A few minutes after 10 a.m. Saturday, I crossed the mat on North Shore Drive, set to run for 3.1 miles.
Thirty-six minutes and fifty-two seconds later, I was done. Tired. And awfully happy.
I was really concerned about my pace at first — I was pretty keyed up and didn’t want to start too fast and run myself out before I finished. But Kelly and Pam kept me at a reasonable pace, and after almost a mile I felt pretty good. By the time we got to the halfway point, I was feeling great, and it apparently showed — Kelly said we were running just over a 10-minute pace, which is ridculously fast for me. That was a little hard to maintain as we ran back towards the stadiums on the trail because of the crowd.
And it got harder when we turned up towards the finish line. The course was almost dead flat, with two exceptions: a little downhill slope after we veered onto River Avenue and back at the science center, where I completely forgot that we’d have to head up a short, steep hill to get back to North Shore Drive. Ouch. It wasn’t much of a hill, but it was a killer at that point. I give Kelly all the credit in the world for letting me know how much was left and gently nudging me to keep up a decent pace.
Seeing the finish line was a relief. Seeing Sara, who walked over from her apartment to watch, was a boost.
And crossing the line with Kelly and Pam? Awesome.
We grabbed some drinks and I headed back to the finish, where I found Emily just in time for the two of us to watch Mrs. Crappy, who ran more of the 5K than she walked, cross the finish line.
I did it. And I’m ready to do it again.
I didn’t do this by myself, though. As I’ve said before, the thing that kept me from quitting this time was asking for help from my friends. You guys did that, on Twitter, on Daily Mile and whenever we saw each other in the last two months. That’s the one thing that made all the difference this time around.
I have to thank the people who came out — or tried to — on Saturday. The morning was kind of a mess, and there were a few people I didn’t even see before, during or after the race — but I really appreciate the fact that you were there.
Pam and Kristen — our neighbor who until just a few weeks ago knew me only from reading this blog — get special thanks for running with me the whole way. Kristen — and Roxy, the honey-brown dog I met on California Avenue a while back — came out to run with a bunch of people she had never met; Pam has been one of my biggest Daily Mile supporters, and having her there meant a lot.
You may have heard me mention my coaching staff occasionally in the last couple months. Kelly and Emily are two-thirds of that staff, and they have been amazing. Both have patiently answered an unending stream of stupid questions; both cheered for me nearly every time I finished a C25K workout. And they were both there on Saturday — Kelly ran with me every step, and Em was cheering at the finish. It it not an exaggeration to say I could not have done this without these two, and I am so grateful for both of them.
And I am most proud of the third member of my coaching staff. Mrs. Crappy has had the never-ending #deathcold in the weeks leading up to Saturday; that meant she really got to run only twice in the two months leading up to the race, and despite that, she ran more than half of the course. If you know her as I do, that’s not a surprise. You know she’s stubborn as hell; you also know she’s really good at this. When she was running years ago, I was always impressed with her steady pace that she could keep up for miles and miles. She also used to pester me about running; because I am nearly as stubborn as she is, I never listened — until now.
Honey, you were right. Thank you.