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Superhero 5k

This past Saturday, while the Mr. was still sleeping, I got up bright and early with a mission in mind.

A couple of months ago, I’d signed up for a 5k . . . a Superhero 5k!

First, I ate a small but healthy breakfast (overnight oats).

Then, I carefully donned the clothes I’d laid out the night before and posed for selfies by propping up my phone on my mailbox.

Yep . . . I’d chosen Wonder Woman attire after seeing previews for and later watching the actual movie.

That lady can kick some butt and really speaks to how I try to face the challenges in my life.

Those are capes on the back of my socks.  I got them here.

This race was a pretty big deal for a couple of reasons.

First of all, I am not a person who likes crowds, especially when I’m going into them by myself.  Cue up my introverted, somewhat socially-anxious self.  I worry so much about getting lost, messing up, and looking plain old dumb.

Sigh.

Second of all, this was going to be my second ever in-real-life race.  It’s a lot different doing virtual races where it’s you versus your mind by your lonesome self.

This event was benefiting our local Guardian Ad Litem agency, which is such a worthwhile organization that provides much-needed services to local children.

I arrived at the race location at 6:30am, just as they were setting up.  I wanted to make sure I got my goody bag and t-shirt.

Then, I sat on a bench as I waited for others to arrive.  There was a gal sitting on the other end of the bench, and we got to talking.  It turned out that she’s the data clerk at the high school right beside my neighborhood.  We spent time chatting all about school stuff.  I learned that she had been in the military and currently has children serving.  My heart thumped a little bit harder at that.

She eventually got up to find her friends, so I began wandering.

I saw a gal I’m slowly getting to know from church.  As I’ve said many times, I am not gifted with the ability to engage in small talk.  It was comforting to see a familiar face, though.

I watched as a group of guys hammed it up with participants.  I borrowed this picture from Facebook, courtesy of the organization that hosted the race . . .

They were the BEST sports!  They posed with anyone who wanted a picture in between helping organizers set up stuff for the race.  They kept me smiling as I bided my time.

I saw a couple of other people I knew and spoke with them as well.  One of them asked me if I’d be running.

To my chagrin, I had to say no, that I was only walking.  I still cannot run; impact exercises do a number on my right heel, so running is still out.

I found a place to stretch my calf and foot shortly before the race.  My physical therapist would have been very proud of me . . .

Now, I’ve got to tell you one thing that bothered me a bit.

Shortly before the race began, a lady got on a microphone and asked for people who had signed up as walkers to go up to her so she could mark the bibs accordingly.

Y’all, NOBODY walked up there.

Nobody.

I’d signed up as a walker, but I didn’t really want anyone knowing this.

Why didn’t they note it on my bib when I picked it up earlier?  They already had my name on it.

I was mortified.

One of my friends had told me earlier that I looked like a runner, so I was very uncomfortable as I went up and got my “W” written on the bottom of my bib.

I wanted to have a sign on my back that said, “Trimalleolar Fracture Recovery Mode – Please Excuse this Walker.”

Sigh.

The race organizers could have done this differently.

Just sayin’.

Anyhoo, then it was time for us to line up.

Before we got to take off, the lady with the microphone made a big point of telling us that if we were walkers, we could not run.  We couldn’t even run ONE SINGLE STEP.

Yes, she said this.

Sigh.

So, the race started, and y’all, I got a little emotional.  I’m so glad that I was wearing sunglasses.

Oh, it wasn’t the fact that my two friends who were there patted my shoulder as they ran past me.

Ahem.

No, I was emotional because I was doing a REAL race, with REAL people, on a REAL course.

When I broke my ankle in November and read about the two-year recovery, I could not envision this day.

I indulged myself for a few moments before earnestly digging my feet in and pushing myself forward.

I love that the first song that popped up on my playlist was this . . .

I had a couple of goals for this race.

First, I wanted to break a 16-minute mile.  That’s slow, I know, but for me, sixteen minutes is actually fast to be walking given my recovery.

My second goal was to not be in last place, thus it was that I set my first sight on an older lady who was jog/walking the race just ahead of me.

Every time I would start to catch up with her, she would take off jogging.

Seriously, though, how in the heck was I supposed to compete with that?

I can be a bit competitive sometimes, even with unsuspecting 70-something year old people.

Ahem.

I did eventually pass her.

I was using my wireless Under Armour ear buds . . . the ones the Mr. got me for Christmas.  They tell me my heart rate, my pace, and the distance.  I got updates every half mile.

Y’all, I’ve got to tell you that my first pace time was between fourteen and fifteen minutes.

What the heck?  I wondered if I’d heard it correctly.

I kept going.

Although it was early, it was humid.  We were supposed to get rain later in the morning, so the air was heavy with moisture.

There were arrows painted on the streets, but I was still worried that I’d get lost, so I kept my eyes on the people way out in front.

There was a point where we had to cross a local bridge.  As I neared it, I had to hold myself back from running.

Y’all, I just wanted to take off.  I told my physical therapist about it this past Monday, and he compared it to a horse being let out of a gate.

Yep, that was me.  Holding myself back was so very hard, especially when I could see others running across the bridge.

Sigh.

There was a water station right before the bridge, but I didn’t get any at that point.  I wasn’t overly hot.  Yet.

The bridge is closed to vehicle traffic; people like to fish off of it.  The view was awe-inspiring.

The bridge increased in elevation; and the sun beat down on my face.

It.

