This is Part Two of my Runner’s World Race experience…make sure you read Part One about the days leading up to this incredible event!
I’ve never been a runner. I always joked that I would run ONLY if chased and that I tended to gravitate towards things I was good at like dancing, cycling, lifting weights, and yoga. I go for runs around my neighborhood and I enjoy being in my runner’s moment. I was often asked if I would train for a race. I would reply that it wasn’t my thing but after seeing so many friends, family members, and blogger friends participate in races, I began to feel the itch.
I registered for last year’s Runner’s World race and cancelled when I decided I just wasn’t ready (read: did not take it seriously and did NOT train). However, the two strongest and wisest women I know (my mother and late grandmother) taught me to try new things and never EVER give up. This advice would be help me through my toughest challenge yet—leaving my fears behind and training for my official timed race. So when this self-proclaimed non-runner decided to run and train for the Runner’s World Half and Festival, I sought out the support of my running “tribe”, my friends and family because for it to happen I would need all the love and guidance I could get it!
I used the 10K pink training app which I completely recommend. I read the Runner’s World Guide to Road Racing and the e-book Running With Curves helped me immensely through my journey. Running With Curves helped me get over the fact that even though I don’t have that stereotypical runners’ body (the GAZELLE!) that if you run, then you DO have a runner’s body! Though I trained as much as I could summer vacations, work, and other obligations often got in the way. Plus I wanted to do my other loves like personal training with my trainer, Zumba, kickboxing, and spinning and there just seemed like there wasn’t enough hours in the day. As the days edged closer to the race, I felt nervous but I knew even if I had to run-walk-crawl to the finish line I would.
Race day was exciting and of course the days leading up to it was amazing! My sons and husband wanted to drive in with me so it was a really early wake-up. There were so much hype and anticipation and I felt my adrenaline pumping. My first official timed race!
I started out strong and then all of a sudden I didn’t feel right. I walked twice. Once up one hill and then towards the end when I had nothing left. What happened? Was it because I didn’t eat? I had a quarter of a bagel with PB2 and coffee. Smart, right? Was it a case of nerves? Started too far back? No matter, I was determined to finish!
And I did finish. Not the best time in the world but I FINISHED.
I am so thankful for the support and love from my family and friends. My husband for loving me in this crazy/beautiful life we built and buying me compression socks, researching ways so I can be a better runner, and always being supportive of me. My sons for making a water bottle for me or doing my post-run exercises or stretch with me in the driveway. They are my driving force. More than anything, I want to be a positive role model for them. I want them to know they can DO anything, BE anything, and DO anything.
The advice and kind words from my Black Girls Run chapter was invaluable. These women are AMAZING and so supportive. My personal trainer who always has an encouraging word and pushes me to reach my goals–strength training was integral to remaining injury-free.
For those running your first race don’t let small things like not being at your goal weight, being a “slow” or back of the pack runner, or intimidation psych you out. Build your tribe, research, and be kind to yourself. I never thought of myself as someone that would run in a race with competitive and elite runners but there I was! YOU can do anything or at least you should try.
I’m still not still not sure if running is my “thang” next weekend but I am running the Trenton Half 10K. However, I love that I am pushing myself continuously out of my comfort zone and dispelling myths about curvy women. We run! I am also building my self-confidence while being a positive role model for my sons. I will continue to Zumba, kickbox, yoga, and Crossfit to my goals. Running will always be part of my healthier living “arsenal” and I am glad I did what I thought was impossible. I RUN.