It's 5:45 a.m. on Saturday morning. The sun is hiding behind the grey clouds and I can hear the whistle of the wind outside the window while I am preparing myself for the run I am about to make. As I am brushing my teeth, my mind is racing..."today you are showing yourself in front of thousands of people." "You're not ready for this!" "Are you crazy?!" I try to silence these thoughts. I get dressed, lace up my sneakers and head out to my car. The cold is piercing this morning. I am surprised I didn't psyche myself out on my 30 minute drive. I don't even recall much of the drive there. I pull into the parking lot and meet up with the rest of the team that I am running with. I cannot get over how cold it is outside. My hands have already lost feeling! We carpool over to the Metro Center and go stand in line to get our bibs. We jog back to the car and then back to the Metro Center as a warm up. I am dreading this. We then take the 15 minute walk to where the race is actually beginning. We listen to the National anthem and then it starts.
My heart was racing and I could literally feel each beat; each pulse in my throat. It's snowing outside, and the wind is gusting the frigid air right through my lungs. Pain sears through my shins with each repeated strike to the ground; but I continue to move. I weave in and out of the other runners and it feels like we are all moving in slow motion. I feel like I am looking through a vignette. I cannot hear the people around me, I am so focused that everything around me seems muted. I am coming down the last stretch of the race and people are now watching - I can't stop. I run harder, I can't let all of the onlookers see me fail. I need to make it to the finish line. My heart is pounding and I feel like I'm ready to vomit. I haven't stopped, although I feel like my legs are going to give out on me. I plead with myself not to fall, or stop. Just. Keep. Moving. I cross under the arch and I know I am finished. The relief of finishing the race is indescribable.
I don't like to run. In fact, I hate it. I know a few people who share this feeling of running. But the feeling I get after I have ran keeps me doing it. It's what keeps me doing things that I don't like to do, but think that it's good for me to do it. That feeling I am talking about is knowing that I have the control and discipline to keep going even if I may hate what I am doing. This was the case for me yesterday. I ran a 5K. That doesn't sound so complicated or something that requires such strict discipline, but it was for me. I run, but I run alone and I run where people cannot see me, so if I fail at it, I don't risk humiliation. So signing up for the 5k was a way for me to push myself further; gain more control over myself and instill more discipline. It's a great feeling for me.
Today I am sore to the point that I can barely walk. Which usually happens when I run. Every step that I take causes a chain reaction of pain that ripples through my legs, hips and back. with every stride, it reminds me of the work I did - and not to mess it up. It's like the feeling you get from not eating all day; the grumbling in your stomach or the lightness your whole body feels. You don't want to go and spoil it by eating a burger because it will destroy all of the control you have had over yourself all day.
I have signed up for two more races - a lot more training involved so I can make sure that I am not to humiliate myself with running a 46 minute 5k, or seeing my fat jiggle while running down the road. I want to blend in with the rest of the runners, and not feel so segregated. or judged. I hated passing people yesterday because the thought of them staring at me from behind was enough to bring tears to my eyes. All I could think about, aside from the pain, was the thought of their non-verbal criticism. "How can this fat girl run?" "She's just kidding herself!"
I am relaxing on my couch as I type this knowing that when I am done, I am going to be in pain, but drag myself to the gym. Dedication. Discipline. Control.
Health and Wellness to all