I did it! I did it!!! I did it!!! I finally ran my first 5K!!!

Okay, composure…… I finally did it. And I’m relieved.

This past weekend, I finally overcame a fear of being a runner and lined up with 3200 other runners in Winter Park. Three miles isn’t that intimidating, but if you haven’t been practicing, then it’s not easy. It’s not even easy if you HAVE been training, if we’re being honest.

The morning started out at 6am and I have to admit, I was a bit tired from a fun girls night out the night before. I was careful not to drink much alcohol because I know the feeling of being dehydrated after a night out. But my husband and I had to get our son ready to go and be there for the start at 7:30. I arrived at about 7:20, and as a result of getting there so late, I was able to start the race relatively close to the starting line. I just hopped in and joined the people. As it turned out, I ended up right in front of a childhood friend who was running with her family. I blurted out the time I was hoping to achieve and she did the same. (she ended up beating me by about 30 seconds I found out later!)

When the race started, it took several seconds to get things going but the second my feet passed over the timing station the race was on! People spread out and got into their pace. Because there were so many people, it was a sea of people almost the whole race. Several times I smiled to myself, because I was competing in the race, I was overcoming a fear and actually had prepared and had entered the race.

During the run, people were constantly passing me and I sometimes passed others. I’d see some that I’d pass when they stopped to walk and then I’d see them passing me later. I ran past some unbelievably fast race walkers and I told one man that he was incredible and inspiring! He mumbled back between breathes that it wasn’t easy race walking with such a big crowd.

Hearing the pattering of the feet reminded me of children in a school hall scurrying back and forth between classes. I didn’t hear many conversations going on, heard some music over headphones, and some people breathed hard while others didn’t seem winded whatsoever. I remember singing to myself some favorite country songs, thanking God for this moment that I was experiencing, and also hoping that my body would remain strong throughout the race. I was cold in the beginning of the race but soon turned heated and sweaty, but I did feel pretty strong until the last mile. The last mile was fairly tough for me and I kept wanting to stop but thought about laying in the hospital bed years ago while having my baby and not being able to get out of the bed for a whole month; and I decided that this pain was a lot better pain than not being able to move my legs and walk after I got out of the hospital. This pain was also a better pain than after my knee surgery a few years ago. So, I kept thinking that I had handled worse before, and that I needed to just stay the course, and put one foot in front of the other. If I did that, eventually, I’d reach the finish line.

I realized that I made this race much bigger in my mind than it was in reality. In reality, it was just a fun run, something to do on a Saturday morning with friends and family. But to me, it was so much more. To me, it was saying, that I had found the courage to do something that I knew I probably wasn’t going to be good at but still wanted to do. For me, it was having to face my team mates day in and day out, who are old pros and who probably didn’t understand my unimpressive endurance during practice. For me, it was stepping up to the plate, even though I wasn’t 100% sure I could do it.

Now that I’m beyond the intimidation of the other runners and had my mental breakthrough, I can say that now I am a runner myself. I may not be good yet, but I now know that I can do it. My fellow DAWG friend Howard (Hi Howard!!!) asked me today if I was going to write about this, and so I knew that I had to. I wanted to put it in writing to hopefully share with others, that reaching a goal, isn’t always easy, especially mentally. Sometimes, you learn more about yourself on the path to the goal than you anticipated. And sometimes you tick others off while you’re learning the ropes. But the advice that I’ve gained from all of this is that sometimes you just have to shut up and stop talking about it and just do the work.

Then, over time, you’ll reach your goal. And after you reach it… guess what? You’re off and running to the next one! (like getting legs like Howard’s girlfriend Adele!!!)