Monday, October 15, 2007


I DID IT! I RAN my first 5K at the Candler Park Fallfest on Saturday morning. It was probably the hardest thing I've ever done next to giving birth, and at least with giving birth I didn't have to wrestle with the choice of whether or not to give up. Getting up and walking out wasn't exactly an option then!

First of all, I was ridiculously nervous. I've been trying to figure out why, I really seem to be making strides in my fear of people watching me run so that wasn't it. I think I was just so afraid I was going to fail myself that my heart was pretty much racing from the moment I arrived (almost an hour before the race started) until I finished. The constant nerves and adrenalin made it really challenging to regulate my breathing and heart rate so I don't think I ever hit my stride exactly as I hoped to.

I really tried to start off very very slowly, and the beginning of the course was the flattest section (and whose idea was THAT?) but even so I spent the entire 40 minutes mentally wrestling with myself and trying to trick myself into continuing. The weather was gorgeous, it was nice and cool (50's?) and sunny. Even though it wasn't hot though I still wasn't crazy about running in the sun, and there were lots of hills throughout the last two thirds of the course so between urging myself "just to top of this hill" and "just to that next spot of shade" I kept going. I gave myself permission to reevaluate and decide whether to start walking as I reached each of those mini goals and of course everytime I crested a hill or got out of the sun I automatically felt better so I'd go on to the next hill or the next shadeless stretch.

The mile markers were not my friend! Operation Bootcamp had kindly provided them but when I saw the 1 Mile Marker in the distance I really thought I'd already run a mile and a half so it was kind of crushing to know that I wasn't even a third when I thought I was halfway. That may have been the closest I came to actually walking. As always I was very slow and methodical, I know some walkers finished before me, and I kept passing and being passed by the same groups who were alternating walking and jogging.

The worst two hills were in the last half mile I think, or maybe they just seemed worse because they were in the last half mile, but either way, they sucked. My "jog" at that point was little more than a shuffling bounce but it WASN'T walking! And as I crested that last hill and knew the finish line was downhill and just around a corner I was able to put on a decent show of finishing strong. Unfortunately my husband and son had gotten turned around and were waiting for me by the main stage instead of at the finish line so I was kind of bummed they weren't there to see (or photograph) my finish. There were lots of bootcampers encouraging me though, througout the route and at the finish which was nice.

My time was 40:09. So I wasn't running 12 minute miles like in my final PT test, but I was doing better than 15 minute miles so I'm happy with that. I had really just hoped to beat 45 minutes so I did better than I thought I would.

So the picture above is at the Operation Bootcamp booth after the race with Instructor Tim (and Chase!), who, along with other instructors and bootcampers, has been instrumental in seeing me come so FAR in such a short amount of time. I am fundamentally a different person than the one who almost lost her nerve about signing up for bootcamp in the first place.

On Sunday I came back and volunteered at the booth for a few hours and got to talk to some folks who were thinking about signing up. Encouragement feeds encouragement. Operation Bootcamp has shown me that I CAN save myself from myself. I'm no longer resigning myself to something less than the best life I can envision.

HEADS UP! There is a preview workout at 5:45 am tomorrow morning (Tuesday) at Candler Park for anyone thinking about trying Bootcamp. This is a chance to test the waters and get past some of the automatic intimidation factor before committing to a full camp. I'll be there and so will some really cool and fun instructors. Let me know if you want more information!

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