Ran the Race and live to tell the tale...

of how much I've been hurting but first of all, I did it! I was pretty nervous a few hours before the race as 'this was it'!

I got dropped off by my family and walked into Zilker park and found some of my Club Chronicle and Team Zen compadres. As some of you must know (Austin being the second most fit city in the country, most likely measured by the number of races and running events etc), anyhow, as some of you must know there is quite a good natured cammaderie amongst the runners. Whether you know someone or not, everyone is in good spirits.

Those spirits were enhanced Saturday evening because of the warm weather and some say the speedo santa's but that's probably a personal preference! There were definitely a few people dressed up and even though I had brought my fanny pack and digital camera, I did not take as many pictures as I should've.

A hispanic gentleman was designated to sing the national anthem and poor guy! He enunciated quite well but after the first verse, he got lost and started to mess up a bit. The crowd in a good natured manner boo'd him a bit but joined in to sing it with him. I have to tell you, as an immigrant myself, I can just imagine what kind of fear that song must strike anybody! It goes from very low to very high and there's no hiding any teensy weensy flaw in your voice. I would never bother to sing it, I'd quote it, Peter Sellers-style (who recited the Beatles' Hard Day's Night ) with flair and flamboyance! No need to get in hot water like Roseanne! But I digress..

Once the horn blew, we were off and running but make that, slowly jogging. Inspite of the runners having to be in the front, there were still plenty of people speedwalking so those who could run faster dodged in and out of groups of people. I have to say (proudly) that I ran farther the first bit than I've ever done when I trained. The crowds' slow pace (well, crowdedNESS rather) enabled me to hold on longer than I expected. It was great to have my first race out of the way. I now have a feeling that I will build up an intuitive gauge of distance that can only come from experience.

I remember seeing the first mile marker thinking , only one? Hehe. I was not doing well on the breathing but I jogged and walked and overall pushed myself a bit because I wanted to see what my time was going to be. After entering the actual Trail of Lights (after the one mile marker) I have to say that that really blew me away. How long that was! However, I only started to feel a bit worried after the 2nd mile as my head just burned up and I was wishing for a cool breeze! No cool breezes Saturday night!

My husband called my cell at around the 2 mile marker saying 'where are you'? At the two mile marker why?? Oh wow, ok, well, the kids and I are at the three mile marker to cheer you on so see you soon! See you soon?? That third mile I spent walking most of the time plus I was thinking that too much heat was escaping my brain! Getting back into the park was a relief although I kept thinking 'are we there yet?!'

In Dutch there is a saying that the last loads of lead weigh the most, and the last part of the race was definitely mentally tougher too. My expectation of being 'almost there' was kept disappointed when I walked/jogged around a bend only to see a sea of people ahead of me. Then, at the three mile marker, my family was there to cheer me on and just after that mile marker was a pretty steep slope, good grief. I HAD to start walking. My kids went; come on mom, let's RUN! PFFFF...I was definitely low on fuel by that time. I managed to run through the finishing line but after that, with my kids being excited and yappy, I could feel the excess of oxygen in my body and having all kinds of funny tingling sensations in limbs and face. Brown bag please! Good grief!

But all's well that ends well. I felt pretty exhilerated by my accomplishment and that feeling of pride just doesn't translate into words. It will translate to you when you go through the same experience and I guess that shared experience is what creates that ambiance afterwards any race. Everyone of our Club Chronicle and Zen team congratulated each other on finishing and Erin Collier from the Chronicle was out (and ran herself too!) and obviously pretty happy about us sticking with the program!

And Adam Weisberg from Zen restaurent really is a trooper. Unless he's out of town, he alwasy shows up Saturday mornings to provide us with breakfast and drinks (thank you for the coffee I always say) and Saturday night, he was out with Carlos (I believe his name was) to wok up some of his Zen dishes to feed us afterwards. I just drank water and I did not eat until I got home. After working out, I never feel like eating right away.

But I have to tell you. Saturday, I had an epiphany. I finally got the 'committed' part of 'being committed to live healthier and working out'. Adam made all of the Team Zen participants a very generous offer that if we stuck with the trainings on Saturdays, he would sponsor us running any 5K in the new year! I honestly felt very touched by that offer because it's no mean offer to foot the bill for us like that. It just hit me that night, that I really needed to make a better and more concerted effort in eating better (what a cliche but there you have it)and working out more intelligently.

My knees hurt for days after the race, and that probably means I need to work them out, strengthen them with some good cross training. As much as I'm still in pittiful shape, I'm in a whole lot better shape than I was when I started this challenge. Now, I need to up the ante myself and figure out proper cross-training and manage my time better so that I do not have any excuses to not follow through. Just showing up Saturdays isn't enough.

Thank you Adam for your generous offer, and thank you Club Chronicle for this challenge. Not only have I started working out, but I've made friends with the team, and gotten myself partnered up with a like-minded woman (see previous post!). When my four year old asked me this morning if I won that race, I said, OH nooo. Mommy didn't win, but mommy at least FInished! Then she repeated my mantra (when her and her brother are competing) "everybody wins". That's right little one, everybody won! Yeah Team!

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