After my very first 5k experience, where my friend Zac showed up five minutes after the starting gun went off, wearing all black on a mid-August day, and was slightly hungover (which you can read fully about here) I’ve toned down on the running a little. The first 5k was several years ago and I’ve run a couple here and there over the years, but it wasn’t until recently when I longed to live a healthier life that me and my friend Kellie enlisted ourselves in something that proved to be a new challenge and goal to achieve…and that was running a 10k.
I was SO excited after we signed up and thought that I HAD to get into shape to run that, right? And that’s what I did at first! I would strap on my tennis shoes and head to the treadmill or outside with Dan in tow. I got to running around 3 miles when my resolve slowly waned. The once hopeful and exciting 10k became, for a short time there, something that I thought about with fear. Each week that passed where I didn’t run added an extra heartbeat at the thought of the distance and the approaching date.
What made me fall off of the running bandwagon months ago you ask? Was it the time commitment? Was it the fear of going whole-hearted at something and failing? Was it not caring as much as I should? I can’t really say. I feel like it was a little bit of all of those things, but I suppose now that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that day when something snapped in me and I fully became sick and tired of being sick and tired, all I wanted to do was run. So I did. I ran all the way up to the 10k date and even did my own little mock 10k to prove I could finish within the time constraints given. (Guys, if you didn’t finish averaging a 16 minute mile or less a SHUTTLE would pick you up and DROP YOU OFF at the finish line. No joke. Ugh. That terrified me. I even tried just walking fast paced on the treadmill and timed myself just to see where that would put me…17 and a half minutes. I did NOT want to be bussed to the finish line more than anything else, so it was motivation to try my best.) When I did prove to myself that I could do better than I believed I became so excited to actually run it and get that medal! The week before the race I drank water like it was going out of style, ran, ate on point, and stretched it out with some yoga. I also spent a lot of time praying that everything would go well. From the girl who used to get bad shin splints and had some knee problems when running, I was praying that those ailments stayed at bay on my glorious 10k day.
I’m happy to report that nothing horrible or catastrophic happened that day, but the days prior to that were another story. This blog post (that I normally post on Friday) was supposed to be a Green Bay Packer makeup inspired look that I have been using lately, but it wasn’t until Wednesday when I was prepping some dinners for the rest of the week when I thoroughly sliced the side of my thumb on a mandolin slicer whilst preparing sweet potato chips garnished with rosemary. While Dan ate the dinner that I prepared, which was sirloin steak with a homemade honey-mustard sauce and the aforementioned chips, he exclaimed that “This dinner is really really good!” I peered up from my plate after struggling to use my non-dominant hand to eat and said, “Good. It better be.” I’ll spare the details of that bloody mess but my winged eyeliner, among many other things, suffered this week so I am saving the makeup look for when I’m more healed and better capable.
The day before my 10k I showered with much difficulty as I scrubbed my shampoo in, again, using my non-dominant hand while holding my right hand in the air so as to not get my precious thumb bandage that Dan had so carefully prepared for me, before he left for work, wet. As I was scrubbing my hair I must’ve knocked my cheap $3 leaf earring out of my ear and into the floor of the bathtub. I didn’t realize that it was missing until the palm of my left foot found it. Once I was hit with the sharp pain I lifted my foot and saw it completely stuck inside. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that this episode freaked me out quite a bit. Shaking, I manned-up and pulled the earring from my foot and once again there was some blood. I’ve officially met my quota of seeing my own blood for the month, I believe. I hovered my foot in the air after rinsing it off with the shower water and stood, right hand up in the air, left foot up and out over the collected bath water, and made a game plan for how I was going to even start to shave my legs. It wasn’t pretty folks, but I’m proud to say I got the job done. Even then all I could think about was the race the next day and prayed this wouldn’t affect it. The soreness did die down eventually and I was left more motivated than ever!
The morning of the 10k I had to leave my house around 5:25am to get there in time. My nerves started fluttering even though I was excited to see how I’d actually do. 6,000 people were there for the race, which was a nightmare for parking. Me and Kellie made it to the corral we signed up for with not much time to spare. It was exciting to see all of the people around us jumping up and down to get warmed up, stretching, or nervously chattering. When we got to the front and set off it was slightly congested with the amount of people but we eventually got into our groove. It’s so funny that you get so excited for a race and think about it all week long, only to have it seem like a flash of a memory when it’s over. We did better than I thought with pacing and stuck around the same group of people almost the entire race. We couldn’t have asked for a better day and having Kellie by my side left me in a very happy and joyful mood! There were minimal spectators, but the few that did cheer us on did wonders for our spirits! We ran near the Miller Brewery and I swear when we got a whiff of that our pace quickened thinking about the free glass of beer you got at the finish line. I got a huge burst of energy around mile 4 and Kellie got one right at mile 5. We could feel the end of this and knew that we were doing great so it was hard not to be elated. They had us run around the Miller Park warning track inside the field, which was so amazing! They took pictures there and filmed us all for the big screen and allowed spectators to watch from inside the stadium. It was awesome. It was also great because we knew this meant that we were close to the finish line.
For those that know me and know my love for the song “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten (who I have seen live and met several years ago and loved the time she released it) you’ll have to imagine how happy I was during that moment that me and Kellie could physically see the finish line in the distance and heard “Fight Song” blaring through the speakers. Kellie told me she got goosebumps and I totally got teary eyed as we finished strong and booked it to the end!! It was amazing and I still get all mushy inside thinking about it. It was the perfect finish! We did it!!! We finished in 1 hour and 19 minutes, which was about 13 minutes a mile average. From being the girl who could barely finish the mile throughout my schooling years to finishing a 6 mile run, I had the world in front of me. If you would have told me in High School that I’d do this I’d laugh in your face and not believe you. It gave me great confidence in myself and reminded me that our bodies are capable of SO much more than we give them credit for. During the drive home I was thinking a lot about it and realized that, yes, I may be bigger than I ever have been weight-wise…but my body just did something great even at my heaviest and I cannot help but to feel grateful and blessed to have pushed through and made it!! Yes, ‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me!!!! <3