Today’s kind of a big day.
Today I am running my first “anniversary” race.
Last year, I began Couch to 5K in the second week of September. I was very faithful to the program, ran every run, gave it my heart and soul. By early November, I was on track to complete the program, the thirty minute run, the “graduation” of the program.
So then what?
The obvious thing was to run a 5K.
I mean, I knew that was the eventual goal, of course, but I didn’t have a specific race in mind. I figured it was unlikely that I’d ever get through it, so I never really looked out towards the finish date for a race. But once I was days away from it, I knew I’d have to run a race, and soon, after graduating.
The first race scheduled after my finish date was a Veteran’s Day race at the local VA hospital. My kids were in school that day, so it was perfect. I’d get them on the bus, quietly run my race all by myself, and come home. If I did poorly, there would be no witnesses. If I did well, I’d be able to celebrate that too, alone, as I’d done all of the training runs.
Except that my friends were pretty amazed that me, the chubby girl who likes her booze, was going to do this. So one of my girlfriends came out to the race with me to cheer me on, and many more did so via text messages, phone calls, Facebook messages. They encouraged me. They pushed me. They helped me think that I could do this.
I proudly posted that day that I’d completed the race in 43:05, my first ever race time. I felt great about it. And I vowed that day that I wouldn’t do what I knew a lot of people did; they stopped running after that first race. I set a goal to run one race a month to keep me training. And here’s what I did:
Nov. 11, 2011: Veteran’s Day 5K
Dec. 10, 2011: Christmas Village 5K
Dec. 31, 2011: Danbury First Night 5K
March 4, 2012: Shamrock and Roll 5K
April 14, 2012: Wayne State Check Up 5K
May 13, 2012: Cheshire Sea Dog 10K
June 3, 2012: Sprint for Monroe 5K
Sept. 9, 2012: Cancercare 5K
Sept. 23, 2012: Fitbloggin 5K
Oct. 21, 2012: 4M Trail Run
Nov. 12, 2012: Veteran’s Day 5K
12 months, 11 races. I can’t believe this is me. I can’t believe that I am going out today to run that 5K route again, one year later. I wonder, sitting here eating my standard race day breakfast (I have a standard race day breakfast!) of power bar and coffee, what it will feel like. Today is much warmer than that chilly, windy day one year ago. I remember there were hills. I remember it being very hard, watching the herd peel away from me and getting discouraged. But I remembered too my girlfriend there, waiting for me around the bend, there to encourage me. I couldn’t let her down. I couldn’t let all of the people, both in person and not in person, pulling for me and wanting me to succeed that day. So I paced myself and made it through. I did it.
Today, a year later, I am training again for a 10K. My last run was 5.5 miles. I am hoping that means that today will feel good, that I will feel faster, less winded, more capable. I am hoping that I finish that race with a smile and a sense of where I have been. But more importantly, I want to finish that race with a sense that this is only the beginning.
The beginning of even more running, more races, longer races, more fun.
Wish me luck!