Yesterday was the Big Day – the day of the Santa Shuffle, and my first 5K!
To be honest, I’d been totally dreading it all week. In fact, if I hadn’t been the one who had convinced everyone else to come, I totally would have bailed.
I knew going in that I wasn’t going to be able to run the whole thing, and that had been what I wanted all along, and what I’d been practicing for. So I felt like a failure before I even started. Stupid, I know, but that’s how I felt.
My ultimate goal was to run the whole thing, and to do it in under 40 minutes. But I knew I’d never do that, so my next goal was to run as much as I could, and to finish in under 45 minutes. I made a playlist on my iPod, and at the 45 minute mark, I put the song “Let Go”, by FrouFrou, and it was a little message to myself: If you haven’t finished by the time this song comes on, then just … let go. You’re still going to finish and time doesn’t matter.
Well, I never did hear that song come on. :) But let’s back up a bit, shall we?
Shaun and I arrived at the park wayyyyyy too early: 9 o’clock! Considering we didn’t start running until almost 10:30, and that it was about –4* out, that was early. I was FREEZING all morning.
Then my lovely friend Allyson also showed up. She is going to be running a half-marathon in the spring! Love her.
We were still missing Allie, and we waited and waited, even worrying something had happened, when she wasn’t picking up her phone. At the 11th hour, she finally arrived – it was a Christmas miracle! Finally our group was all there.
The race was about to start so I readied my iPod…
…and got in the zone…
…and then we were off!
I think the cold actually worked to my advantage in the end. Normally the hardest part of running is the first ten minutes, and I usually only get through it by promising myself I can STOP after ten minutes and walk a bit. Then I start up again and it’s hard again, and the cycle continues. Yesterday my legs were so freaking frozen that I actually couldn’t feel them until after I’d been running for about 15 minutes – so I totally skipped the hardest part! I ran and ran until I hit the water station at the half-way mark. I paused for a sip of water, and looked down at my watch – only to realize I’d just run the first half in a bit under 19 minutes! And if I could run the rest of the way at the same pace, I’d have a chance to make my under 40 minute goal!!
So I took off from the water station. I’m not going to lie – that 4th kilometre was HARD. I wanted to walk soooo badly, but I was soooo close to completing my ultimate goal, I knew – I just KNEW – that I Could.Not. let myself down. I couldn’t and I WOULDN’T. So I kept running. We had two short but steep hills to go over, and I used the down part of those hills to do this weird leaping thing that helped stretch out my quads a bit. And I kept running. I just kept running.
So yes, in the end, I ran the entire thing. And when I rounded the corner to the finish line, and saw the clock was only at around 38 minutes, I took off. My clock time was 39:40, and my watch time was about 39:30. I finished in under 40 minutes, and I ran the whole way: the very thing I was so sure I wouldn’t be able to do.
I had a great time yesterday and I’m so glad I gave myself this challenge. And I was so glad to be able to do it with a group of friends (though I’m sad about the couple of people who weren’t able to make it and/or who couldn’t find us.)
Will there be more races in my future? You know what? I think so.