… the faster it’ll be over.
This was my mantra on Monday as I was towards the end of my first 10K race. The only other time I’ve ever had to dig deep and recite these words was almost two years ago, during childbirth. I found the motivation somewhere and I finished my race, despite the fact that the universe seemed to be working against me all last week.
It all started last Tuesday night (actually the early hours of Wednesday morning) when I was on call. The phone rang and I was responded to the scene only to be told that another jurisdiction would handle it. It had been two and a half hours from the time I woke up til the time I was able to go back to bed, but unlike my pre-children days, I couldn’t just catch up on my sleep since Caleb had therapy and things needed to get done before I went to work the next day. I was sluggish all day on Wednesday and completely forgot that I had made an appointment to donate blood. I made the decision to donate and was definitely dragging the rest of the day. It probably wasn’t the smartest idea to donate blood 5 days before a race but hindsight is always 20/20.
We’ve been having some difficulty with the boys sleeping at night and Wednesday night, Caleb decided to wake up crying and screaming which woke up Wyatt and either one or both boys ended up in our bed at some point which translates to a really crappy night of sleep. I felt zapped of energy on Wednesday, either due to the lack of sleep (how did we do it with two newborns?) or loss of blood but I relied on coffee and sugar to get me through the day. I was on call again on Thursday night and got another call at 12:30am. This was a more serious scene that took hours and I only left the scene around 12:30pm. We still weren’t done so additional processing took place on Saturday starting at 10 am and I got home around 1:30am that night. Phew! I had the whole day off on Sunday and enjoyed the day with the boys and Shane and I were even able to go out to dinner on Sunday night, which was fantastic. I was looking forward to a nice restful sleep before my race and of course, both boys were up crying and I felt like crying too. My alarm rang and for a split second I considered just staying in bed since I felt like I was setting myself up for failure but I really wanted to check this off my bucket list so I got my butt out of bed.
The race started at 8:00 and I felt pretty good by then. I usually run listening to music and a MapMyRun app which tells me how far I’ve gone and my pace. I decided not to listen to the app during the race because I’ve noticed that if my pace is getting slower, I start doing poorly so I thought it would be better to just not know. I also had my watch in stopwatch mode so I could have an idea of how long I had been running. When I saw the sign for the first mile, I looked at my watch and it said my pace was 8:33. The adrenaline must’ve been in high gear since I usually run a little slower than that. I was worried that I would tire out too quickly if I continued at that pace but at that point I was feeling good and having fun so I didn’t care. Since this was my first 10K, I knew it would be my personal record (PR) so there wasn’t any pressure there. I did have a goal of running the 10K in under one hour. My other goal was to not take any walking breaks. My last goal was to just finish and not be in tears.
I’m not sure if I wasn’t paying attention or what but I didn’t see any other mile marker signs for the rest of the race. I had absolutely no idea how far I had gone and how many miles were left. I was tempted to look at my watch, but I was afraid it would discourage me, so I avoided it. We came to a point where the participants of the 5K were turning around, so I figured it was about 1.5 miles til the finish. I’m not sure exactly what happened but all of a sudden my legs were walking, it was like they were acting independent of my brain. I walked briskly for maybe 10-15 seconds and I knew the longer I walked, the harder it would be to get going again so I forced myself to start jogging. At this point, I wasn’t going terribly fast and all of the runners who I’d passed earlier in the race were now slowly passing me. It was annoying, but I couldn’t get my legs to go any faster, they were so tired.
I was motivated by the thought of my family and how taking care of myself is one of the best things I can do for them. I thought about the fatigue in my legs and wondered if that’s what Caleb feels like when he’s walking around for an hour during therapy. I knew Shane and the boys would be waiting at the finish and I couldn’t wait to turn the corner and see them. I waved like a fool and blew them kisses. I peered at my watch when I crossed over the finish line: 1:01:09
I had just missed my goal, but it didn’t feel like I failed at all. I realize that the short walking break could’ve been the difference in getting a sub 1 hour time but I didn’t care. I was happy to have finished and for my kids and husband to watch me accomplish this goal that I’ve had for a while now. I know that to some a 10K (6.2 miles) isn’t really a big deal but I’m definitely proud considering my longest run prior to this race was 5 miles! My pace was 9:51/mile and I ranked #13 out of 24 women in my division. I currently don’t have any ambition to run a marathon or even a half marathon, but would like to maybe run another 10K and improve my time. I hope I can stick with running because it’s one of the only forms of exercise that is free, you can do it anywhere and only 30 minutes will give you a decent workout for the day.
Looking back, this race was really a lot like childbirth. The difficulty and pain of the task is overshadowed by the incredible feeling of accomplishment when it’s over.