed us. As they went by, I clapped and cheered them on, which took my mind off the hilly road I was climbing up. And they cheered me, too! It helped to motivate me and kept me progressing forward. Just before they started gaining on us, I was feeling like I might not make it after all. I didn’t realize the steepness of the terrain, and my legs had been used to mall walking to get my practice in. Seeing all those people running by, many of them my age or older, and even some folks I work with, kept me going. I called, “See you at the finish line!” so I knew that I had to follow through. I do try to keep my word as best I can at all times.
That finish line was the most beautiful sight I’d seen all day! Jeanette and I were both so tired, but we kept each other moving toward that goal! For the last hundred yards or so, we ran hand-in-hand, telling each other that we were going to make it…and we did! When I finished, sweaty, sore, with swollen hands (I had to look it up online to make sure there wasn’t anything wrong with because I got scared…it’s called hyponatremia), I was just so thankful to have done it!!
When I think of where I was in December 2012 (absolutely no exercise, eating tons of high fat and high “bad” carbs, and smoking over a pack a day), I am so proud of how far I have been able to come. Am I a svelt size 8? Nope…and probably won’t ever be. But that is okay, and I am still smoke-free. Even if I never get to single digit sizes, I am far healthier than I have been in two decades, and nothing else matters.
It’s also ironic that this week’s Artist’s Way challenge dealt with strength! This is me showing how strong I am becoming!