Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sunsets at Pier 60 5K

Earlier this week I said in a blog post that I wanted to do a 5K run last night on Clearwater Beach on the sand.  Yesterday was a very busy and draining day.  When I got home about 4:00 after being gone since 8, I was tired and said I’d just skip it.  Then I saw that a friend liked the link I put on Facebook to my blog post.  Oh great.  Now I’m sort of being held accountable.  I asked if my mom and dad wanted to go and they said they would so they, my daughter, and I headed to Clearwater Beach (I was getting excited!) where I registered.  I had been thinking that I wouldn’t bother paying the extra $5 to get a T-shirt because I haven’t worn the shirts I got for the other two races I’ve done.  Why bother this time?  When I got there, though, I decided it was about pride (the good kind), not just a piece of clothing so I got a shirt.  Just an XL, not a 2X or 3X like I would’ve had to get a couple years ago!  A few minutes later when I showed it to my family my daughter said, “That looks like it’ll be too big on you.”  J  I love that girl!  It’s a tech shirt that wicks sweat away from my body to keep me cooler, not just a regular T-shirt.  I didn’t wear it because I didn’t want to get it sweaty right off the bat.  Besides, it’s a very bright yellowish orange and that’s not my favorite color. 

Anyway, I warmed up, sent some texts to a few people letting them know I was running a race again, and then headed to the start line.  The race started under Pier 60 and went 1-1/2 miles north before turning around and heading back.  We ran on the packed sand close to the water, not the loose sand farther up the beach.   

As I stood at the starting line for a couple minutes the excitement started building.  I saw someone from the www.fitnessinfusiononline boot camp I used to attend but haven’t been able to because of a knee injury in January and we encouraged each other.  The race started and I told myself, “You’re running a race!  You’re running a race!  You’re running a race!”  I could tell I was running a little faster than usual, but that’s because I was so happy to just be running with other people in an official race.  My plan at home lately had been to run for about 6 minutes then walk for about 2 or 3 before running again.  This time I decided to run for 7 and walk for 2.  When the initial excitement wore off I decided to look at my watch to see how far I had come and how long I had to run before I could walk.  It had only been 50 seconds.  WHAT??? 
♫“Keep running, and I will knock down that wall.  ♫Keep running, and I am not gonna fall!  It’s plain to see my God is very big, so keep running, I will be knocking down that wall.”♫  (That’s the little song I sing to myself with apologies to Veggie Tales.  It’s from Josh and the Big Wall.)   
Then the discouraging voice in my head started.  As people started passing me the voice said, “You’re running alone.  There’s no one running with you to encourage you.  You're alone.  There are only 3 people even here with you.  You’re alone.  You’re alone.  Just like in life.  You’re alone.”  I told the voice to shut up.  Really. 

Have I run 7 minutes yet?  Nope.  Keep running. 
Finally I did hit the 7-minute mark and walked for 2.  Then I ran for 7 more minutes.  At 12:12 into the race the first runner heading back toward the finish line passed me.  At 13:30 the first woman heading back toward the finish line passed me. 

Keep running. 
I began to look ahead and set goals for myself.  I would run to that house before I checked my watch to see how far I had to go.  Or that sign.  Or that group of people. 

I noticed that no one was passing me from behind anymore.  They already had.  At least there were some other people walking; I wasn’t the only one.  That helped a little bit. 
Keep running.  Run for 7 minutes then walk for 2.  Run for 7 minutes then walk for 2.  I reached the 1-1/2-mile point, the turnaround, and the water station.  I don’t normally drink anything while running, but I wasn’t used to running this much, so I figured I’d get a cup and see how I felt.  I took one drink.  That was enough.  Half way done!  Woohoo! 

I love to run in the rain as long as there’s no thunder or lightning. 

Early yesterday morning it was raining hard and I would’ve loved to run except I hadn’t planned to because of my busy day and because I had just gotten out of the shower.  As I headed back toward the finish line, though, I felt a drop on my lip.  Was it raining?  Then another.  And another.  Just a very light sprinkle for a minute or so, but it was God saying, “I know you like to run in the rain, so here’s a little bit for you.  J 
I kept doing my 7 then 2 regimen.  At one point I looked up and saw the pier.  The finish line! 

It was then that I realized I’d been looking down at the sand a lot.  In running, just like in life, it can get discouraging when you look down.  You need to look up to see where you’re going and around to enjoy the scenery or you just might quit. 

I realized on the last 2-minute walk that if I kept up the 7 then 2 plan I might very well be walking across the finish line.  That just wouldn’t do!  So I ended up running 9 minutes at the end.  I crossed the finish line at 44:52, slower than my other two races but I walked 8 minutes of this one, I’ve been recovering from a knee injury, and I’ve only been running at all again for a couple weeks.  I was happy to just be able to do it, period!