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Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Chin Up, Diva

I had a goal for myself: Finish a 5K in March. I started training in January and discovered that mostly using the elliptical for months on end when I went to the gym had taken a toll on my stamina and my speed. I'd been a very fast walker before I'd gone full elliptical, but I wasn't fast any longer. It taught me a valuable lesson--always cross train and don't simply do one thing every day.

The trainer at the gym gave me an action plan and I followed it as best I could. If it was raining and it was the weekend (my gym is in my work location), I walked circles through my kitchen. But I kept to my training schedule and intervals.

I'd done a virtual 5K before, back in 2016 when I was walking every day and still fast. It was also completed on a treadmill and not outdoors. On the day of the race, I discovered doing a live 5K is very different from the virtual kind.

So race day dawns and it's cold. Like 32 degrees cold. I'd originally planned to wear long sleeves, but had read online to wear clothes you're used to working out in, which meant my gym T-shirt. Short sleeves. Even with my jacket on, I was freezing as I waited for the race to start. Then, finally, we were off!

This was interesting. Adrenaline kicked in and had me walking (yes, I was going to walk the 5K, not run it) faster than my usual pace. About the time I realized that I was going too fast and this was going to kill my pace on the back half, my app told me I'd completed one mile. Wow, I thought, that didn't feel like a mile. Maybe I could maintain a pace like this for the entire race. My app announced the halfway mark, then it announced mile two. Cool! This was going to be a personal best.

And then I saw the sign on the road. 1 Mile.

Confusion reared up. Did that mean 1 mile to go? Because my app said a little ways back that I'd passed two miles and a 5K is 3.1 miles, so it could be distance left. Except that didn't make sense. Why would they mark that? Plus I'd seen the race map and I didn't feel as if I was far enough through the route.

I had a sinking sensation that I was only 1 mile into the race and that meant my pace had been way too fast for me and I was going to pay on the back side of the course.

The second mile was okay, but I was sucking up reserves fast. Shortly after that was the water station and then the tiaras and boas were handed out a little after that. I draped my boa around my neck, held on to my tiara with one hand and my water cup with the other, and continued on.

I started flagging in the third mile and I knew this was going to happen. I had to dig deep to continue on, but my goal was to finish this race.

I'll be honest. I thought about quitting a couple of times. I was exhausted and that last half mile was walked on sheer determination, not any energy I had left in my body. I thought about my goal, I thought about my trainer at the gym and how disappointed she'd be if I didn't finish, I thought about being a Capricorn and how we're stubborn and determined, and I continued walking.

Toward the end of the course, I started passing ladies who'd already finished and were on their way to their cars. They encouraged me to keep going. The auxiliary police officer stopped traffic encouraged me. The volunteers standing along the route in the cold cheering everyone on, even us slow people, encouraged me. And then there was the finish line. Up a hill.

Yes, I had to finish the race on an incline and I'd even run out of fumes at this point. But seeing that line and knowing I was that close kept me moving. I finished!

At the finish line was champagne. There was bananas and cookies, which I skipped, and bottled water, which I accepted. And there was the medal I'd worked so hard to achieve. I clutched the bag in my hand, but didn't open it and put it on. I was too tired for that. All I wanted to do was find my dad, get on the shuttle back to the car, and go home.

I barely made it through the rest of the errands for the day--grocery shopping, gassing up the car, etc--and I didn't do things I normally do on a Saturday like wash clothes. Instead, I took a three-hour nap, drank 11 cups of water (I normally struggle to drink 6), and moaned and groaned while I sat on the couch.

My legs were exhausted all day on Saturday, and while they felt better on Sunday, I still felt drained. At least all the sleep I got re-energized my brain, which was also flagging. The funny thing is that I think I want to do this again next year.

Here's a picture of all my bling: