Yes…I’m still here and yes, I’m still running! I did my second 5k on 9/20. The Burn Run to benefit the Clark Burn Center at University Hospital here in sunny Syracuse, NY. One month and 5 days before, I did my first 5k – the Willow Bay Run for Women. I wondered why I felt so crappy running it after all my hard work…and three days later was diagnosed with pneumonia in my right lung. So that was the reason!
This time, I had planned to walk the 5k…concerned that I’d be pushing myself too soon after pneumonia. So, once I was feeling better (about two weeks after my first 5k), I re-started the Couch to 5k running plan. HOWEVER, I instead of doing each day of each week, I did the first day of each week and skipped ahead if I felt able (this was done in accordance w/ my doctor…so don’t take this as medical advice). I can’t stress enough how stupid it would be to push yourself too soon, after a serious illness…and believe me, pneumonia is a serious illness.
So…following a variety of medical advice (breathing treatments, prescription meds…oooh my poor tummy does not like the Zpack), I gradually started to regain my hard fought for endurance (I was such a cupcake pre-running).
I had already registered and paid for The Burn Run before I came down with the pneumonia, so I wasn’t about to miss it, even if I had to walk it. So, walk it I planned to do. PLANNED to do. Well, the best laid plans….don’t always work out like you envisioned.
I was really nervous when I got to the starting point for the Burn Run. First off, I had a hard time finding the place (and I very nearly chickened out and went home)…the GPS got me to the general area, but got confused on the particulars. Thank you to the retired police officer, who was patiently directing stragglers such as myself. Then when I got there and headed over to the registration area, they handed me my t-shirt…well, why is that an issue you ask? Its less than 10 minutes to the start time and here I am holding a t-shirt, trying to figure out how to put on the chip timer and at the same time noticing all the other attendees look like they’re a lot more experienced than me.
So I hustle back to the car, toss the shirt in and book it back to the start point. Lets just say, I shouldn’t have worried. I had plenty of time, with the all the pre race activities and the invocation, so I’m fairly sure we didn’t get started right AT 10:15am. But I digress. While I was waiting near the back of the pack, I passed the time till the start, trying to figure out who would walk most or at least, quite a bit of this. It would be safe to bet, that fortune telling is not my strong suit. One lady I did chat a bit with, mentioned she’d be walking most of it, so I made a mental note to try and keep her in sight.
The run finally starts and while I intended to walk it, I decided to run at least until I ran under the firetrucks’ ladders and around the corner. Well, I got to that point and just kind of…kept on going. I thought to myself, “well, ok…I’ll run until I feel the effort is getting to be too much.” I’d been wheezy the previous week and was being careful not to push myself too much.
Well, I kept running…and waiting…and running…next thing I know, I’m looking at my cell on my armband and realizing I must have run over a mile by now. I decide to take a quick break and bring it down to a brisk walk. I do this for a couple of minutes and start running again…stop briefly at the half way point to drink a quick cup of water and not long after I see the 2 mile marker (spray painted on the road), pass beneath my feet. “Really, 2 miles? But I’m feeling really good!” I’m going slow, sure…but I’m feeling really good.
It’s almost embarrassing to admit it, but I am CATCHING UP to the lady I met earlier who is WALKING. Hey…at this point, it’s not the pace…at any point it isn’t about the pace really…its that you are getting out there and moving your body…but I digress again. So, I have caught up to my new acquaintance who is walking, start walking and chatting. We both realize we are maybe two of 6 people who are still coming into the finish. I have to say, the funniest thing happened here…when a young runner who had already finished, comes running back toward us and asks “Have you seen my Mom? She was walking behind you…I think.”
We both start running again…whether or not you walk the 5k or run it, its fun to run across that finish line. Even the runners who have been there for “aaaages” ahead of you, stop in their conversation/cool down routine/bagel eating to cheer you on. That feels good. You did it, running or walking, you cared enough to get out there and do more than the average person – not just for whatever cause the race is affiliated with, but because you are moving your body more than the average person in today’s society. You are making that effort to better not only yourself, but the world around you….and boy, does it feel amazing, that wonderful combo, when you finish.
Oh and I did improve my time. First 5k was (rounding up) finished in 48 minutes. My second 5k, I finished in 44 minutes. My next 5k, I hope to do even better, but if I don’t…I’m still ahead just for having set my foot out the door and getting that forward motion going.