Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What it feels like to WIN!

Saturday, August 14th, 2010 I ran my 1st race since the Charlotte Marathon. I have ran races with friends, however, after Charlotte (in December) being a train wreck and Myrtle Beach (in February) being canceled, I have not raced. Not sure why.
As a counselor, I am prone to over analyze these types of things. All I could come up with was a lack of self confidence in my abilities as a runner. Funny right? I have run many races...from the 5k to the marathon. I have placed in races and in the Grand Prix Series. So why should I feel this way. I think it goes back to me just not feeling like a "real runner". That somehow, I am a poser and soon everything will unravel and people will see that I am not a runner at all. Not that I know what a real runner is...
So in light of all that, I signed up to race. My plan was simple... Go out and run as fast as I can for 3.1 miles and see if I had what it takes to call myself a "runner".

The week before the race, I came out to run the course. However, I soon realized this out and back course was run in a not so good side of town. So I quickly ran back to my car. I did not get to preview the course for fear of my life.

Race morning:
As always, I woke up and spent time with God. I prayed for my family, my friends, my clients, the race, and the people who would run the race. I asked God to allow me to glorify him with my running. Because glorifying God is really all that matters. I'm not going to lie though, I prayed to run well. To place in my age group. To get my sub 23 that I wanted. Then I prayed a prayer that surprised even me. I asked God to help me love Him not for what He can do for me, but for the fact that He is God. At this point, it reoccurred to me that no matter if I am a "real runner" or what....God is all that matters.

The Race:
Lots of friends from church ran and scream teamed for this race. In fact, Bree's Sunday School class used this as an opportunity to have a social. I just love how AWESOME my church is! Many people in the class took this as an opportunity to take a chance and run their 1st 5k.
Lucas, Sommer, Bree, and Me after the race

To say the least, I was really anxious. I told Matt that I didn't know why I was so anxious before racing. He agreed. He exclaimed that, "It wasn't like it was my first race". I told him I wasn't this nervous at my 1st race.... He just shakes his head at me.
I line up with Sommer near the front. We watch the clock count down and then we went from zero to 7 minute miles in seconds. Suddenly Sommer and I were running like we were being chased by a mother bear that thought we took her cubs.
I felt like I was running in mud...or clay....or maybe cement. I felt slow. Real slow. But felt pretty good breathing wise. I got to mile 1 and saw I was running a bit slower than last year. Last year in the Grand Prix Series 5ks, I would hit mile 1 around 6:30. I hit this at around 6:50 something. I was hoping my slower start would help me not to poop out in the last mile.
It was an out and back course so we saw the mile 2 marker soon after passing mile 1....I didn't like that. However, I knew I would soon be back and see the real mile 2. I did see mile 2 at 14 something minutes. Oh, that's good, I can do 1 more mile!
I get to mile 3 and turn the corner. I see my wonderful husband and my JRT yelling for me to RUN! Can my JRT talk or am I that oxygen deprived??? I pass mile 3 at 21 something and do a bit of calculating in my head. I think I can PR. I think I can finish this race in 22 something minutes. Sub 23 has been a goal since June 2009. To date, my fastest 5k had been 23:07. All this went through my head.....I could see the clock. I put in my "kick" and started counting with the clock. I passed through at 22:38 clock time.....22:32 chip time. I finished well! Thank you God for letting me get my sub 23!

Post Race:
Soon after finishing, I saw the results going up. Should I look? No. Yes! Noooooo....YES! I go look!
My results show I placed 35th overall, 7th female overall, and 1st in my age group.

Did I read it right? 1st in my age group? I thought I was seeing things so I ask the guy standing beside me what this #1 means. He looks at me like I am crazy and says it means I won my age group.....WHAT?!?!?! I go from being excited to disbelief.
I "run" and tell Matt that I think I won my age group.

He suggests we stay for the award ceremony. I agree, however, there is still a fear that I read the paper wrong and I actually did not place.
My "Winner" picture!
I did place 1st in my AG.
Sommer placed 2nd in her AG!
Tim placed 3rd overall male!

I remember telling Bree that I always thought I would feel different if I ever won my AG. I still felt unsure. I felt excited. I wondered if I deserved it.
Then as I pondered how to write this race report it became clear to me:
I am a runner!
Not because I run fast, run long, win or get a personal best. But just because I run. Everyone who showed up today is a runner. From the winner to the person who came in last. They are a runner not because they finished, but because they choose to start.
That is what makes a runner.
The courage to start the race, the training, the struggle.
The run!
So now that I have "won" a race (in my age group) I have to say I really don't feel much different. However, when I ran up to accept my cheesy medal and $5 gift card to DICK's, I was proud. I was thankful. I was still in disbelief. Then as I ran the 2.5 miles back to my car, I was tired. Then the next day, I went back to training.

That's what winning feels like.
Now when is the next race?

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