Was.

Hot.

Sweat poured down my face, but I kept walking fast.  I did not want to slow down.

I saw my friends coming down in the opposite direction.  They waved as they passed me by.  This actually encouraged me, because it didn’t feel as though I was that far behind them.

After coming off of the bridge, we had to do a u-turn and run back in the opposite direction.

They really, really needed a water station here.  I was dying.

The good thing was that the sun was at my back on the return trip over the bridge, and there was a lovely breeze that cut through the heat.

I was steadily passing people even at the halfway mark.  There was the cutest little boy running with his dad.  It was pretty impressive!

After I came off of the bridge, I grabbed my cup of water and sloshed it down my neck like a pro.  Ha!  I didn’t even slow down as I threw it in the garbage can.

I was all about the pace at that point.

I had to chuckle when I went to turn the first corner.  Those guys dressed up in their law enforcement uniforms were cheering, “Go Wonder Woman!”  I was a little embarrassed.  I would have preferred to have been running instead of looking like a professional speed walker.

Ahem.

It wasn’t too long before I turned the final corner and headed down the homestretch.  The song that came on was appropriate . . .

I love it when I see God’s hand in the smallest details, don’t you?

My life of late has been quite the journey.

One of my friends had finished his race and was walking back in my direction . . . cooling off, I suspect.  He gave me a high five as he passed by me.

Then, I saw this . . .

People were yelling for me as I got closer.

I know my face turned red.  I really, really wanted to be running.

I almost missed the finish “chute” because of inexperience.  I didn’t realize there was a little tunnel you had to run through.  They had to direct me a bit.

I made it through, though, and someone ripped off the bottom part of my bib to scan it for the time because yes, this was a timed race.

I stopped the time on my Under Armour Record app.

I couldn’t believe it.  I’d completed the race in just over 43 minutes with a pace of 13:49!

I felt every single one of those seconds too, let me tell you!

I got a slice of orange and a bottle of water and cooled off.  Then, I sat on the bleachers (this was held at a park) and waited with people.  Why I waited, I have no idea, but I did.  My inexperience with races speaks volumes here.

Meanwhile, a gal in her early 30’s approached me and said, “I want to tell you that your outfit is the cutest I’ve seen today.”

Say what?

Did she really just say that to me?

Wow!

She made my morning!

She sat down, and we began talking.  It turned out that she’s in the Air Force.  Queue in the love.  We chit chatted, and it turned out that she was waiting for the awards ceremony.

Yep.  I’d had no clue.

Then, this gal invited me to join her team when they do the Color Vibe this fall.  She gave me her name and number too!  Take that, social awkwardness!

Then, they started calling out names of walkers and their times.  It turned out that they were giving medals to the top three finishers.  The first time I heard called out was 48 minutes.

I was confused because I knew I’d finished faster than that, but I never heard my name called out.  The girl beside me encouraged me to ask someone about it, but I was too uncomfortable about doing that.

Runners were handled differently.  They were separated by age groups.  I saw one of my friends win first place in his age group; his daughter, who is Rooster’s age, won for her age group.  My new little friend beside me won her age group, and a lady I’d met before the race won hers!  She had really inspired me.  She had told me about having a couple of surgeries and that she’d run several half and full marathons.  Y’all, I will not let this ankle injury prevent me from accomplishing a big goal I have.

Before I knew it, the event was over, and I headed home.

Still, the time/medal thing bothered me, but I really had to let it go.

Until the next morning.  After church, we went out to eat with friends, and one of the girls who was there was the young lady I mentioned earlier . . . the one I’m starting to get to know.

She sat beside me and pulled up the official times on Facebook.  Y’all, being a novice at this meant that I’d had not clue that the times had been posted.

Well, my name was at the top of the list for walkers.

I felt a little superficial, but y’all, I kind of wanted my medal.  My friend told me that she thought she’d heard them call my name too.

Sigh.

So, I sent a message to the organization that hosted the race and explained that I had seen my name at the top of the list but apparently had not heard my name called out.  I also told them that the race had been especially meaningful given my recovery process.

I was surprised to get a response back immediately.  The young lady told me that I could pick up my medal the next day from her office downtown.

I left my house an extra hour early since I had physical therapy at 9 and got my prize.

I told my physical therapist about the race as we chatted about a few other things.  He was pretty impressed, and I won’t lie – I got emotional.  This journey, as you well know because I keep on repeating myself, has been so hard sometimes.

I knew that it wouldn’t be easy.  I just had no idea.

I am grateful for the work ethic that God instilled in me.  Nothing has ever been handed to me.  It seems like I often get to do life the hard way.

As I told my physical therapist, I am thankful.  I have a story.  Stories are boring if they don’t have highs and lows.

My injury is a big part of my story right now, and this 5k is just one of the many high points.

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One Response

  1. SO MUCH TO SAY HERE.
    First – you did look so adorable – your outfit was perfect – for so many reasons. You ARE Wonder Woman.
    Arent races great? I think they give you extra pep you never knew you had.
    … & yeah, your fast walking time is basically my running time 😉 That’s amazing how fast you were going walking!!!!! You earned that sweat.
    & I’m glad you called & got your medal! SO DESERVED.
    … that is kinda pooopy that they ‘called out’ literally – the walkers – but I have to say, most races dont give awards for walkers so that’s pretty cool they do that.
    I am so proud of you. You inspire me so much lady. You just keep on trucking along!!!!!

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