I can't believe how much I let get to me the Mint City 10 mile race that I signed up for. The day before the race, I probably peed at least 40 times. I had to call a friend just to have a smack upside my head to "center" me back to reality. There is really no words to describe how I felt that morning of the race. I was scared, excited, humbled, you name it. It was wonderful to see all shapes and sizes of people there. We all had one thing in common: to do the race and finish it. Some were walkers, some were runners and some were both. My personal goal was to run it, not stop at all and finish it. I knew I could do it but I am so used to running by myself and knew it would be different with other people around me.
It was rather humid that morning. I was just happy that it wasn't rainy. I got there around 15-20 minutes before. Seen a couple people I knew and got a couple "Good Lucks". I did my stretching and then of course, looked up to heaven before the race started and said one last plea to God...please let me do this! And then we started off. It was almost claustrophobic feeling at first. I don't like trying to start my run with wall to wall people. Thank God, that didn't last long.
As usual, I had a lot of time to think and pray during that time. I wanted to treat this race as if I was just out running like I do every morning. I tried to zone out what other people were doing and act like I was the only one out there. For the most part, I did do that. I caught myself finding people to run "against." I didn't want to do that, it just happened. I think that is a normal thing to do...to feel a bit competitive when you are put in that environment.
Every mile marker that I hit, I did my little "Yeah baby" move! I'm sure other people thought I was nuts but I didn't care. I was going to enjoy that race to the fullest. I got to the halfway point and seen the big "time" board and it showed me that I was right on the mark for what I normally run 10 miles in. I even found someone to talk to for just a few minutes, which is not something easily done when running. I noticed for the most part, the people that ran near me finished near me.
I didn't have any trouble until around mile mark 8 and it wasn't anything bad, I just had side pains. But since I'm used to ignoring pain, I ran through it. I had to laugh...there was a person on the side of the road and said to me, "Everything is downhill from here, you can do it" and I replied back, "Um, Morton St. hill goes uphill." Not that I was going to worry about that...I ran that hill 5 days a week. I wasn't about ready to have that hill conquer me! At that point, there was the end in sight.
I was pushing myself to the brink and I knew it, but I also knew I was almost done. The only thing I could think about is how I was going to feel when I crossed that finish line. I envisioned it would be just me running normal and no hoopla. But I could hear the cheers of the other runners finishing and knew by the then it would be different. There was maybe a couple of people there that knew what I was about to accomplish but for the most part, it was just a personal moment for me and no one else.
I got near the end and there was this lady that had been going back and forth with me. She was "the one". The one that I picked to beat. It sounds bad of me but I needed to do that. She was just entering the finish area and so was I. I saw a friend of mine/fellow runner and he said "Sprint Monica" and so I did! I sprinted across that line with as much of a smile on my face that I could muster being that I almost felt like I was dying! At that point there were no thoughts/feelings other than "Please God, don't let me puke."
I was gagging at that point but got that to stop. I walked over to the food area and grab a 1/2 banana and a water and went and layed down on the ground. I put the towel over my face and the tears started flowing, No one knew I was crying. It's hard to explain into words how I felt at that moment. I did something that I haven't did in over 27 years. I ran a race and not just any race that I was used to from Cross Country in High School. I ran 10 miles. If you would've told me two and half years ago that I could run that far, I would've laughed. No way would a 258 lb. woman be able to run 10 miles, just no way that could happen.
I finished that race in 1 hr.35 minutes and 49.6 seconds. I placed 8 out of 15 ladies in my age group. I finished 130th overall out of 219 people, I think! My pace was 9:35 a mile. I was happy with how well I did. But even more than that, I was happy that I ACCOMPLISHED A GOAL THAT I SET OUT TO DO! I have been trying to get to goal weight for over 2 1/2 years and that is still very important to me but the one thing this race showed me is that I CAN AND WILL DO JUST THAT!
"One part at a time, one day at a time, we can accomplish any goal we set for ourselves."
Karen Casey, from Achievement of a Life Goal