Whoops. Didn’t mean to go this long without writing anything! Remember how last time, I said I was no longer meeting with my trainer and I’d need lots of help and encouragement getting to the gym? Yeah… it hasn’t gone great. I’ve exercised maybe 7 times in the last month. A far cry from the 3-5 times a week I was used to. And my diet has taken a huge nose dive, too. Instead of fastidiously planning my meals and exercise routines, I’ve fallen back into old habits of eating out and spending my evenings watching Netflix (sidebar: I cannot stop watching Murder, She Wrote. If only I could stream episodes at the gym!) I’ve noticed my clothes fitting a little tighter, my endurance waning and my resolve is all but gone. It’s high time for a swift kick in the butt!
And a swift kick I received! A few months ago, high off the endorphins of three complete 5ks, I signed up for the Hot Chocolate 15k. I ran the 10k in September and kept thinking, “I’ll get around to training soon. Just one more week. I’ll start next Saturday.” Before I knew it, the 15k was upon me and I’d done nothing to prepare except buy a hot chocolatey running outfit.
It was FREEZING the morning of the race so I stayed bundled up in my long sleeved running top and race hoodie. I even borrowed Christian’s running gloves to keep the cold at bay. Waiting in the corral was miserable and I just knew I’d never get warm. How wrong I was. One mile in, I was miserably hot, shed the gloves and desperately wanted to come out of my jacket. But that would’ve required repining my bib and I decided at mile one, I’d be done in probably an hour and 40 minutes so it wouldn’t be so bad. Fool.
Although I felt pretty good running, I’d been sipping water all morning and the urge to use the bathroom hit me the second I crossed the start line. I made a pit stop at mile 2. An hour and 40 minutes was still within my reach! I’d mapped out the water stations ahead of time and decided I’d only stop at the one just after the 5k mark and the one just after the 10k mark. If I “treated” myself with those two water stations, maybe I could trick my body into thinking I was just running three separate 5ks with little breaks in between. My body was not fooled. I honestly felt pretty good until about mile 5.5. My socks started to rub blisters and my feet were just plain sore. And there were still almost 4 miles to go!
I slowed down considerably after that and basically trudged the rest of the course. Just after mile 9, I must’ve looked distressed and was possibly moaning. Who can say for certain? Just as I was sure death was upon me, an angel in flourescent yellow turned around, smiled at me and said, “Come on, honey! Let’s finish this up together!” This perfect stranger ran alongside me for the final .3 of the race, encouraging me. We picked up our pace and crossed the finish line, triumphant and smiling! I would come to learn that her name is Susan and her encouragement and camaraderie were exactly what I needed right then. She asked if it was my first 15 and then told me it’s amazing what our bodies can do with a little encouragement and when they see the finish line ahead. I hugged her, thanked her and then lost her in the crowd. I can’t wait to get the race photos back so I can see if she was real. Perhaps she was the Clarence to my George Bailey. It was an act of kindness I’ll never forget.
In hindsight, of course I wish I’d trained, eaten well and prepared myself. My time was pretty pitiful and I got passed by a speed walker. There is little more humbling than a 60-something-year-old man swishing past you, his hips defying nature.
But I finished! I ran a race that was 9.3 miles long! Holy crap!! And that’s not it – I bought a deal on TRX/Kettlebell classes and I’ve got an exciting new opportunity in accountability starting up soon. I even planned healthy meals every day this week and am ready to get back at it. With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, I can’t afford to strap on the feedbag like I usually do. This isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. One for the better.
tl;dr ran a super long way pretty slowly