True winning is winning against yourself: so says my mom's favorite Japanese adage. Well I won. Dear Husband and I ran our 5K today - the South Whidbey Chum Run. It has come at the end of a crazy busy week so it was a marathon just getting there.
We got to the check in and were immediate immersed in a sea of swarming fit people. Alarmingly fit people, who were all smiling and walked by with bounces in their steps and the songs in their hearts practically pouring from their ears.
Dear Husband and I received our numbers and being a race newbie I ripped off the perforated tag on the bottom. Noticing that every one of the other bouncy people still had their on their race numbers I shrugged and compounded my error by throwing the tag away.
Everyone lined up and some cheerful young kid from the local track team made everyone do a pre-race dance. The horror. The horror. I just wanted to get this going already. I saw athletic friends who run it every year and grimaced at them. At last we began and I started my run mix so I could catch my pace. Holey Moley! we were running across the grass. It was so bouncy and soft that I could barely run on it. I just want to run on sweet sweet asphalt. I fell to the back of the pack right away.
Into the woods we went and immediately started up a hill. The story of my life. Still, we were off turf and that was a blessing untold. Hills oh the hills we kept climbing! I kept my pace and was beginning to feel the first on set of whinyness. This is the true runner's wall. Your neck aches, your side gets a stitch, your mouth goes dry and the inner critic begins. "Well just like school you're dead last - there goes the chubby girl running." I remind myself that this is a "fun" run and the point is to finish. Then the three year old passes me.
I remember the three year old. He has been looping his mother in long parabolic arcs and then demands to be picked up. His mother picks him up and manages to run a few steps and then sets him back down and he begins his orbit again. Yeah - that's passing me.
Keep on trucking. Look at the tree roots spray painted so you will not trip over them. Keep running. Ignore the friction on your inner thighs because you forgot your running tights. Try to block the mental picture of your blinding white legs shown in all their glory. Up hill around the tree. Keep going. Then the grandmas pass me.
Two grandmas, half running half speed walking, pass me on an incline. They haven't broke a sweat and are chatting as I labor on. Onward I go - all that matters is finishing.
I pass grandmas as they walk. I pass three year old and mom. I pass frisbee golfers. Wait - What!? The run is headed back down towards the park and I cross a party of frisbee golfers irritated that a slow fat (although not as fat as before I began this exercise thing) woman is running into the flight path of hole 6.
I am dressed all in blue and have a mental picture of Violet Beauregard being rolled away by Oompa Loompas. Focus! Focus! I see my mom and sister waving. I am lapped by athletic people on their second loop and headed for the finish line. 1, 2, 3 they thunder past me as I keep at it. 7,8,9 there go some more. I have not yet been lapped by anyone I know. This is good. I turn the corner and a large sign says finish ----> and a larger one says lap 2 --------> . I am cheered until I hit the lap two lane.
Us stragglers need extra cheering. I think if you are in the last 10 runners in anything you should get your own personal cheering section. Back to the turf. Yikes! Back to the trail. I am still way far behind but I pass a few people who have not paced themselves and are doing a lot of walking now.
I have a feel for the trail now and am repeating on my running mix. When I hit the sign that tells me I am 2/3 through I am so happy. I feel alarmingly flushed but I still have plenty of wind. The last 1/3 of the race seems to go by quickly. I enter the finish corridor and run for everything I am worth. 48:32