In the fall, Amber came calling again, but this time she held the color of my field day t-shirts over my head. If I ran the Zest Quest 5K, then I had the opportunity to choose my color first. Oh what teachers do for a decent t-shirt color! I was looking forward to this race and the opportunity to run again. I had been running off and on throughout the summer and since the temps were cooler, I was able to put more time into my training. The night before the race, I struck a fever of 102. Went to bed at 8:00, slept restlessly, but followed through with my commitment. The morning of the race, it was COLD!! I felt horrid - achy, feverish, and chills. Not the best for running a 5K. However, I stayed steady, plugged in my iPod in and tuned everything out for 43 minutes. I shaved 3 minutes off of my time! Woo Hoo! I spent the rest of the weekend in bed, went to the doctor on Monday and was diagnosed with severe strep throat!
As the school year plowed forward, I picked up running again, then it snowed and the roads were inaccessible for 2 weeks. I am NOT a treadmill girl, so that was not even an option. I was out of the habit and it was much easier to sit than to run. When spring came around, I began P90X and could not fit another thing into my schedule.
But Amber was smart this year, she sent in someone I could not refuse - Abbie - her 7 year old daughter. In a sweet voice, while holding my hand, Abbie asked if I would run the Candlelight again this year, but with her. How could I refuse. Technically, when she asked me I had a month to get ready. I should have planned better, but I didn't. I spent too much time doing other thing. The end of the year came and went and all of the to do lists with it. June 18th was quickly approaching. Somewhere along June 2ndish, I decided that I should at least start running a bit. So, I laced my sneaks for a few paces around the lake and down the trail. Amazingly, they weren't as hard as I had anticipated. Yes, it was hot. Yes, it was humid. And yes, I had other things to do. But somehow, I began to enjoy it.
Two days before the race, I ran at Furman and ran more than I walked for 30 minutes - I have a 15 minutes pace, yes I realize that is slow, but it is what it is. And at least I'm out there trying to improve, right?! After that run, I was sore. My lower back hurt like never before and my ankles were stiff. I was worried about race day.
The Candlelight Run takes place at 9:00 pm in Greenville. A huge storm rolled in right before race time and cooled things off. I met my group, laced my sneaks up, and started to get my iPod ready. I lined up at the back of the line where the slow people are and waited for the start. When the gun went off, it was almost like I had tunnel vision. I was only able to see right in front of me. The people around didn't matter. As I closed the first mile, my pace was right on 15:00. I had to walk some in the 2nd mile, but I always made sure that I didn't do that for long. The most difficult part was the steady incline in the 2nd mile. My legs burned, but I knew as soon as I made the turn at the top of the hill, the rest of the race was downhill. A huge confidence booster. I grabbed my water at mile 2 and trucked down toward the finish line. I felt strong and motivated to finish well. So, I made sure that I ran more. I walked for about 50 yards, but kept my pace steady with my music until the finish line was in sight. Then, I sprinted to the end. My final time was 43:25. A 3 minute 19 second improvement!
I would like to say that it was the training, but it wasn't. I think it was sheer determination. Is there room to improve? You betcha!! My goal for the next race will be 40 minutes. I can't wait to take the time to actually commit to train and see what the results are.
I posted earlier this year about my love-hate relationship with running. I find myself loving it more and more these days. It's the only moment in the day where everything else just disappears and it's only the sound of my feet pounding the pavement, my steady heartbeat, my ragged breath, and the staccato of my music in my ears. At that moment, everything else just fades away and all is right with the world.