I ran a 5K. Me, the most unathletic person in world.
The night before the race, I tossed and turned because I was so nervous. What if I get last place? What if I can't finish? What if I'm slow? I was so nervous that I even worried about actually crapping my pants while I ran. I worry about everything so it came as no surprise that I was anxious about doing something new that I did not feel confident about. This mindset is exactly why I never made it in sports. I can still vividly remember shooting an airball from the free throw line when I took my first stab at basketball back in elementary school. The older boys made fun of me and that was all it took for me to give up on sports for life! I would much rather feel safe and unembarrassed than risk taking a chance on something. If you just avoid it, you can't fail, right? Oh wow, that is so pathetic when I say it out loud. Now, it's not like I never did anything...I have lots of musical talent and did very well in competitions in that arena...but sports, well I just never could get into it.
I was scared.
When I woke up on Memorial Day, I thought of at least 20 million excuses that would get me out of running. Some of them were pretty creative (like I could make myself vomit and, therefore, convince everyone I was sick), but I have a good husband who wouldn't let me give excuses and wouldn't let me give up. So what if you're last place? So what if you can't finish? So what if you're slow? What matters is that I tried. I took a chance. I faced a fear. So, I sucked it up and put on my sneakers. (I also used the port-a-potty more times than I'd like to admit to try and prevent the crapping in my pants scenario I had been so worried about.)
Before the race, I looked around trying to take in my competition. Although there were plenty of really buff, in-shape people around, I was pleasantly surprised to see that most people participating looked like me. And they were so relaxed, so at ease. For the first time ever, I actually wished that I was older so that I could be in a different age group and not have to be lumped in with 20 year olds. I will guiltily admit that I was selfishly glad to see an elderly couple was participating by walking the 5K. At least I wouldn't be last! Or at least, I better not be!
As the race began, I fell into the easy rhythm that I had begun to develop over the course of my training. Slow but steady. I let my mind wander to the day, four months prior, that Callie died. When I felt like stopping, I thought about how much she went through in the short time she lived with us here on Earth. I thought about her tiny heart beating again after it had stopped and then been revived. It motivated me to keep going. Somewhere along the way, I remembered the woman at the gas station who had asked if I was pregnant. I felt so much pride at how far I have come in only four short months. 30 lbs. down, 8 more to go! In your face, gas station woman! Someone ahead of me wore a shirt that reminded me of Dory, the lovable, charming and really forgetful fish, from Finding Nemo narrated by my favorite person in the world, Ellen DeGeneres. I love Ellen so much. She reminds us all to laugh, to be kind to one another, and to dance and have fun. The shirt said: Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...
That is what John and I have been doing in life... we have kept swimming. And that's what I did during the race too...kept running, one foot in front of the other.
Before I knew it, I was crossing the finish line. And I was proud of myself. So proud. I never stopped once. I ran my first 5k in 34:26. I had secretly hoped to do the race in less than 35 minutes but didn't think I could actually do it...but I did! I wasn't the fastest, but I didn't come in last. I did it!! And I didn't even crap myself! When John read me my time, I burst out in tears, totally overcome by my emotions. Every bit of pain I have felt over the past four months came rushing over me, but in a different way. I felt like I was defeating something, jumping over hurdles, and overcoming boundaries. I faced my anxiety and fear. And I won.
Many of you have asked where I have been lately. Why haven't I been posting? I am touched that I am surrounded by such caring and thoughtful people. To put it simply, I've been having a rough time lately and I just needed to grieve a little more privately. So I took a little "time-out" and it has helped me so much. Thanks for asking, thank you for thinking about me, thank you for including John and I in your prayers...and thanks so much for reading. xoxo