Last Saturday several Belles, their moms, Coach Rosie and I decided to run the Aflac IronGirl 5K. We have all been training for the last couple of months. In all honesty, due to some busyness (laziness) on my part and a small injury, I hadn't trained to the point that I had actually ran the whole 3.1 miles before. I was nervous.
I arrived at the park and joined up with the ladies from Victory Get Fit Club. The trainers were all buzzing with excitement and the veteran runners were chatting and milling about. I alternated pacing, faking a confident smile to my cheerleaders and standing in line yet again for the porta potties.
I lined up with Coach Rosie. We conservatively chose the 12 minute mile line up station. Inwardly I wanted to run the whole 5K. I barely slept the night before and spent the time praying and praising God. I decided to just run my race, not worry about anyone around me and not try to keep up with anyone.
The race started and put in my headphones. Soon I was picking my way around walkers and slower runners. I kept my pace slow and controlled my breathing. I eventually came alongside Coach Rosie and ran along with her, still not making any predictions about my endurance. We passed the 1 mile mark - I felt good. Grabbed a cup of water and kept going.
At this point I thought, wow I just ran that first mile in under 10 minutes and I feel pretty good. About this point I came alongside a teenage friend of mine. She was on my dance team several years prior. She was beginning to struggle and wanted to stop and walk. I grabbed her arm and brought her along with us. At the 1.5 mile point, Coach Rosie says, "I think we are going to be able to do this." I finally allow myself to commit to it too. I can run this thing!
While shifting my attention to my little friend and encouraging her to push past her wall, I felt renewed strength. We continued the run to the 2 mile mark and Rose and I again remarked, "we're doing it!" Not only was I going to run the whole 5K, I was going to finish with my friend Rose and my young dancer.
The race route was littered with husbands, sons and fathers holding signs and encouraging their racing women. The atmosphere was so empowering and encouraging. There was no contest, it was all about finishing and helping the women around you to finish.
We began to hear the music from the finish line. We quickened our pace. We were full stride now, no longer jogging, but running. We were doing it! It felt so good. I crossed the finish line and fought tears. I was so proud of myself. I cannot recall the last time I felt truly proud of myself. I was also proud of everyone else who finished their race too.
So, I have been bitten by the running bug. Coach Rosie and I plan to run a race every other month or so. I cannot pass up the high that comes from crossing the finish line.
Next year the IronGirl is mandatory for all of our junior cheerleaders - they need to feel the high too!