Monday, July 21, 2008
Been there. Done That. Got the T-shirt.
Yesterday was a big(ish) day in the history of MarathonMum. For the first time in almost three years, I finished a 10k race!
This is huge for me, especially since in November 2006 my doctor told me I would never run again, due to my psoriatic arthritis. Frankly, I took the news that I wouldn't be able to run harder than the diagnosis. But even getting to the diagnosis was a long road: it took several doctors, lots of tests, an MRI and finally a Google search done by me to ascertain what was wrong with my foot.
Needless to say, I was a basketcase leading up to the race. I kept trying to talk myself out of going, trying to find a variety of excuses as to why I wasn't free on race day. It was much like the scene in the seminal film, "Animal House" where he's got an angel on one shoulder telling him one thing, and a devil on the other, telling him the opposite.
I didn't tell many people about the race, in case I chickened out. But in the end, I went because I wanted to prove that I could do it, but also for the merchandise. During a run with my friend Sam earlier in the week I admitted, "I really don't want to do this race. But I really, REALLY want the T-shirt."
I nearly had a nervous breakdown while making my way over to the park and then while waiting for the race to start. Eventually I calmed myself down by doing three things: first, reminding myself that this race would be 20 miles shorter than the marathon, and surely my body would remember how to do it; second, by realizing that my first 10k was more than 25 years ago, so surely if a 12-year-old me could do a 10k, the 39-year-old me could do it too; and finally, the tried-and-true method of looking for people who looked as though they hadn't done as much training as perhaps was necessary (read into that whatever you want).
The race was started by George Clooney's ex-girlfriend Lisa Snowden, so that distracted me too, because I kept thinking, "Sure, she's pretty, but is she as FUNNY as my friend Quigs? Surely not."
My race strategy was simple: "Slow and steady wins the race." So while I was several thousand people away from winning, I didn't stop once, which enabled me to pass several people who would keep stopping to walk. When I got to the 8K mark, I thought, "2k left! The boys can do this!" Once I got near the finish line, I thought I was going to die, or at least throw up at the finish line, but I did neither.
In the end, I got my t-shirt. It's enormous-- almost as big as the grin on my face when I finished.