The day of my first 5K race dawned with absolutely perfect weather. This was a tender mercy, as I was really wondering if I was crazy to actually be doing this after all. I will say this again: being in a 5K was a huge deal for me. So much of the transition from "I am someone who only wants to spend her entire life sitting on the couch and eating pizza and ice cream while reading heaps of fluffy novels" to "I am fit and healthy and I enjoy being active" has not been physical, but mental. Few people will ever know how hard this process has been for me.
I knew I would not be able to run the whole way, but my goal was to run the majority of it and to finish in less than 45 minutes.
My race was actually just a fun run put on by my stake (church community.) It was free, so there wasn't a lot of hoopla but we did have bibs and we were timed. About 60 people signed up for the 5K, and another 50 or so for the 1 mile run. Roo and the Rabbit were excited to run the mile. I encouraged Fish to sign up for the mile too, since he has been trying to train with me but has been hindered by his stomach problems. But he was adamant about doing the 5K. The Badger surprised me by signing up for the 5K as well. I didn't know that it was something he would be interested in doing.
There was a lot of excitement in the air as we lined up. There was this cool group energy vibe and it was neat to be a part of it.
And then we started running.
I knew I was going to get left in the dust, but honestly I was surprised at how fast it happened. Pretty much right away the Badger, Fish, and I were not only at the very end, but everyone else was yards and yards ahead of us. I thought there would be a couple other stragglers or walkers, but it turns out that besides our family, only a bunch of rabbits signed up for this year's race.
That was okay, though. This wasn't about me versus them, it was about me versus me. And I was doing fine. I ran the first mile and a little beyond that, and then I started taking short walking breaks. At that point I was alone on the course. The rabbits had all long gone, and the Badger had stayed back with Fish, who was aways behind me. He had woken up that morning with a cold that was really draining his energy, but he still wanted to participate.
It was a glorious morning running past lovely green Kansas farm fields. I was enjoying myself and doing well by my standards. I was a little worried about Fish's morale, but I knew the Badger was with him and I was very grateful for that.
At about the 2 mile mark I saw my friend Cyndi approaching. Cyndi runs marathons. She is strong and fast. She is also an amazing, understanding friend. She has given me a lot of advice and encouragement throughout this process.
Cyndi had finished the race and then turned back to find me and run the last leg with me. Having her there with me was really wonderful. She pushed me to do more, but she didn't push me too hard.
When I reached the finish line, I was thrilled to learn that my time was 40:38, way under my 45 minute goal. Everyone else had long ago left the finish line and moved on to the food tables and if they thought about me at all they probably thought how incredibly slow I was, but they had no idea how far I had come and what an amazing time that was for me.
A few minutes later, Fish and the Badger were the last to finish. They walked most of the way, but they enjoyed their time together. Fish's Young Men's leader also went back and found Fish and covered the last half mile or so with him, which is why he is known by the name "Brother Awesome" at our house. Fish was very happy that he had finished the course despite not feeling well, and I was very proud of him.
So it was a great experience, and now I am planning my next race. I am going to give myself plenty of time... I am thinking September or October. My goal is to be able to run the entire thing, which for me will be a heroic achievement. I am looking forward to it!
(I wish I had some pictures!)