This morning I woke up before the birds. The sun was just rising, battling the thick layer of clouds that hovered above, as I fought off the grogginess that ensued. I threw on my running clothes, laced up my shoes, and headed out the door.
After weeks of battling the dreaded treadmill, who was winning…at least in my opinion, I was finally headed out doors to take part in my first race of the season, The St. Patty’s Day 5K in Lincoln Park. I absolutely love running in the city…the enthusiasm of the other runners, the views along the lake, the encouragement that is so freely offered by many along the way. My stomach was filled with butterflies as I headed toward the starting line and doubt began filling my mind… “Your leg has been bothering you. “You’re 5k time on the treadmill has NOT been good.” You’re too slow.” “I bet you’ll have to walk.” “You’re not ready…” I am my own worst critic.
I stuck in my head phones and took a deep breath and started walking towards the starting line from my corral waaaaaaaaaaay in the back. Battling ice, melting snow, mud, and layers of wet sand, I found my groove, hitting my stride shortly after making my way across the starting line. My breathing was easy…my legs carried me strongly…and before I knew it I was passing the first mile…and than the second. As I hit the hilly part of the course and my breathing became labored and my legs began to burn, a fellow runner, who was on his way back, yelled out,” Keep going! You’re turn around point is just ahead… you’ve got this!” And instead of stopping and walking, like I probably would have done, I kept going, and going, and going…
As I headed towards the finish line battling my way through the thick mud that coated the ground and clung heavily to my running shoes, my breathing quickened and my pace sped up. Eyes forward, I made my way through the last quarter mile and crossed that finish line.
As my eyes darted down to my phone, eager to see my pace, although dreading it at the same time (my last 5K time…eeek!), I couldn’t believe what I saw. Not only did I beat my last 5K time, but also all of my 5k treadmill times…by several minutes! I could not have been happier.
Today, I proved to myself that I am stronger than I give myself credit for… that I can do this! At least that is what my runner’s high is telling me today! 🙂