Today I did something that one year ago would have seemed impossible. I ran & walked a 5k in 46min & 47sec! That’s faster than any of my treadmill training runs! I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the time clock at the finish line.
I entered the Big Bubba’s 5k Dash on the advice of a consultant at the YMCA. It seemed like a great opportunity to practice running outside and get an idea of what a race is actually like before my big memorial race in Austin. Plus the proceeds go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and I love the idea of helping kids. So I registered thinking, “Even if I just walk it, it will be good practice.”
I kept playing it down, thinking this would just be another workout for me, so I was a bit taken aback to find that this became an extremely emotional event.
My initial strategy was to try alternating 5 min runs and walks like I’ve done on the treadmill, but I quickly realized that trying to time each interval with my iPhone on my bicep was going to be too challenging. So I chose to run from the start at least to the end of the first (long) song on my playlist. After that, I kept up a very quick walking pace and just ran all the downhill stretches since this was a pretty hilly course. After about the second hill, I was cursing the treadmill – that evil, lying…well, you know. But then I found another runner to follow who was taking the downhills at a similar clip and walking in between, and that got me through the first half. I lost her just after I sprinted to the halfway mark.
A HUGE shout-out to the folks in the Indian Lake area for their warm wishes as we pounded the pavement through their neighborhoods. They were great!
As I reached one of the “cheering stations,” a large man said to me, “You’re doing great. I’d be walking,too, and not near as fast as you.” I appreciated his words, but inside I said to myself, “But I’m a runner, so I’m gonna run.” And I ran a little more. Each time I thought of just taking it easy the rest of the way, I thought about how far I’ve come. Before I knew it I was rounding on Hendersonville High School, and then at the final push, I heard someone say, “Just 200 more feet!” As I sprinted toward the finish line, I couldn’t believe I was doing this. I saw those numbers on the clock, and broke into a huge smile.
And then I ran under that blue FINISH arch and yelled, “THIS IS FOR JOEY JELLO!!!!!”
…and then I burst into tears. Because I realized that I’m better than I’ve ever been, and better than I even thought I was, and that Joey would be SO proud of what I have accomplished. It’s the proudest I think I’ve ever been of myself, and it’s just the beginning! I don’t know if he saw me today, but if he could, I know my brother was saying, “She did it! Sarah did it!”
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