April 27, 2014, will be in the record books as my first 10K race. But I’ll remember it for much more than that.
I’ll remember leaving late morning and finding halfway there that the Google directions were wrong. Plugging in the GPS, hoping to find a police officer blocking off the course to get directions. Well, I found one, actually two, but neither was helpful in getting me there.
By the time my fiance’ and I arrived at the site, I had 20 minutes to go, was completely stressed out and unfocused on the task at hand. But after Ian pinned my bib on (his ceremonial job) and kissed me before I headed to line up, I was mentally ready.
As I stood in my back of 9-minute mile crowd, I looked around to see a few other people who were nervous as well. I wasn’t alone. Then I saw something that changed everything. A man next to me with a prosthesis. All I could think about was Boston.
I’m honored to say that somewhere between miles 1 and 2 he and I ran together. But eventually he took off and I was left thinking that whatever pain I felt doesn’t compare to his. I’ve heard stories of the pain and agony runners with prosthesis go through on each step. But seeing his positive attitude and strength gave me inspiration to keep going.
A lot happened during those six miles.
I found out I have multiple personality disorder when I run.
“You can do this, get to the water station (mile 4.5) and then you can a quick walk break.”
After passing mile 4 and seeing my time:
“Never mind, you can’t stop now. If you stop you’ll hate yourself for not finishing with the time you know you could.”
“But my hip aches and my feet are sore.”
“Oh suck it up. You want this don’t you? If you run a good last mile you could be a few minutes off the time you wanted. Come on.”
At mile 5 I saw my time again, and realized the other voice in my head was right. So I started singing to myself.
“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”
It also helped that at mile 4 it started to pour down rain. And not the nice, “Oh, this is refreshing” type either. More like the “Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. This hurts” type of rain.
When I rounded the last corner of the race and was back onto the track, I realized I wanted this. And the rain was able to hide my tears that I choked back as people along the track cheered me and a few others along.
“You got this!”
And then the most important person yelled, “Come on babe! You got this!”
I looked up and saw my unofficial time of 1:03:36 and powered through the last few yards. I pushed so hard I couldn’t breathe when I crossed the line.
Early today I got my official race time. 1:03:03. Three minutes off my goal pace. Never have I been so proud of myself for overcoming obstacles. For pushing myself through the pain and rain and hills and everything else.
This race was for me. And now, now I’m sure I’ll hit my PR goal in Boston next month.