· I love my family and wanted to get in shape
· I have lost weight before and have always put it back on over time
· I changed my eating habits and started exercising
· I lost a bunch of weight and took up jogging
· I signed up for my first official run and then promptly skipped out on it to go party in New York with my wife
· I got lazy and started to beef up again
All right, now back to the story.
As a way of making up for missing the Army Run, I decided that I needed another goal to keep me on track and I signed up for the Rattle Me Bones run for the Ottawa General Hospital. To punish myself for my lack of perseverance on the Army Run, I signed up for the 10km run. The only problem was that I had roughly 6 weeks to get ready and the most I had ever ran to date was 8km and that was only once and it left me in pain for a week. I mean real and true pain (sore legs, sore groin, sore stomach?) but I will say in my defense that it was a really hot day in the summer and I had been going pretty hard on the exercise for about a week.
Undaunted, I decided I would try to run at least twice a week, doing one longer run and one shorter run. I also decided to take up playing hockey again, so I figured exercising three times a week should do the trick. Finally, with the run 2 weeks away, I went out on a Wednesday night and decided that I would do my regular running circuit twice which would mean doing about 9.5km. I figured if I could do 9.5km, I could finish the 10km run without too much difficulty. I headed out with my iPod fully charged and started running. I must say, it felt good to know that I was going to go the distance and I felt like Rocky in Rocky IV in the mountain training montage. It was really tough and I seriously thought I might pass out at about the 8.5km mark but I grizzled through it and managed to run almost the entire distance. I crapped out about 200 metres from my house but still felt great about the whole run except for the agony in my legs for the next 24 hours.
Except for the slight groin pull from playing hockey that occurred two days before the race and a great dinner party that kept me out much later than I probably should have been, when the day of the Rattle Me Bones race arrived, I was pumped and ready to go the distance. I travelled to the race site along with two friends of mine, who both also happened to be out late the night before, in a car that wreaked more of party after effects than serious runners, but by the time we arrived, we were all starting to feel the adrenaline kick in. Now over the years, I have competed in all kinds of sports but most of them were either team sports or individual sports like tennis so I was a bit unprepared for the hundreds of people milling around getting ready to compete. I tried to stay loose and kind of followed my more race experienced friends around like a lost dog.
Now, I should start by saying that I have always considered myself fairly non-competitive, but when we finally made our way to the starting line, I started looking around and sizing up the competition. I looked to my left and gave the middle aged women with her child in the running stroller the dagger eyes and turned to the right and gave the ‘ole you’re going down symbol to the 75 year old man stretching in his spandex pants.
The horn blew and I took off not so much like a shot, but more like the contents of the shot glass full of Saki still floating around in my belly. However, after about 10 seconds I realized two things:
1. Adrenaline is a wonderful cure for not enough sleep/too much to drink
2. I was actually running much faster than many of the people in this race
I blazed past runner after runner for the first 2km, thinking that this was awesome and frankly that I was awesome and I could run for ever. Then reality set in and I realized most of the people I had left in my dust were actually just pacing themselves and the great majority were now passing me. I picked a woman out of the throng that I thought I could keep pace with and for the next 2km I ran right behind her.
At about the halfway point, I realized that I was going to have to run my own race and further, that nothing was going to stop me from finishing this race. In order to make the time and distance go by faster, I decided that a group of fitness people who were wearing matching outfits were my direct competition and I needed to beat at least one of them to the finish line. The next 4km were spent going back and forth with these people and I can honestly say that I kind of started to actually hate them just a little bit. I’ll call this healthy, but I’m not sure that it actually was.
Finally, I turned a corner and passed the 9km sign and started the long uphill climb towards the finish. Now I know this race was for charity, but I can’t believe someone so sadistic would put a hill at the end of a race. This was just plain evil. I was determined to finish and more than that, I was going to finish ahead of one particular group that I had spent the last 2km trying to catch, so I put everything I had into running those last few metres.
I thought I was running incredibly fast but in hind-sight it was probably more like a brisk jog. Regardless, I did it. I crossed the finish line and beat all three of those other racers and better yet, I finished in a time of 61 minutes and 25 seconds which was about 10 minutes faster than I thought I would finish!
The run was so great that I have signed up to do another run on New Years’ Eve and I’d like to run a half marathon in 2012 but I’ll close with saying that when you accomplish something that you never thought you would do, it’s easy to start rewarding yourself and I have recently fallen out of some of my lifestyle changes and back into some of those old habits. However, as mentioned in Part One of this blog/novella, I am determined to get back on track, keep challenging myself, get into the best shape of my life and share all of these wonderful experiences with my family.
I’m curious to know if others experienced the same things that I did during my first race or if you’ve had an inspirational, life changing experience like the journey that I have been on with my family for the past eight, sorry nine months. If so, please share.