Words won’t suffice to explain the happiness I feel within me at this moment, as I write this post on my Shamrock 5k. I shall get into the reasons in a bit.
The Under Armour KELLY Saint Patrick’s Day Shamrock 5k takes place each year in the month of March to coincide with the weekend prior to Saint Patrick’s Day. In 2015, I signed up for the race as a ‘fun’ event to do with two of my close friends. It was my first race ever and I wanted to sign up for a fun race and the Shamrock 5k seemed ideal. On this day, you can see 5000 runners clad in neon green running down the historic Charles Street. My only goal for this race was to reach the finish line in one piece – and YES, I did it. Being a kid who was plump (I still carry around that “baby” fat of mine) and pretty lethargic, for whom physical education (PE) classes were the worst in school, even walking 5 kilometers seemed like a daunting task. But still, I decided to give it a try and I finished my first ever race in 47:31.6. It was a moment of joy for me to cross that finish line.
That’s the message (my favorite!) I received moments before my run… After all, what are brothers for!
A year goes by. I am still plump (hi hormones, what’s up?). However, in the past year, I had committed myself to a healthier lifestyle – trying to workout at least 3-5 times a week. Get my ass moving, no matter what. The weighing scale has barely budged. But, my stamina and endurance to run longer and faster than earlier, have been tiny successes for me. Some months I fell off the grid and some months, I was more dedicated than a professional athlete (okay, that’s an exaggeration!). The “workout” bug that infected me in a deadly fashion since the start of 2016, prodded me to sign up for the Shamrock 5k again. It would kind of mark my 1st anniversary into running and being more active than before.
And then arrives March 13th. Time to run that 5k. My only thought and mantra going into the race was: “It’s okay to let other people down because at the end of the day, you are doing this race for you and only YOU. Run it as best as you can, so that you don’t let yourself down“. With an anxious pang and an excitement pang, I was all pumped up for the race (my nails and hair tie were both in neon green). So yeah, I was all ready!
Mile 1: This mile went so fast! Or I felt it did. I roughly started the race at 1:23 pm and at 1:38 pm, I was texting my friend that I had reached mile 1. I jogged most of this part. It was downhill. I was the last person to cross the start line. That was another reason I wanted to push myself. Follow my brother’s strict advice to not come last. Mile 1 is what I shall always remember about the Shamrock race. People in neon green attire marching down Charles Street.
Mile 2: Upon crossing mile 1, my goal was to reach mile 2 at or before 1:55 pm. That’s a whole 17 minutes per mile, which is pretty much my comfort pace. I started walking most of this mile. My calves were so heavy – they felt heavier than the whole of me. But, I wanted to keep pushing myself. That was the promise I made myself – at any time during the race, I will not give up. Just push, push and push! It’s like giving birth to a baby. Once pregnant, you have no choice but to get the baby out. Likewise, I had no option but to reach the finish line. Traffic was closed and hence, my back-up Uber option was not going to work.
Mile 3: The weird thing is that I never saw the mile 2 marker. So, I was clueless where I was. I knew roughly it was past the water stop. But, that was just my guess from glancing at the route map during registration (almost 3 months prior). It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. From here, I knew that I had to give it my all or somewhat. I am good at Tabata – running high intervals in short time. So, decided to use that to my advantage. From here on, it was mental game. I kept counting 1..2..3..4..5…….20. During those 20 counts, I ran as hard as I could. Then, gave myself a 15-count break where I just walked. I did that almost 4 times. That probably helped me a lot. I really wanted to achieve a PR (personal record) in this race. Yay for stamina and endurance in one year. But, in the depths of our hearts, we all desire to be a bit better than last time.
I knew I was very close to the finish line and decided to give it my 100%. I began running again towards the finish line. When I saw 51:51 on the clock, I knew that 52 minutes wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t workout the entire year to touch 52 minutes. Come on! I ran those last 9 seconds like a crazy maniac just so that I wouldn’t touch 52 min. And I did cross the finish line in 52 minutes (51:59.1 to be precise). Running a 5k called for some yummy food and loads of pics!
I was nevertheless happy!!! 52 minutes was clearly not what I was expecting. I wanted to at least touch 47 minutes to beat my previous timing. I knew I had to wait until the official results came out, due to differences between gun time and chip time. I waited and waited and they did come out. But, it was uploaded only until 38 minutes. My great brother texted me – “May be they put up results for only the first 100”. Thanks bro! So encouraging!!! And at last, at 7 pm, when I checked again, I saw the entire results uploaded. I was elated, excited, overjoyed, on cloud nine… you can add any adjective you want here!!! I had crossed the finish line in 45:10.7 min.
Reminds me of this beautiful quote:
“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start”
When many people around me thought I was joking when I said I am going to run a 5k, when even more people thought that this fat girl and sports, that ain’t happening, when so many people around me didn’t believe in me, their words instigated a sort of revenge in me to prove them all wrong. Do I have a long way to go? Hell yeah! I am nowhere close to the fitness goals I have set for myself for this lifetime. I have miles to go (pun totally intended)! Yet, I know that, I can do it! It’s all about being slow and steady, being consistent each day, not desiring for overnight results and taking the ups and downs with equanimity. I am really grateful for the true friends and amazing family around me to always support me, as I try, one step at a time.
With all the positive energy and thoughts in me, this blog post and this wonderful day comes to an end as I hit the sack. Thank you for all the love! XOXO!