I’m not, what one would call, a committed exerciser. I look for any excuse in the book to not to something. It’s kind of a problem.
But with the new year and notching another year on the ole age bedknob, I’m trying to turn over a new leaf. I’ve been waking up (almost) every morning to go the gym before work for the Best Body Bootcamp, and as I told you all last week, I signed up for two races.
The first of those two races was this morning. And I honestly considered sleeping through it.
I’ve been battling a cold for about a month now. It started when we got the cat and morphed into an obnoxious head and chest cold. I started feeling better earlier in the week, but then E. came down with it and had to stay home from school two days with a fever. By Thursday, I felt my cold returning. Thankfully, I never got a fever but my chest started feeling congested again.
By Friday night, the coughing was back with a vengeance. So when my alarm went off at 6 a.m. (so luxuriously late compared to my normal gym wake-up call and other races since this one was so close to my house), I honestly considered just shutting the alarm off and sleeping. It didn’t help that it was freezing outside. OK, fine, I guess 44 degrees isn’t technically freezing, but it sure feels that way to this suddenly wimpy Floridian. My Syracuse and Pennsylvania-living self looks down at me with shame now.
But then I remembered that a couple friends were running it, including some of my moms group friends who I NEVER see anymore. So I sucked it up and got out of bed.
I need to remember that no matter how I finished the race, I SHOULD be proud that I even did it in the first place. Little wins.
I got to the race site around 7 (the race was at 7:30) and parking was a mess. I ended up parking at Jewett Orthopaedic Clinic, which was about a half-mile from the race’s start at Mead Gardens. At least the walk there helped me to start warming up.
Almost as soon as I got there, I bumped into Stephanie (aka Goober Monkey), fresh off her Goofy Challenge! We chatted for a few minutes and then I went into the fray of pink shirts to try and find my friends.
Sadly, I never found Victoria or Heather, but I finally found my friends … near the bathroom line, of course. Since it was a chicks’ race, the line was long. I debated skipping it, but I’d already had a coffee and water (plus it was freezing) so I decided to go for the pre-emptive pee. Aren’t you glad I’m such a thorough blogger to share these details with you?
Since we were hanging in line, we had plenty of time for a pre-race picture.
After our pee stop, it was time to head to the starting line. Our speedy friend (the one in pink) went up to the big-girl pace groups, while my friend and I joined the throngs in the 9-minute mile section. Normally, I don’t run that fast but the next two pace groups were 10+ and walkers, so we decided to scoot up some. Not that there was much room to move.
That’s a lot of ladies.
It was a pretty awesome bunch, though. The race benefits breast cancer research, and there were so many survivors there with their daughters, mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins and friends. It was really sweet to see. And of course, I couldn’t help but think of Rachel this morning. One I got there and looked around, and started thinking of the so many women who don’t have the choice to run anymore either because they’ve died of their disease or it’s (temporarily!) sidelined them, I thought, “How couldn’t I be here?”
Don’t worry, though — my usual crankiness came out soon enough.
I realized just before the start of the race that I’d forgotten my Garmin at home. Thankfully I have a RunKeeper app on my phone but it’s definitely a little unwieldy to keep looking at that for pacing information since I was mostly keeping it in my SpiBelt.
My friend and I started off and the first mile flew by as we caught up on what had been happening since we last saw each other at Christmastime. By the time we reached the first mile marker, though, I knew my lungs were in trouble. I’m sure the cold air didn’t help but I was having a really hard time drawing any deep breaths. Every time I did, it sent me into a coughing fit.
I’d been worried that my legs would be dead for the run thanks to two straight day of HARD lower body work for Best Body Bootcamp but the quads felt surprisingly good. Stupid lungs.
I know. I’m annoyed too just listening to my whining.
At the first water stop, I told my friend she could go ahead if she wanted. She’s been doing an awesome job of juggling running with her two little ones lately, including fitting in runs between nursing sessions, so I didn’t want to hold her back. She went ahead while I tried to catch my breath by walking for about 30 seconds. Then, just as I was starting to run and put in some earphones, I saw her waiting up ahead. She said she was having too much fun talking and running and decided to wait up.
That, right there, is a very good friend indeed.
We stuck together through the rest of the beautiful, sometimes brick-lined streets. I sort of wished I’d stopped to snap a picture of the sun rising over a lake. It was gorgeous.
Just after we hit the 2-mile sign, I knew I was in trouble again. We walked together for about 20 seconds, then ran again. Within a couple minutes, I knew I was slowing down and she was ready to kick it up a notch. This time, I made her run ahead.
I stopped to walk and fire up the Pandora on my phone. I walked for maybe a minute (this is where I really miss my Garmin; the RunKeeper stats are impossible to break down) and as soon as I put my headphones on, the PERFECT song came on — Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger.”
It was exactly the kick in the rear I needed. How does music do that to you? It’s amazing how it can take you out of your own mindset and put you on a better path.
Here are the lyrics that really got me going:
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stronger
Just me, myself and I
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone
Cheesy but effective.
Listen, I know I wasn’t out there doing an Ironman or anything but I was starting to get bummed about how I was feeling and the fact that not only was I not going to reach my goal time (a sub-30 minute 5K), I wasn’t even going to beat my last 5K time (31:28).
So Kelly and Flo Rida helped spur me on to the finish.
In the end, it turned out better than I thought.
I did have a moment at about mile 2.6 when I thought, “I’m crazy for signing up for the Winter Park 10K. I’m feeling horrible now and I won’t even be halfway done at this point in that race.”
But now, of course, I have the remnants of my very slight runner’s high, so I’m back to wanting to it.
Running is such a mindeff, huh?
Hopefully, I’m over my plague by then or this cat may need to find a new home.
Thank you Track Shack, for once again organizing an awesome race. Everything was executed flawlessly and it was, as always, a top notch event. We’re all so lucky to have you in our community!
What motivates you during races? Music, other runners or your previous times? And do you prefer to run alone or with friends?