So a year ago, I weighed 214lbs. Today I weigh 162, that's 52lbs gone. For any who are wondering, I am 5'7.
A year ago I couldn't run half a mile without keeling over and gasping for breath. Today I run 20-25 miles a week and I have a goal. A goal to run 26.2 miles at the end at the Seattle Rock and Roll marathon on June 26th 2010.
Today I completed my first mile-marker. I ran a 10k. I know its not very far, in fact it is a distance I have run before, but it was my first race. My first time velcroing a timing chip to my ankle and pining on a bib. My first time lining up at the start line and waiting, jumping up an down nervously for the clock to count down. My first time running a set 6.1 mile (10k) course (I know I said I've run 6 miles before, and I kind of have, but I measured the distance by driving the route with my car, I know I need to invest in a Garmin, and I don't run with a watch so I only have a vague idea of exactly how long it takes me to run a 10k distance).
I had a goal, my goal was to finish in an hour, just under a 10 minute mile for the whole race. Not very fast for most people, I know, but for me. For me who a year ago could barley run a 14 minute mile... It's huge.
So I got up this morning, at seven am, had some Irish soda bread toast with almond butter and honey (my favorite pre-run meal in the world), got dressed, stopped by Starbucks because lets face it I can't handle a day without caffeine, and walked over to the UBC student rec center where the race started. It was cold, windy, and raining, but my entire body was bubbling with excitement. This was the beginning, if I could get through this I could get through a half marathon... and theoretically if I can get through a half marathon then that marathon I want to run in June should be possible. Typical me, we arrived before the 10k check in even began, so we waited around, then picked up my bib and timing chip, and then sat down at a table to wait for the next 45 minutes or so. To his credit my boyfriend complained minimally about the amount of sleep he lost thanks to my obsessive, must-be-on-time nature.
I made two bathroom trips because the idea of having to go during the race made me nervous, and finally headed out of the warm gym to the start line, said bye to my boyfriend who headed out with the camera to key race points, and silently cursed myself for not grabbing a watch before leaving the house. Sure, I never run with one, but I don't usually have a time goal in mind whereas this time... This time I really really wanted to finish in an hour. I figured I could ask someone somewhere along the way, and then the clock ran out and the race started.
I started too fast, that much I knew, and as we headed over the first hill to the other side of campus I told myself to SLOW DOWN, to stop being so damn competitive and let the faster, fitter runners get ahead of me. It was ok, this was my first 10k, they were probably aiming to finish in 40 minutes or less, I was aiming for an hour.
The weather sucked, and my ipod shuffle headphones got waterlogged quickly which resulted in the voice over going on sporadically and random skips in my music. I was glad for the free throwaway gloves they handed out before the start. I threw them off at around the 3k mark, but they helped keep me warm until my body had warmed up enough to make them unnecessary.
Honestly I didn't think I'd make my time goal. I really really didn't. The middle of the race felt hard, I was fighting wind and rain and my legs didn't feel as powerful as they sometimes do. Furthermore I kept getting side cramps along my right side, not super painful ones, but annoying. At the turn around I said to myself, allright then, lets just finish this, hopefully it will be under 1:10, and at least I'll have completed it, we can look at what went wrong later. At around 7k I saw the boy standing there, soaking wet, smiling with the camera, I gave him a smile and a wave and dug in. At 8k I told myself I had less than a mile in a half left to go. I would finish, and I stared wondering if maybe I would make my time goal.
There were after all other 10k runners still besides me, and what's more, there were a fair amount of half-marathoners around me, glancing nervously at their watches in a way that told me they were trying for sub two-hour finishes, so at 9k I decided to give it my all. I picked up the pace down main mall to university boulevard, and then as I turned onto west mall, the last bit of the race, I was next two this couple, the girl was I think running her first half and the guy was telling her to give it everything she had, that this was it. I decided to listen to his advice and took off, my legs moving faster than I think they ever had before, and as I turned the corner and saw the finish line clock I just about passed out, it read 59:55, I ran even harder and made it in 1:00:06 (I don't have the official time off my chip yet as we left before they started posting them, and I know it took me about 5-15 seconds to get across the start line as I was back a bit in the crowd). I had done it, I had finished my first 10k in more or less exactly an hour. I was absolutely elated. I didn't think I'd care much about the time. I thought I'd be more excited about having finished my first real race, but I felt so incredibly proud of myself for finishing on goal. I got hugs from my boyfriend, his mom and the dog who had come out to the finish line to cheer me on, I couldn't stop smiling and repeating over and over again that I had done it. Because honestly I didn't think I would.
So this is just the beginning, now I look towards half marathon training and then towards a marathon, but I know I can do it. I know I can push, I know I can accomplish the weight loss goals (140) and the running goals I have set for myself. Although I started running to help with my weight loss, it has grown into something else completely. I have, as so many other have, fallen in love with the simplicity of it, the one step after the other, lose yourself in the moment, feeling of running and I don't know why I used to hate it so much, because I did hate it. I was that kid in PE who would lag at the back when we were told to run the mile. I was the one who hated soccer and basketball and all team sports because they involved so much running... and its amazing how much that has all changed.