In 2011, Well -- overall, it was the worst year of my life, and I barely made it to week 3.
In 2012, I've started and stopped so many times I might as well have finished, but never actually did.
On July 12, 2012, I completed a 3.5 mile race. That's right. I completed a race that was .4 miles LONGER than a 5k.
Back in March, my company sent out a memo saying that we'd be participating in the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge race in downtown Boston. At that point in time, I decided that gave me plenty of time to prepare so I signed up. At the time, I didn't realize it, but I was one of 12,000 people who registered for the race.
In the meantime, lots and lots of things came up that should have totally derailed me. For example, on Easter, I fell down the stairs and broke my toe. At that point I was 4 weeks into Couch to 5k, and was initially told -- no exercise for 6-8 weeks. That eventually got taken down to 4 weeks, but you can lose a lot of training in 4 weeks (not to mention, it's not like I woke up on the first day after the four weeks and had no pain...in fact, the toe is still achy from time to time but it's healed).
So I did the best I could, worked out like crazy (even if I wasn't running) and showed up on race day with the goal of finishing in 60 minutes or less.
The race started off with a bang, literally. I somehow got grouped in with the "6 minute mile or faster" runners, so when the race started, I had to pound pavement as fast as I could to keep from getting run over. Eventually the crowd thinned out, and I took a walk break to catch my breath.
And that's pretty much how it went from there on. I'd run, run, run, especially on the downhill portions of the race, grabbed tons of water at the water stations, and before I knew it, I was approaching the finish line.
That, my friends, is where the fun began. Remember that hour goal?
As I approached the finish line, I saw the clock -- it read 59:00. I said -- well, yelled -- some words that I cannot repeat in friendly company and proceeded to run faster than I did when I was trying not to get killed by the 6-minute-miler group, telling myself over and over, "Fast feet to the finish line!"
As I got closer, my teammates were standing on the sidelines (yes, I was the last from my team to finish) and they saw me and started cheering, and I ran even faster.
I crossed the finish line.
I looked up at the clock.
It read 1:00:15.
I breathlessly repeated some of the not-so-nice words that I said when I saw the 59:00 on the clock, and felt like the air had been kicked out of me.
Then, I got the text message.
Official time: 59:53.
And then the raw emotion hit me. I leapt up in the air and screamed for joy. Scott texted me (he got the alerts from the race, too) and congratulated me. I did it! I did it! I set a goal and I beat it by SEVEN SECONDS.
What an amazing experience. It truly reminded me of why I love running. The whole race experience. The feelings of accomplishment (especially in light of people who tell me I can't/shouldn't run because I'm a fat chick). The pre-race jitters. The runner's high. The spectators cheering you on. It is a total rush.
I registered for my next 5k this afternoon. I'll be running another Boston race in September. I'll be training like mad until then. I cannot wait.
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