There are some things I just never thought I would ever do in my life. Running for more than 3 miles at once, is one of those things. I’ve done 5K’s throughout the year, but I have struggled with all of them and had yet to finish a race that I didn’t have to stop to walk. I found myself to be disappointed. I had heard about all these people who talked about running a 5K being a life altering experience, a turning point, something they will always be proud of. I thought it was all a load of crap.
Running a 5K was never something I even wanted to do, until I couldn’t do it. Every other 5K I have done this season, I thought running the entire distance was something I would never achieve; in the car on the way to the race, I didn’t think it was going to happen, when I said the words out loud after registration, I thought it was just out of my reach. I never thought I would be able to run a 5K. Standing at the start line, I just knew I would have to stop to walk. A mile in, I knew I hadn’t trained enough and there was no way I’d be able to pull it off. Up until I crossed the finish line; my legs numb from my accomplishment, I never thought I would run a 5K.
This was the race I have been waiting for. I didn’t disappoint myself; I wouldn’t disappoint myself. I wanted to finish in under 40 minutes and my official time was 38:25. I did it! I wrapped my arms around the neck of my husband and a flood of emotions came over me, like I have not experienced in any other part of my life other than when I had my babies. I did something I never thought I would be able to do. I pushed through when all I wanted to do was collapse. It was a feeling I could never describe; relief, adrenaline, exhaustion and pride all wrapped up into a euphoric moment.
This race was unlike any I have done so far. It’s called the Fit at 5K put on by a local TV station. One of the TV personalities does a weekly segment on dieting, exercising, health, fitness. The 5K started 5 years ago and I’ve seen the stories on the news about it, but they cannot do justice to the power of this event. Everyone is there for the same reason. Everyone is there to face an obstacle, to do something they never thought they’d do. Some have accomplished amazing weight loss and fitness goals along the way, others were just getting started. You could feel the support of the people around you, every step of the way.
Around the start of mile 2, I overheard a woman running in front of me saying, I can’t believe I’m doing this. I then spent probably the next half mile running with this woman and her friend. We learned between the 3 of us, we had lost 200 pounds. When I was struggling to keep moving, one of them said, “I just keep telling myself, ‘Stopping is not an option.'” Her words kept me going after they fell back in the pack a little bit.
Another motivator was seeing one of my former co-workers at about the 2.5 mile marker. I yelled a hello to her, and her jaw dropped. I think I even picked up my pace for a few minutes after that.
After a half a mile I wanted to stop, after a mile and pretty much every step after that, but I didn’t. At one point, while there were no other runners around me, I had a conversation with myself out loud. I repeatedly told myself this was my goal and I was going to accomplish it. I crested the top of the hill and I knew that was the 3 mile mark and I sprinted. I ran as hard and as fast as I could toward that finish line.
And in that moment, I experienced what so many others have talked about. I looked my husband in the eye and brokenly told him, I did it without walking one step and I cried. I cried for what I allowed myself to become, I cried for the years I wasted being unhappy and inactive. I cried for all that I have accomplished and for my husband there at the finish line. I let go for the first time since I started my journey. I didn’t think about how many pounds I had left or what my next workout would be. I was proud of myself and instead of beating myself up for it taking as long as it did to get to the place where I’m at today, or for letting meself get to the point I had, I left it behind me.
I still get chocked up thinking about it. I did this, all on my own. I set a goal for myself and I overcame the voice screaming inside my head telling me I’m not good enough, because I am.