I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Posts tagged ‘5k’

The Happiest Place on Earth: Race Report

Yesterday rocked.

I was accompanied by Mom and Dad. Mom was racing too and cussing me the whole way to the start line. “Why am I up? It’s cold. I should be sleeping. This is crazy.” It was actually a bit colder than I was expecting, but it was supposed to be ideal by the time the race started. We got our packets, used the lovely portable toilets, I ate my pre-race navel and lined up at the starting line.

My playlist was set. 31:30. Too ambitious? Maybe. I was just feeling so optimistic! Garmin was on, but I didn’t want to stress myself out by staring at my watch, so I told myself I would turn it on but I would not look at it during the race. I wanted to see where my training had put me in my natural state – pushing, yes, but not killing myself. The hype man started the countdown from 10, and then the horn sounded. Tears came to my eyes once more. What is more beautiful than a chance to start again? I swallowed and made my way to the timing mat.

Two songs into my playlist, I saw the 1st mile marker. My body was feeling good. I pointed to the sky and asked for help for the next 2.1. I made another turn on this familiar Orlando course and saw a sign on a church. “Jesus Loves You,” it read in neon lights. I smiled as I continued running past the first water stop. I hadn’t been drinking water during any of my training runs and didn’t want to lose any momentum. Three more songs pass, as does the 2nd mile marker. I had done an amazing job on my playlist – the words and beat were helping me push forward. I saw a lady from Venezuela whose shirt read “God is with you” on its back – incidentally, near another water stop. Living Water, heh. “Gracias por tu camisa!” I yelled, thanking her for her shirt.

Two songs to go. Two turns to go. I am doing it. I was so happy to be running and feeling strong. One song to go. One turn to go. Final turn made. Finish line in sight. Aaaaand the first song comes on again. Blast you, point 1. I chuckled and found another gear as I crossed the finish line.

Mom had told me to come back for her, which I did, after I brought a snack to Dad, of course. I caught her on the home stretch. “Ready to run to the finish?!” “I will – at the stop sign.” That’s my Mom, ever the rebel. Gonna hit the gas at the stop sign. We went for it as I ducked to the left of the timing mats. I met with her on the other side of the chute. “Where are the race results?” said the woman who had been complaining to me all morning.

I had shaved 00:02:10 off my 5k time from November and Mom was a minute faster than a month ago! I was most pleased because my pace had been incredibly steady – each of my miles was within 20 seconds of the other. Boom. Mom commented that I looked like I just had had a facial. Nope. This is the glow that can only come from the happiest place on earth. A place of sweat, faith, strength, and growth. I want to stay here as long as I can. ❤️


Tired but Inspired: Race Report

As you are fully aware, cancer sucks. The many volunteers behind One Step Closer to the Cure are tirelessly working so that no one else’s Auntie has to be taken prematurely by ovarian cancer. Collectively, my family did our part contributing about 100,000 literal steps. Here is how my 6,000 went: 

1. 1-2,000

If you want to know how I think I’m going to do during a race, all you must do is check my playlist. Did I set it to shuffle? I’m just here for the cause. Perhaps I spent significant time carefully crafting both the sequence and length of the list. That means the next 33 (Lord willing) minutes are not a drill. When the horn sounds, I’m feeling great out of the gate, man. I’m gonna run this bad boy all the way through. Early on, I experienced the runner’s high that keeps me coming back. Seeing so many teams and friends coming together always helps to add to my gooey feelings. Everyone’s a champ so far, even me! 

2. 2,001 – 4,000

It’s…it’s kind of hot out here. I wanted to push but – eh. I have noticed recently that there’s something about turning in races that is a mental drag for me. It used to exhilarate me, as I would focus on the fact that I am progressing, but right now I deem to be in a place where I think to myself “ugghhhh there’s more!” and my pace drops accordingly. I started running some, then walking some, but still trying to meet my goal. Plus, running whenever I saw my family. 

