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Greatly Grateful

April 11, 2010

I am Grateful.
Grateful for so many things.
Grateful for my life, and my abilities, and my blessings.
Grateful for this forum, a place I can document my thoughts, and feelings, and emotions, and experiences. A place I can share with old IRL friends and newer blends and readers.  A place I can be honest with you all, and therefore, honest with myself.
I am Grateful that you accept me for who I am.
Grateful that you embrace my procrastination.
Therefore that you will love that I am posting this recap of my third ever 5K a whole four and a half months after the fact.
Of course, for that I am Grateful.

In case you missed the mention of it a bazillion and two times on THS, I have a fitness bucket list goal of participating in a race in all 50 states.  
us_map_colored

My third 5K ever was also my third race ever, and also my third state to race in. My third ever 5K/race/state-conquering took place on the day of Gratefulness 2009 – Thanksgiving.

Readers, meet the Running of the Turkeys. [apparently, in this case, I am a Turkey.  This is not the nicest thing I’ve ever been called, but you know, I suppose turkeys can be pretty cute, so whatev.]

This Turkey Run just happened to take place in Vermont. 
This meant I woke up really early, to be on the road very early, to drive the near 2 hours to the race site. 

I’d never been to Vermont before, let alone Arlington, VT.
Did you know that Arlington happens to be located in-between two mountain ranges?  I could tell as I was driving towards the race site and about 30 minutes to go my EARS WERE POPPING.

File:West Arlington Fog.JPG
[source]

Why it never occurred to me that I may be running in some rather high elevated hilly conditions during the race sponsored by the “Batten Kill Valley Runners” of the Green Mountain National Forrest area, I’m not too sure.  But hey, geography was never my strong suit, which can easily be proven on any “Trivia Friday” at my office, where I squeal with glee whenever I manage to guess correctly on the blue questions.  But that’s a story for another day.

After a scenic drive through the foothills of many a mountain, I made it to the race location, picked up my race number and started to get set for the race; I still had about an hour to go until race time, so I tried to spend a little bit of time “getting into my running zone” before heading outside to warm up. 

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I was EXTREMELY happy that I had not only preregistered, but also showed up at the tip top of the hour pre-race, because pretty soon, the gym was FILLED with many, many people in many, many lines.

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Because there were so many people in the registration lines, the race time ended up being pushed back several minutes.  In the meantime, I made friends with some people stretching out near me in the gym, Jen and Matt – a married couple who were also from New York, both much more dedicated and experienced runners than myself.

We got to talking and I found out that Jen had run the race before, and warned me that it was fairly hilly and that if I wasn’t used to running in a higher elevation I should be careful not to push myself TOO HARD.  I took her words to heart, and although i had planned on trying to run the entire 5K without walking and try hard to PR, I realized that this may not be doable.

I knew I needed to listen to my body and take care not to kill myself to the point where they had to roll me down a hill back to my car.  The race was HARD.  The hills were intense, and I had to take a few walking breaks through out the course. I was proud of my run even though I didn’t do as well as I had planned, because I had run a course I didn’t train for, and I pushed myself enough.

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I brought my camera to the race, but I did not run with it. However, when Matt finished his 5K in 24:19, he ran back to his car to pick up his camera to get photos of Jen who crossed the finish line at 26:39.

I am Grateful for my new friends who stuck around to get photos of me approaching the finish line, which I eventually crossed a bit later than planned.  Even more so, having them there to cheer my name, was such a great feeling.  This was the first race in which I had people at the finish line routing me on specifically, and it was a great boost to my esteem to push me to sprint through the finish line. THANK YOU Jen & Matt.

 PB260256

At the end of the race I felt strong and accomplished.  I walked around and stretched a bit before heading in doors for the award ceremony.  I was really excited to get to cheer for Matt and Jen who both won awards in their age divisions! I ate a pistachio Larabar and refilled my water bottle before heading to my car to make the journey home.
  vermont5 
My first three races were all great experiences.
The courses were all a lot different from one another, as were my feelings about each race.

l129768936 pre race PB260255

Until recently, I thought that my times for each race seem to go in “the wrong” direction.

5K #1 – 33:49.              
5K #2 – 35:29. [+1:40]
5K #3 – 36:37. [+1:08]

I wasn’t happy that thus far my PR was my first race and continued to ask myself what I had done wrong. Why wasn’t I improving???  Then I remembered THIS:
door473_thumb
Instead of stress over it EVEN A MOMENT LONGER, I am CHOOSING to remember that I am running for me, and no one else. Instead of asking what went wrong, I will use my first three race experiences as lessons learned and motivation to go farther, and faster, and CRUSH THOSE RACE TIMES IN 2010.

I’m planning on running two of the courses again this year [#1 & #3] and I will be crossing the finish line with my head held high and a smile in my heart. For that, I am Grateful.

 

What is your experience with PRs?  How do you set goals for different races? 

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. April 11, 2010 6:02 pm

    THANK YOU for this post! I actually don’t set time goals for different races. I judge each one by itself and against myself. Still, when you have run a race before. . . say the Boston Marathon, and you have a time, its hard to not feel pressured to beat that time. I am currently reminding myself that my last Boston 2 years ago may have taken place on the same course as this coming Monday, but it was a different time in my life and a somewhat different me.

  2. April 11, 2010 6:14 pm

    Girl you did an amazing job!!! Way to go on running your heart out! 🙂

  3. April 11, 2010 6:58 pm

    LOVE the Post-It note message. Darling! I would use it if I still ran 😉

  4. April 11, 2010 7:44 pm

    I noticed the same thing too, each race my time went down, I think that because once I finished my first race I got cocky, so now I’ve decided to work up to something bigger. I’m going to run a few more 5k’s, but have set my sights on running a 10K before the end of the year. You’re right though, the ability to even run these races is enough to be grateful for. Good job!

  5. April 12, 2010 1:04 am

    The post-it note reminder is awesome. Your post is a great reminder of what I feel is important for all forms of sports/exercise – you’re doing it for you, because you deserve to feel awesome and amazing. If you ever get to the point where you’re mentally beating up on yourself then it’s time to refocus on what you get from it and push the negative voices to the side. Now I want to make a post-it banner for my wall to remind myself of what’s important!

  6. April 12, 2010 10:53 am

    I loved your race recap! You look so happy in the pictures. I love it! Thanks for sharing!

  7. April 19, 2010 5:51 am

    “There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart”
    Celia Thaxter (American Poet, 1836-1894)

    I picked up on your blog about being grateful, and thought you might appreciate this quote.

    I am a new author of a book titled: When I Am Grateful
    It’s a gift book that outlines the ‘stuff’ that can happen to us everyday and then reminds
    the reader how we can be grateful, even in the most challenging times.

    You can view a book video on my site which gives you more insights.
    Go to: wheniamgrateful.com

    Have a Grateful Day!

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