It’s probably fitting that my first 5k since the triathlon was on a cold, windy, rainy Sunday morning in October, the kind where, if it was possible, you’d wake up, look outside, and go back to bed. I think it’s fitting because it really takes determination and commitment to want to run in such weather (and to watch others run in that weather- thanks Mom, Dad & James!). And determination and commitment to running is something that’s fallen a little by the wayside for me in the past few months.
I’ll level with you. I’ve gained 7 pounds since the triathlon. Seven. Two or three I would be ok with. Seven I’m not. But guess what? I totally deserve the seven pounds. My gym visits have been sporadic, my eating habits have gotten worse. If I gain any more weight I’ll be disappointing myself. The great thing is, I feel like I learned enough in the past ten months or so to know exactly how to get back on track. And getting back on track means, in part, running a 5k.
Besides that, this 5k was a significant one because it was the first one my brother and I were running together. I talked a LOT of smack all summer long about how I would leave him in the dust come race day. Even as I was saying it, I kinda knew it was baloney- my brother being a natural athlete, he has things going for him that I never will. But the smack-talking continued nonetheless. And then it dropped off somewhere around September. I’m not normally one to run my mouth, and I think I just ran out of steam. That, and I realized it was all fluff anyway. My brother said that I would probably beat him, or we could at least run together during the 5k, which was also baloney, whether he knew it or not.
‘Cause let me tell you, once the horn blew and the race started, I saw my brother for about 45 seconds before he disappeared into the crowd of runners ahead. Way ahead. Waaaaaaaaay ahead. I didn’t see him again til the finish line. Not only that, but I was in this weird place within the pack where there weren’t many people I could see right ahead of me, and I could see no one behind me. Nervousness started weighing me down more than my rain-soaked clothing was. Was I last? This has always been my fear, and in this race, it was more possible than ever— the horrible weather weeded out the novice and spur-of-the-moment runners (and probably the sane ones, too) so the number of people in the race was small. And, I figured these were dedicated, good, solid runners who were RUNNERS. I still have moments where I feel like I pretend to be a runner by running, and that’s what fools people. But an ACTUAL runner? Still go back and forth on that one.
Thankfully, I was not last. By the time I got to the finish line (at 37:30, a time that’s painful for me to admit. But on the bright side, I ran the whole thing besides a quick walk at the water station, so yay for me!) my brother had already been there for seven whole minutes. He could have been in his car, headed home to take a shower, put on dry clothes, and try to forgive me for what I had just put him through. But, of course, he joined the cheering squad at the finish line that was quite enthusiastically (given the cold, rainy conditions they had just spent 37 and a half minutes standing in) waiting for me to cross the finish line.
The next day, I felt like it did after my first 5K- meaning every movement I made caused my body to ache. That’s what I get for taking so much time off. And I’m sure I’m going to be feeling it again a week from today. I’ll be running a 4.748 mile race on Thanksgiving morning with my mom, brother, Lola, James and some friends. Oh, and about 10,000 other people. It’s going to be the longest, biggest race I’ve ever done. Despite my seven pounds, you better believe I will not feel bad later that afternoon when I have an extra helping of stuffing and a super long nap on the couch.