3. 4,001 – finish 

Okay so maybe my goal was a *tad* ambitious based on my current fitness level. I blame the stress and snacks that Hurricane Irma swept in! She was a big heffa, you ‘member? I was moving forward but “Imma own this!” had devolved into “Ugh let’s finish and get breakfast.” Then the most amazing thing happened. 

“Hi Daphne! You’re beautiful! You’re doing great, keep going!” 

Several different waves of emotion came over me. Thankfulness for being Daphne’s niece. Humbled by the fact that she can still touch lives, 7 years after her death. GUILT! For whining about a slow pace in a healthy body. This woman who God brought to me at just the right time was cheering ME on – the girl who is fighting 5k while she is fighting ovarian cancer.  I learned later that she also Auntie Daph serves on the board of the foundation that puts on the race. Man. I suck for thinking that I suck. I started running a bit more and digging until the end. 

I need to pray for the spirit of people like that amazing lady and Auntie Daph to fill me, not just when I run but in my every day life. Every step God gives us is a blessing and it’s my prayer that I start to act like it! 

Girl Power: Race Report 

It’s a nice feeling to go to bed the night before a race, having eaten without a goal in mind aside from surviving. I had a nice, leisurely dinner with Adonis, excited about sharing a 5k with several girls from school who would be running their first. My colleague, Running for Two, and I have been training the Girl Power Running Club since August, helping them with their stamina and pacing. In the beginning, I ran with the slower ones and she with the faster; as she became more pregnant and my marathon training ended, we switched roles. At our last practice, our first finishers came in between 33 and 36 minutes, so I was expecting a relatively chill morning. As I walked to the starting line with RFT, 14 girls, and their parents, I was feeling nervous, but it wasn’t for me. I just wanted my girls to pace themselves and be happy. 

That changed. Quickly. Literally! 

My speedy girls took off and I ran with them, slightly behind. I checked my watch. I saw an 8 – and it wasn’t in the seconds place. Blast you, youthful adrenaline! I found myself hoping that the girls actually couldn’t maintain their pace because I knew that I couldn’t. Thankfully, that 8 became a 9 within a reasonable amount of time. I saw that the two girls ahead of me were using me as motivation to keep going. Each time they slowed to a walk, one would look for me. “Don’t let me catch you!” I shouted, knowing that I probably couldn’t, heh. 

After about half the race, I did end up catching up, but only because as I had thought (and hoped, for my sake!), they started too fast. I was still running with a girl, who went a bit ahead of me. I don’t know if she knew she was pacing me. She would walk sometimes and I yelled at her to keep going. By the last mile, I remembered why I don’t enjoy short races as much. I had to make the choice between swallowing and slowing down. I checked my heart rate. 145. Lies. I was hauling, but it’s good to know that I can smile like I’m enjoying every moment. 

We made the last turn for the finish line. I looked at my watch – under 30 minutes. I knew she was on track to probably get a prize for her age group. “RUN!” I screamed. Whoa. Was I going to finish under 30 minutes too? Aaaaaaaand no. But she did! I crossed the timing mat at 30:06, feeling pleased at my best 5k performance in a long time and thankful that I wasn’t left in the dust. 

I reminded Speedy to keep walking to bring her heart rate down, then we walked over to cheer in the rest of our runners. Most of the girls looked really strong as they crossed. I ran in with several of them, as did Speedy. They all were really excited to get their medals. RFT crossed with the last of the girls. We took a group picture, looking notably more fatigued than we had an hour earlier, but surely the bling made up for it! 

We stuck around for the awards ceremony. I was chatting with some parents when I heard the most insane thing. 

My name. Whaaaaaaaaat?! 

I squealed and ran up to dj’s booth. “Where do I go?!” I got another medal and met Berry! 

I thanked Speedy, who had placed 2nd in her AG (!) profusely. I knew I couldn’t have done it without her motivating me. It’s amazing how by doing your best, you can help people without your knowing it, no matter how old you are. Most of the girls said that they couldn’t wait to run again next year! Winning! 

Girl Power Is Legit. 

