Today, we ran the Turkey Trot, my mom, folks from my gym, and I. A handful of them ran the 10k, and another handful and my mom and I ran the 5k. I surprised myself.
Of course, it was pouring rain off and on for the start of both runs, but cleared up fully just as the 5k started (at least, until an hour and a half later, when it wasn’t too relevant anymore). I had my running rain jacket on until the start of our run, at which point, as the skies looked clear and the rain had stopped, I tied it around my waist. An annoying appendage for a whole 5k, but it was worth it for keeping my body and hair and clothes mostly dry before the run.
My shoes ended up soaked, but not until about a third of the way into the run.
I pushed myself, and very much so. I have not trained with running, of course, so I had no idea how fast I could go. My ankle bone was out of place only five weeks ago, and has felt still a bit wonky this past month, so I haven’t really been running even in the workouts at the gym lately, and those are just 200-800m runs. And yet, here I was, prepared to walk, if at any point my foot/ankle needed it, running a 5k and giving it my best.
At just about halfway, one of the girls from my gym popped up next to me, calling me a smokes something or other. I, too, had expected her to be far ahead of me, and I had been keeping an eye out ahead for her, just in case I might be able to catch up to her. But she had been behind me for the first mile and a half. From then onward, though, we ran together. Apparently, my presence alone pushed her. Her pace thereby challenged me. And I, even aloud, gave a, “F***ing S—-,” in regards to our gym owner and programmer. He makes some amazing get amazingly challenging programming, and he is always challenging us to push ourselves. Always safely, but truly. And this morning, he was stuck in my head. I felt like a little kid who wanted to make his teacher proud, planning to tell him just how much I had stayed on top of myself to keep it up, lift up my legs more, take longer strides, breathe deeply, and crush it.
And, in multiple ways, I did. He always says that, it we’re throwing up, we’re doing it wrong. So, I limited myself there this morning – I was getting very close to my body’s demanding a vomit, and so shared that with the girl, just to let her know that I might not be able to stay with her. I only got a few meters behind her on the final quarter-mile stretch, finishing only a couple seconds after she finished (which, oddly, was finishing my race a few seconds faster than she had hers, as I began behind her at the start). Regarding results, I looked it up. Had I done the timed race, I would have been ninth in my gender-age category. And that is really cool. What’s most important to me about it all is that, by pushing myself and keeping on top of it and letting go over and over and over again if my mental strains, I ended up getting, without any running practice in the recent past, my fastest 5k time ever. And my EVEN 8:20 splits (8:21, 8:29, and 8:23 to be exact) we’re not only the fastest I’ve gone on a 5k, but the second fastest mile time I’ve had period.
Basically, it was really cool.
After the run, I grabbed some cookies and bananas, and rushed to the kids’ 1k run to see my nephew and nieces finish their run (if they were even there, which they turned out to be, since the rain had cleared up). I didn’t see them run, but I did see them all just after they crossed the finish line, and the point was for them to feel supported, which they did. So, when, upon surprising them with my presence, I congratulated them and offered them cookies and then a banana, too, I think their days were made.
Anyway, the whole affair certainly made my day. And running into two of my old students made it extra-special. My legs are sore, especially my lower thighs. They can really feel my lack of running, I suppose, though they were clearly able to take it, thanks to all the programming at our gym. Hopefully, they’ll feel okay tomorrow!
Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving, folks. I grateful for all, and I send out my love to you, whoever you are, whenever and wherever you are. May God continue to bless us all. Amen.
P.S. On the dating app, sometimes guys say that their personal hell is families who do 5ks on holidays. I suppose one for me would be families who don’t. I am grateful for my blood family and my gym family. We were a dream team this morning, k-ing on a holiday, even in the pouring rain. Thank you, God, for these families of mine.