I was tempted to title this, “how I ran a 5K finally and accidentally wore hot pants,” but we’ll get to that.
The 24 hours leading up to that moment when I started slowly jogging in the corral and then hit the start line was really emotional.
And yes, I’m about to deal with feelings, so if you think it’s lame that I’m talking about this related to only 3.1 miles, then I would not read below.
Lately, my legs have been bothering me a tad again. Not as bad as before, but annoying. And while I don’t like to give in to negative thinking, I had a few moments of wondering, what if I can’t do this? What if my legs won’t let me? Sure, you can run through pain and focus on the adrenaline, but it as wondering what it would be like after that worried me more.
So Friday night, I methodically laid out everything for the race and focused on stretching, doing my PT work and some light yoga to just help me center. Friends were giving me some shit for staying in because, well so-and-so is out and he’s running tomorrow too. But that isn’t my story right now. This wasn’t just a run for me, it was a test, something I was serious about and needed to feel emotionally and physically ready for. So that’s what I focused on.
And on my way to the race, I zoned everything else out and just focused on what I could expect when I got going, what to pay attention to from my body and not to freak out if I felt a pain in my leg along the way.
It helped me feel ready. Waiting in the corrals was the worst part because OH MY GOD I WANT TO JUST GET GOING. But then we did and it was like, holy shit, it’s really happening.
I didn’t know how I would feel when I crossed the finish line, and when I did, I was prepared for some kind of a reaction, but in that moment, it didn’t come. I heard someone say to me, “nice job.” And I looked and just said, “thank you.” Even when I joined the line to pick up a snack and the 5K medal, I felt nothing.
And standing at the tailgate after, I kept looking down at myself, seeing my BIB number and race shirt and thought, is this really me? Was it all a dream? And I didn’t know what to think. It wasn’t until Sunday morning that I processed everything and felt an immense level of pride and accomplishment.
The one thing I did feel right away though was gratefulness for my friends and family, who reached out in multiple ways to say congrats, good luck and how proud they were of me. I cannot even begin to say how much I needed it and appreciated it.
This has not been an easy road but somehow that melted away because I know one thing.
I did it.
Oh and the hot pants thing, turns out, my running shorts were insanely short and then when I started running, somehow got shorter. So it was a festival of my thighs. Literally I have not been that exposed in a long time. But it was insanely comfortable, so…no judgement.