Pay to Play: Race Report

I don’t know about y’all, but there are times when I simply cannot persuade myself to make time to run. I make all sorts of excuses – fatigue won’t allow me to do my best, or I could be spending time with those family people or working, etc. So I did what any girl on a Friday would do to get my feet back on the pavement. Registered for a 5k scheduled for Saturday. 

I prepared myself quickly and quietly so as not to wake Lil One or Adonis. The race site was a nearby familiar one – I did most of my marathon training around this particular lake. Knowing that my race registration would help to benefit victims of human trafficking was even more motivating to me. It is funny how we get wrapped up in these questions about our value and self-worth, taking for granted the freedom we have to be able to spend even one moment to reflect, when there are so many who lack just that – freedom. I told myself that when the horn went off, I was going to run for anyone who can’t. No time for self-pity OR self-flaggelation! 

I really was not sure what it meant to pace myself when it started; rather, I didn’t know what it would look like today. My marathon pace was 13:26 and I have a tough time with perspective – sometimes a 13 minute pace feels like a 9 minute pace and I’m just slow no matter what, you know? Gahhhh! Focus! Just. Run. 

And so I did. I would be lying if I told you I didn’t look at my Garmin, but it WAS a race and I did want to do my best by maintaining whatever pace I could. When I got tired, I thought of the freedom I had to be there that morning. As I turned toward the finish, I lamented that the course appeared to be .1m short, but no matter. I went and I did it AND my pace was 10:14! 

Who. Is. This. 

The only explanation I have for such a speedy performance is the fact that I’ve been getting sufficient sleep and eating very cleanly, because the only runs I’ve been doing have been with the girls training for their first 5k or with Adonis, running and walking for our half-marathon relay. Lesson: problems can be solved by clean eating, sleep, and money! 

The Reason: Race Report

My Auntie Daph continues to inspire me, 6 years after stupid old ovarian cancer took her from us. It pleases me to think that seeing her family unite around beating the cause that was the source of so much pain near the end of her life in a healthy way honors her. Makes beating my 5k time from a month ago seem like a silly thing with which to concern myself, no? 

If that last sentence made you laugh out loud, then you know me well. 

Did I mention that this was the Big One’s first 5k as well? She has been sharing her running achievements with me excitedly leading up to the race. Finally, I got one that enjoys the training! Like the young person with boundless energy she is, she decided to go to Halloween Horror Nights the night before. 

Lady J, Stepmother: “I hope she isn’t too tired! I want her to enjoy her first race experience!” 

Lady J, Nervous Runner: “I hope she doesn’t bust up my sleep coming home. My ass is not 20.” 
The first thought listed WAS my first thought. Honest. 

Guess what! God is awesome, and yesterday it was reflected in the fact that both the Stepmommy and nervous runner got their wishes! I felt something incredible on the course – *gasp* – a BREEZE! I had a goal in mind to do better than a month ago, but the feeling of just seeing where my body is at the moment was liberating. If I didn’t beat it, it is what it is. It’s nice having a cause like beating ovarian cancer to fall back on just in case you run the best race ever. I often  judge my effort based on if I want to stop running or how badly I want to see the finish line. “You can run for 10 more minutes! You can run for 9 more minutes and 30 more seconds! You can run for 9 more minutes and 28 seconds! Damn. Just keep going.” 

32:55! 32 seconds faster than a month previous. It’s like, my training has been effective or something. I had enough time to beg for water, tell Daddy how my run went, and cheer for my family as each of them crossed the finish line, including my girls, who were grinning from ear to ear. 

Running is powerful. Family is powerful. God is The Power. 

Never Silent – Noise v. Music: Race Report 

I have a confession to make. 

While I can honestly say I was proud of my performance in last week’s 5k, I wasn’t “satisfied,” and thus my quest for my next 5k before marathon training began hours after last week’s finish. I shared this with 3M, and naturally, she responded with suggestions. Though I was unsure if I could really make any gains in a week, I thought, ‘what the hell. I like to race. Let’s see what happens!’ 

