The day had arrived. I was scared, nervous and excited. I was running my very first race – The Army Run 2010. Had I trained enough; no, not by a long shot. My goals were simple: to not die and to complete the 5 kms in under 40 minutes. Not huge goals but we all have to start somewhere and I would be happy to achieve them.
There was a chill in the air. After a quick breakfast with my husband it was off to the race site. I became one of the thousands of people who were waiting for the big moment. I was to learn that moments before a race have the same effect on my bladder as dance performances when I was a kid. I needed to pee! The line-ups were huge. I was not the only one who had a race anxious bladder. It was a race just to find a port-a-potty that had a reasonable line-up.
With an empty bladder and a pumping heart I was ready. The cannon fired! I jumped and was so happy that I had taken a pee break moments before. Of course, we were WAY back and it took 6 minutes to even reach the start line. The energy was contagious. There is something about running to the upbeat music of the bagpipes early on a Sunday morning.
I was doing the run with my husband and two friends. We were a merry little group full of energy and laughs. I was able to keeping running with no walking breaks to the 3 kms mark. Then it was a walking break, with my supporting husband, before more running. It was around this point that ADD kicked in. It may have been the crowds. It may have been the lack of bagpipes. It may have been the lack of a MP3 player. It was probably all of the above.
– That woman is running with a purse. Who runs a race with a purse?
– I am being passed by someone pushing a jogging stroller.
– I wish my calves looked like those.
– Wow. Look at that bright pink scrunchie.
– Oh, I like those shoes.
The only way for me to tolerate running is to put my body on automatic and just go to a happy place in my mind. But, my happy place was being invaded by a dozen different thoughts a minute.
– It sure is pretty running along the canal. If I lived here I would do this everyday.
– What a cute dog.
– Look, there are runners on the other side of the canal.
– So glad that I peed before the race. I would hate to be in that line-up now.
– Water, yippee.
– Really. Are you king me? That is barely a mouthful of water.
– I wonder who has to clean up all those cups.
It did not stop until I crossed the finish line. I was exhausted, not from the race but from all of my thoughts. My greatest challenge may not have been the run. That was to control my thoughts and stay in my happy place while surrounded by thousands of other people. I need to learn to tune out others and just stayed tuned to me. Isn’t that a lesson we all have to learn in one form or another?
I am happy to report that I did not die and completed the 5 kms in 38 minutes. Not bad for a first attempt and no real training.