Ohmygosh. I did a thing.
I got to a place where I – the avid avoider of running, the temperature/exercise-induced asthmatic – ran a 5k race.
I gave myself Runner’s Knee a couple of days before but that’s neither here nor there.
A bit of background is probably necessary here. Running has always been my great nemesis. Since the beginning of time where even to this day I can’t live down that one time I fell over while running in P.E. when I was 12 and my brother saw it from the Art classroom. I can train for two hours and be completely fine. We’re talking burpees, power jacks, back kicks, jump kicks, even rounds of sparring, I’m your girl. But running? No. I kid you not. No. My cardiac fitness isn’t even the issue, it’s like my lungs can sense it coming and squeeze together like those clothes bags that you vacuum the air out of before they go in the loft. No amount of breathing technique has saved me yet. However, I’m a contrary little toad and I like to run every now and then to see how I have improved. Somewhere along the line I realised that even with my breathing breaks, I could run 5k. Well sir, sign me up to kick cancer’s ass and to kick my formerly destitute fitness levels in the junk.
The date was set: 11am, July 31st at Hyde Park. I had roped my best friend, who hadn’t run since school, to do it with me of course. We arrived just before 11am, after walking through at least three quarters of the park and attached our numbers to our specially made #SecondsCount t-shirts [to represent women fighting Secondary Breast Cancer]. I didn’t have time to stretch, was terrified my knee, which had taken to feeling like a hot poker was being shoved into it when I went downstairs, would crap out on me or I’d wake up crippled tomorrow because I didn’t stretch. Then there were the banners: runners, joggers and walkers. With my breathing? Jogger all the way and I was feeling optimistic with that assessment. However, somewhere in the walking to the start line, my friend and I ended up at the back of the runner’s section. Cue freaking out and so many people around me that I couldn’t back out.
In hindsight, I started off way too heavy and way too fast. I knocked the first 1k out pretty quickly, lost my friend, and had to slow down at lot on the incline in the seemingly eternal section between the 2k and 3k markers (found my friend again though). The sun was out which was great but it was hot with no air moving. Regardless, we got around to the natural decline and I was back in business. I’m tall, I’ve got strong legs, my body wanted to play even if my chest didn’t. I zoomed off down to the 4k marker and past the same three people who kept passing me and going behind me when I sparked up to run again after my ‘rests’. At this point, the running competitor in me was stronger than even my chest. I was going to stride this one out even if I couldn’t run. My breathing was so heavy that people heard me coming behind them and moved out of my way. I guess that was one advantage of people thinking you were on the verge of collapse. Let them be lulled into a false sense of security. I could see the finish line and it just made it so much harder, but I was determined to run over it. Final reserves engaged, I pushed and got over the line at 36 minutes and 10 seconds. A full six minutes faster than my best time at home. I have never run for speed, but I was very proud of that, also of the fact that I finished with the ‘Runners’. Yup. Me, who had barely thought herself a jogger, had finished an official race with the runners.
I definitely plan to do either a Pretty Muddy 5k or a normal 10k next year. Upping the ante is kind of my speciality, it seems.