#19- My First 5K: Woodstock 2012

(Me before the race)
Much too early on a ridiculously humid August morning, 1290 people gathered on Woodstock Avenue in Anniston, Alabama, for the 2012 Woodstock 5K. I was one of them.

It was so hot, I felt sweat dripping down my back before I even got in line behind the starting point. But I didn't let it deter me. Old Jennifer would have said, This is insane. It's way too hot out here. I'll never make it. I'll have a heat stroke. There's a good chance she would have talked herself out of it, choosing to find a seat in the shade, pop a squat, and just observe from a comfortable distance, half-heartedly promising to try again when it's cooler outside.

Instead, I went on with enthusiasm. I'd been training in an overheated gym for months. I'd already been to an outdoor training run and tested out the course in mid-July. I was ready.

Excitement filled the air. The other runners and walkers alongside me brimmed with positivity and kick-butt attitudes. When the announcer started the countdown and sounded the air horn, I had this crazy rush of energy that flowed throughout my entire body, propelling me forward at top speed.

Of course, that initial fire fizzled after a few minutes. I am still seventy pounds overweight, after all. I couldn't go as fast as I really wanted to. But I didn't quit. I didn't even think about it. I pushed myself harder than I ever have, forcing myself to run on, tackle the hills, just move forward.

That wild energy rush did at last return when I saw the finish line up ahead. I kicked it up about ten notches. Sprinted forward. Gasping for breath, I flung my jiggly, bumbling girth across the finish line at 46 minutes and 23 seconds. That's an unimpressive time to anyone else, but I was thrilled; I seriously beat my time at the training run, which was 52 minutes 5 seconds. I placed 51 out of 54 in the 20-24 age group (I wasn't last!), and my overall place was 1109 of 1290. Again, not last!

When it was all over, I could have cried. Actually, I'm pretty sure I did cry at some point. I was just so stinking proud of myself. For the first time in a very long time, I actually did something that I, and only I, wanted myself to do. I didn't let any external factors demotivate me. I just pressed on, all the way to the finish line.

(My friend and seasoned runner, Angie, and me after the race, the finish line in the background)
So. Here's a few things I did (right or wrong, I don't know) that I believe helped me prepare for the event.

1) Refrained from exercise the day before.

2) Drank tons of water throughout the day before.

3) Had a light, healthy breakfast (1 banana with peanut butter, 1 cup of orange juice) the morning of.

4) Stretched right before the race.

5) Prayed, asking God for strength and endurance, and thanking Him for the opportunity and the fact that I had been bold enough to seize it.

I think I'm addicted now. I will definitely be running another one of these in the near future.

1 comment

Jessica said...

Yay! So proud of us for actually doing it! Can't wait for the next one.