I didn’t run at all this past week, as I was unusually tired and feeling in limbo before my marathon training is to start. I just tried to eat cleanly and show up rested. Last night, I was setting out my clothes/equipment for today and realized I did not see my wireless headphones. “Meh,” I thought. My phone on my arm felt heavy last week anyhow. “I’ll run without music!” 

Mind you, I have never run a running race without music. The last time I raced without music was at the end of my 70.3 almost 2 years ago. “Whatever. It’s ‘just’ a 5k. The silence won’t be a big deal.”  At the horn, I realized something quickly. 





I mean this both literally and figuratively. Of course, there were plenty of things to hear as I struggled in the heat and humidity. Parents encouraging their kids. The occasional cowbell. My feet. My clearing my throat. My feet. The ducks. My feet. 

My feet. They’re loud. Seriously. 

Soon after I began mile 2, I felt very tempted to slow down. “You can slow down. You’ll still probably beat your time from last week.” Then, “It’s hot. Why am I doing this.” This was followed by the inevitable, “I am whining about 3.1 miles. Am I really strong enough to complete 23.1 more?” 

Oh, dear. I wish that no music meant silence. Quite the opposite. The inside of my head is incredibly noisy. I often tell my classroom students that we are in a music room and not a noise room. Our music is intentional, our noise is scattered and rarely pleasant. The music that I play during races helps to distract me from the noise in my head. I became thankful for my loud, musical feet – the organized, steady beat of my progress toward the finish line. Keep making music. Keep moving forward. 

I crossed the finish line in 33:27 – 1:05 faster than the previous week. Music triumphed over noise once again. I know now that if I am to complete a marathon, I must become a better musician. 

Always multitasking.

War is Hell: Race Report

N.B. – Before I begin writing, I want where I stand to be clear. I actually do believe in a real hell, and eternal separation from the Lord is no joke. However, it’s difficult for me to resist such an amusing metaphor. He’s still working on me. Give me a break. 

It has been quite some time since I’ve posted. Whenever I take any kind of hiatus, it’s not because I don’t have anything to say; rather, it’s because I’m not sure how to say it OR I am unsure if saying it is in my best interest. 

Well, I still run. 

I am proud of the fact that I committed to a training plan over the summer. 2016 has been a tad busy, what with getting married and moving in with Adonis. I’m thankful that my relationship with running is as solid as a rock! It makes me sad to miss runs, even when I struggle through them. There is nothing in the world like running and racing, but prioritizing it is a struggle. If I want to do big things, like run a marathon before the end of the year, I probably should be able to commit to a training plan for a 5k this very hot summer. 

I woke up this morning, ecstatic to run the race that will determine what the next 18 weeks of my life will look like. It is difficult for me to manage my expectations, as I tend to be disappointed that I am not the fittest I have ever been. My constant battle is to be pleased with whatever my best happens to be in any given moment. 

War paint.

My goal pace was 11:25, but I wanted to go faster. “How fast can I go? Should I put on a pace alert? Maybe when I’m going 9 minute miles, that’s too fast.” Okay Joan. Calm down. I chose to dispense with the pace alert and just run the fastest I could. 

This race was PACKED, which didn’t help the already blazing temperature. Moreover, the course itself wasn’t particularly aesthetically pleasing. Aaaaand there’s a brick road, let’s finish this without twisting your ankle! Then I saw a chick running alongside me with one leg. I stopped my mental whining.

The telltale signs of my running my fastest were all there – cursing during the 3rd mile, feeling tempted to slow down, questioning why I do this, barely being able to smile when I saw any camera. I crossed the finish line with nothing remaining in the tank. A look at my watch later showed that each mile was slightly faster, but not just that! 

Who beat her goal pace? This girl.

I worked hard for this 34:32, y’all. I’ll tell anyone about it with pride, and I say this as I watch my colleagues running in Rio this morning. I am proud to be the kind of person that curses her way to a 5k finish line, only to hand in a sweaty registration form for a half-marathon moments later. 

Perhaps one day I will stop putting myself through my mental hell, my mental separation from God’s unchanging love and acceptance, because it’s awful not being able to really appreciate what a gift that running truly is. Every step I take brings me closer! 

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