Sunday, October 12, 2014 think you want to quit?

On my way 41 degrees

Entering park - beautiful!
Last Saturday was my third race.  It was dark, it was cold, my pets were snuggling and the bed was cozy.  I checked the outside temperature, 41 degrees....'you don't have to do this you know', 'you can crawl right back under the covers and relax'.  'But I feel so great after a run', 'I feel so proud', 'I feel strong, confident and accomplished'.  'Besides, you never have to do it, you GET to do it, and you are one lucky gal to have that privilege!'  'Now, get off your ass and go have some fun!  Besides, next week is downtown and if you are going to skip a race, save it for that one!'

Water's edge pre-race - Brrrrrrr
Okay, I went.  I was so happy I did.  It was bitterly cold on the water's edge where we all met before the race, but once we moved from there to the start, it was fine.  Once moving even better.  I had done this route so many times before, I could do it in my sleep.  I knew when the inclines were coming and when to take advantage of the downhills.

It was a nice race.  I had a great time and felt wonderful throughout most of the run.  And the fact that it was for a good cause was gravy.  This was my best time yet!  Was I ever glad I made myself get to go ;)
Post race - It was a beautiful day!

I was happy to have the added warmth of this shirt!
Fast forward to yesterday morning.  Again, it was cold, 43 degrees, and this race was downtown.  I have never liked messing with downtown races, parking and traffic.  I knew I had banked a 'skip this race', (whatever that meant), so stayed in bed for a while thinking.  I hadn't even set the alarm I was that certain I was going to 'skip this race'.

The morning's mental conversation went a little something like this:
I am so wide awake.  I don't want to go.  Why not?  I hate messing with downtown traffic and parking.  But you know this part of downtown like the back of your hand.  Check the website.  Easy park, free park, close walk, what's the problem?  I don't know.  Don't wanna. Why not?  It's cold. You're not even a tiny bit tired.  You are going to be so grumpy and antsy if you stay in bed.  It is a nice flat route.  It would be nice to run a level race. Wouldn't it?  And maybe you could beat your last run.  This was the first race you ever did a few years back, you ran it for your 'Poppy' since he had recently passed away.  Aren't you lucky you're able to do this?  A couple hours from now, you are going to feel like crap when you know you would have been done and speculate on what might have been.  You still need to run later today and it might not get any warmer.  Get up, go to the bathroom, get moving.  Okay, here's the deal, I'll get on the scale and if it is in the 2-teens, I'll go to the race.  I got up, got on the scale.  It was in the 2-teens.  A deal is a deal.

Pulling up the new running pants I had purchased the day before in anticipation of the cooler running weather, I smiled to myself thinking, yep, a deal is a deal.  I couldn't believe that actually worked. Laced up the shoes, took care of the furballs, gathered my last minute items and headed out the door.

What a gorgeous day!
I knew exactly where I was going, although it had been some time since I had used this route.  After several detours, u-turns, and finally resorting to my navigator, I arrived.  I was so excited. Everything was set up and there was a great turnout.  As I neared the canal where all the excitement was, I could hear the music and started getting pretty amped.  I did feel really well.  I felt strong and there seemed to be a bounce in my step.  I headed to packet pick-up and donned my bib and timer, but wanted to take the t-shirt back to the car, I also wanted to grab the cell and take some photos before the run.  I decided it was too much to try and carry it through the run, so headed back to the car again to put away the phone.  My steps felt so light and springy.  Yay!  There were two minutes left before the race started.  I headed over and ran into a couple of girls that had run a race with me two weeks ago.  We chatted for a moment before I headed toward the back of the group.

A nice turn out pre-race

Our great DJ
I had forgotten this was a walk/run 5K, so spent the better part of the first quarter mile weaving in and out of the walkers, but once I had maneuvered into a good spot, I settled into a nice and comfortable pace.  This felt so much better than the first time I had run it.  I wasn't nervous, I was having fun, I felt strong and confident and was whooting and giving high fives as we passed the volunteers.  We circled a block or so before heading into the downhill to the canal.  I hadn't remembered there was a downhill here, I was psyched!  I was running much faster than normal anyway, but when I hit the hill, I was able to open my stride wider than usual, and I increased my pace as well.  Leaning into it, I hit that nirvana running moment, how perfect.  It makes me smile now to remember that feeling.  You feel you can fly, feet light, body light, fast, free, forever.  It was a wonderful way to start a race I almost quit before I started.

North end of canal - The finish wraps up to the left of and behind the tree in the left middle of the photograph

Things went well that first mile, then something changed.  I don't know if we were on a slight incline or not, my body usually feels it before my eyes see it, but something was different.  I knew I wasn't going downhill right now, so being accustomed to adjusting my pace, I slowed a little, and tightened the stride again until finding my regular pace.  I had moments where I felt fine and steady, but from that second mile and to the finish, most every step was hard fought for.  There were times when I thought my body was going to stop on me, but I didn't want to have to try to run again after a walk, that was much harder, better to keep running than stop.  I might not be able to start again at all.  I don't want to walk.  Keep going!  I kept going.  I plodded along miserably with a few steady moments sprinkled throughout, but they were very few and far between.  Finally, I saw the turn heading into the finish.  Normally at every race, with one other exception, I sprint into the finish, but this time, my feet felt so heavy, I was concerned I might drag them over the blue rugs and get tangled in the cords and fall flat on my face!  I barely heard or saw anyone as I came across that finish, barely able to lift my feet, I struggled across the first, then the second, third and fourth mats.  I MADE IT!  Wow!  Am I whipped!  I MADE IT!  Catching my breath, I went to the volunteer table and picked up some water, the volunteers were being very supportive, I weakly chirped out my thank you for volunteering before wandering off to find a place to sit and recover.  I came to the breakfast setup before finding a seat, so fixed a plate of cut fresh fruit and wandered over to sit down.  Once I recovered, I was smiling both inside and out and enjoying visiting with the people next to me.

Race goodies
This was one of the best races of the four.  While I had achieved and thoroughly enjoyed that special runner's high during my first mile, it was not my strongest, nor my most enjoyable race, quite the opposite.  It was hard fought, it was painful, I struggled, in fact, I hadn't even wanted to go.  I wanted to quit several times during the race and I wanted to quit before I started, but I didn't.  I MADE IT!!    I conquered this beast and still came in under 45 minutes, much to my amazement!

The more difficult something is for you to accomplish, the more rewarding it is when you succeed.  I am so proud of myself for completing all four races.  Every Saturday morning for four weeks in a row, I got up early and went to my races.  I completed my races and am that much stronger for it.  

So, if you think you want to quit, think again.  You deserve this.  You are not only able to do this, you WILL do this.  You GET to do this!!



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