Last night, I had a really hard time getting to sleep. I had wanted to be winding down by 8 and asleep around 9:30 for a 4:30 am wake up, but I didn’t make it into bed until 10 pm and I was rolling around until after midnight as I questioned why I paid good money to do this. I woke up, made coffee, scrambled eggs and breadsticks and got in the car for my lonely, hour and a half ride – I couldn’t convince Adonis or Mom to come with me, so I brought Bear. 33, don’t care.
There was practically zero traffic on either interstate for me to contend with. I was thankful that though I didn’t get an ideal amount of sleep, I was not feeling tired. The entirety of the ride was dark, but I pumped myself up with an excellent playlist. As I arrived in Venice, the sun was coming up and I started to remember some of what I’ve loved about becoming a runner. I would have no other reason to be in a part of Florida I never see if it weren’t for a race.
After getting my race packet, I wandered out to the pier where I saw some men fishing. I pounded my fist, wishing I had thought to twist Adonis’s arm because he could be fishing while I ran, but it was probably just as well. He has a lot of business to schlep with – fishing gear reminds me of triathlon. I asked the gentlemen what was out there. “Nothing!” they replied, half kidding. A lady wandered up to one of the men and said that she had exchanged her race shirt for a larger size because it was ugly and now he could use it for fishing, hah! I didn’t comment but I had been thinking that upon my return home Adonis would see my shirt and try to steal it for the same reason. I was amused to see a household with a similar dynamic – one fisherman, one running woman. She and I started walking back toward the starting line and talking.
I soon learned that FW (fishing wife) likes doing all kinds of events in this part of Florida. She lives nearby and was telling me about different running and biking events and which ones had the best breakfasts and goody bags – clearly a woman after my own heart. I revealed that I did not live close by and wasn’t too familiar with the area, although I have done a few races down here in the past. “You came down here by yourself? What an adventurous woman,” she replied.
√ Blog post title. Boom.
I love how God works. I am sure she just wanted someone to pass time with before the race started, and I had had no plan as to how I was going to spend the time. I probably would have ended up spinning my wheels, being nervous for no good reason, but FW really helped me relax as I listened to her share and got some advice on longevity in running. “Listen to your body. Celery. Potatoes.” Can’t argue with that! It is funny to me that she said that, because I think of myself as a rather conservative person, reluctant to take what I perceive as unnecessary risks. When I make up my mind to do something, I just do it.
Before I knew it, it was time to start. FW started slightly ahead of me, but I caught up to her as she slowed. She said she wasn’t feeling so great and insisted I go ahead. I could have run with her, but I wanted to see what my body would do. This marks the first time in a good while that I have completed a training cycle with a goal race and I needed to see how it worked out. Sadly, red tide made a bit of the otherwise beautiful course smelly. I decided not to look at my watch at anytime, but simply committed to only walking when I stopped for water. I only wanted to do what I thought my body could – I’m conservative, remember? 😉
Shortly after mile 2, I saw the finish line in the distance. I was both hopeful and confused. As I approached, a volunteer informed me that I needed to take a loop around the lake before going to the finish. I remembered that FW had told me about the loop but I still found myself irrationally angry by the cooch tease of coming so close to the line but yet so far! Man, I was tired, but I knew I had more in me. One step came after the other and lo and behold, I was privileged to make the FINAL final turn toward the finish.
After getting much needed water, I went back toward the finish to see how FW had done. Turns out her medication was troubling her breathing! That’s the last time she’ll take that, she said! Runners are the best. Running is the best. 2 minutes and 20 seconds off of my last 5k 4 months ago. Let’s see what my next adventure holds!