Today is the Fit Friends’ Revolution first 5K in Central Park NYC. (members are also doing it from their hometowns from around the world) We hope you join us this fall for the next 5K. It will change your life and you can involve the whole family.
Until then, please enjoy Alison’s blog. It is remarkable. She started with a 5K 2 years ago and has done 32 races, including 5 half marathons and 5 triathlons. I am so proud of her. But more importantly, she is a great role model for her kids.
It’s a little bit before 8AM, and I’m lined up in a corral for a race in Central Park. It’s sunny and hot out, and I’m starting to sweat, though the only thing I’m really moving so far is my brain. I’m not rethinking the course in my head or planning some bold move near the end in order to win my age group. My brain is already working and my body is already sweating because this is my most important race to date.
What could be so important about today’s race? Is it the marathon? Nope, that’s not for 3 and ½ more months (and Yikes!, by the way). Is it my 100th race? No, I’m only up to 33 ☺. Is someone famous running in this race? In New York City, you’d never know (in previous races I’ve seen celebrity chef Rocco Dispirito and Bob Harper from “The Biggest Loser”), but that’s not it either.
As I think about the significance of today’s race, I get sidetracked a few times. The corrals are tight this time, and as much fun as it is to run with about 8,000 of my closest friends, I’m feeling a bit confined. I’ve been nursing a sprained ankle for about 4 weeks now, and it’s throbbing just from standing here, clearly letting me know that it does not think that a 10 mile run, 2 one mile swims and 1 sprint distance triathlon in the last week alone are a good definition of “nursing”.
OK, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. This race marks the 2 year anniversary of my participating in running races. Two years ago I lined up for this exact same race. The only difference (aside from the sprained ankle), is that back then I was a total newbie. Peter K knew it was my first race and I was as nervous as a turkey on Thanksgiving, so he called me on my way to the race to try to calm me down. I remember the strategy he gave me: “Have fun. Oh, and line up on the side so you don’t get trampled.” My own strategies were to finish the race without throwing up on the runner next to me.
A lot has happened in 2 years. I’ve competed in 32 other races, including 5 half marathons and 5 triathlons. I’ve burned through 6 pairs of running sneakers and 4 swimsuits. I’ve gained confidence and taught my kids to think that all mommies go for long runs every Saturday morning. I’ve learned to refer to myself with words like “runner” and “athlete”.
At the same time, some things have stayed the same: I have remained at my goal weight for over 2 years, which is roughly 2 years more than I ever have before. I still love ice cream and chicken wings, and my all-time favorite food is still “more”. But I’ve learned perspective, to plan for when to be “bad”, and that I deserve the ability to work out for 2 hours non-stop more than I deserve dessert.
The race ended up being great. I ran it 2 minutes faster than I did 2 years ago, even with a sprained ankle. When I got home I took my race bib off and put in a scrap book that I have of all my race bibs to date (thus how I know I’ve done 33 races. I may be a genius, but I’m not quite nerdy enough to have memorized all of them). I don’t keep that scrap book to rehash memories of bygone races. I keep it to remind myself of all my hard work, and how far I’ve come.
I have some pretty big races coming up in the next few months: a half marathon at the end of July, an Olympic distance triathlon at the end of August, and that (Yikes!) marathon in November. But I think the most important race of the year happened this morning on a four mile stretch of Central Park.