My first 5K: Its not pretty!
How’s this for a 5K mantra?
“It’s just putting one foot in front of the other and repeating for 3-point-blah-dee-blah miles! Thank goodness it’s not 5 miles! That might kill me. I can do this, it’s only 3-point-something miles! I can do this.
Wait…I can’t do do this. Are you an idiot?
No, I CAN do this.
Wait…Are you stupid? You should be on the beach with Hannah! This is the Bahamas! You’re somewhere in the middle of the Caribbean on one of 200-something beautiful white sand Bahamian islands and you are running??? Are you serious!? Who’s idea was this, anyway?
Yep. You’re a total idiot. For sure… But it’s ok…
YOU CAN DO THIS!!!
I have a secret. I’m not a runner. Shocked? (I hate running!) So, perhaps (obviously) I don’t have that self motivation mantra crap thing down yet. But that was a glimpse of my conversation with myself as I started the run…
Let’s back up a second…I may not run, but I can say that I’m very strong. I have to lift my husband multiple times a day! Not many people my size can do that! Dude, I got huge biceps!💪🏻💪🏻 (I’ve built strength and muscle over the years despite struggling with my disease and with the blessing of a treatment that helps tame my “roller coaster” of strength and weakness… through hard work, determination, building slowly, and maintaining through all the ups and downs. . .but endurance is another monster I am trying to figure out.)
Besides the obvious, why is running different from walking?
I’d been looking forward to this run for months. I dreamed about doing my first 5K on Disney’s island in the Bahamas ever since I read about it after booking our spring break adventure back in December…what better place to do my very first 5K? Disney is great for everything! Disney makes dreams come true!
My first 5K was actually supposed to be a Color Run back in October, but I had to have unexpected cardio thoracic surgery to remove a tumor in my chest/near my heart and I was disappointed. Then recovery from surgery was a total “bee-itch”. Like the biggest, baddest, meanest “bee-itch” you know, plus a few punches in the gut and cracked ribs. That bad of a “bee-itch”…
But, don’t frown! I’m all better now! Yay me!
So, I wanted this 5K even more now that I overcame a pretty crappy time in my life and came out the other side in one piece (well, minus one tumor and with a few extra surgical holes that were sewed up)! Granted I am not in as good of shape as I was before surgery… But, I have drive and motivation😊 that counts for something!
I signed up to participate in the 5K after I boarded the boat. (Ok, I might’ve had lunch first? Priorities, people!) The run was the next morning. I had the ticket in my hand! Meet at 8:15am on deck 4. It was official! I’m doing my first 5K!
The next morning, things did not go as planned. We were running late for reasons I shouldn’t divulge here, and you really don’t want to know… Anyhow, the point is, for reasons beyond my control, I missed the meeting time and my fellow runners were already gone by the time I went to the meeting place on deck 4😢
Matt and Hannah scooped me up (figuratively, I didn’t really collapse, I figured I’d save that kind of fun for the run IF it was going to happen at all! It didn’t, so don’t scroll ahead to find out) and they rushed me off the boat. I argued the whole way saying there was no point! I missed it! They told me to hurry and catch up! I was near tears and ready to quit and say it wasn’t worth it. I dragged my feet…dug in my heels… I didn’t see anybody from the race anywhere in sight once we disembarked the ship!
I was too late. It was now almost 8:45 and I was 1/2 hour late from when they all got their race bibs on the boat! Seriously! What a loser! I was embarrassed and wanted to just hang my head in shame and go to the cabana and play in the sand and ocean with Hannah. Maybe I’d have a chance to do it some other cruise…if there is ever another cruise? What if a tsunami eats this island before I get another chance to cruise? Who knows?!
We headed towards the tram that takes you to the main area of the island and where the race supposedly began at some point between 8:15 and 8:45…But, of course I wasn’t there, so how would I know? Matt and Hannah kept pushing me to just GO!!! They were walking and not taking the tram and so I headed over to walk with them, thinking I was giving up! But they yelled, GOOOO as the tram showed up. Get on and GO!!!
So, I took the Damn Tram (That’s what it’s called when you’re sour and feeling sorry for yourself)
Stop two! Get off! Great. There’s a problem. I wasn’t sure where the official start line was and was too embarrassed to ask. But, I am not a quitter. And I don’t ever want Hannah to see me quit!
JUST DO IT! (Thanks Nike!)
So, I wandered a little after getting off the tram, then finally mustered up the courage and asked a crew member standing near the finish line, which I assumed might also be the start line, since there were no other paved paths in sight…
The guy was busy unpacking and straightening out the brightly colored medals he pulled from a very large box. He was piling them on a table under a big umbrella to hand out in anticipation of the super fast runners who would be crossing the finish line soon.
He stared at me for a second, probably wondering if I was serious. Shook his head and confirmed that I was indeed too late to get a bib number (my cheeks were now two shades redder than they were from the hot sun because he was confirming how late I was, and I felt silly)…
BUT, he said if I’m fast (which is totally laughable!!! Ha!) maybe I can catch up to the stragglers. There are always stragglers at the end, he said!
Hmmmm. Ok. I assure you, I won’t be fast. But, I can be as fast as possible to try to find the people at the tail end of the race, right? Hope somebody tripped or got a side cramp and slowed down their pace! Sure lets hope for THAT! (Oh wait. That’s not nice… Forget I said that)
So, off I went!!!! I was jogging bibless! And ALL ALONE! Kind of depressing, really. This isn’t how I imagined it. I was hoping for support, even if it was merely following someone or having neighbors jogging along side of me. But, there I was. All alone. Bibless. Will they even give me a medal at the end if I don’t have a bib? Sure. That medal guy will remember me… I’m the girl who clearly has no idea what she was doing. The late runner with no chance…and no bib. Whatever! As long as I make it out alive!
Get going! Keep moving!
I admit it crossed my mind a few (hundred thousand) times whether it was really worth it? Should I just turn back? Nobody would know… I could hide on a different part of the beach until the rest of the runners get back! Ha!!! No. I’m not a quitter. Keep going. My shins are already hurting at this point. I’m sweating. For what? Who knows if they’ll even have any medals left to give me at the end because I’m so late?
I kept saying it’s not about the medal. (But it kinda is!?!?)
Keep going! You jack___!!!
Just Keep MOVING!!!
No!!! Do NOT stop at that first water station even tho you’re thirsty. (I’ll come to regret this decision later) Sacrifice!
Sweating. Panting. Panting. Sweating. Shins burning…
Will I regret this “time saving” no water decision because I’m jogging faster than my comfort zone?
You need to make up a few minutes! A few seconds! Whatever!
Minutes…seconds… Oh Shizz! Realization creeps in that I forgot to time myself? What the heck, Terra? Without a bib and now timeless, too? I’m just starting my 5K career and I’ve already failed two important things!!!
Then I saw it. A mom and son walking ahead. A mirage? Nope! I found the end of the racers! Holy guacamole!!! I found it! Holy crap! There it is! YES!!!! All I have to do is stay slightly ahead of them… Push harder… Feel the burn. Wait! No! Don’t feel the burn! It hurts like a mo fo!!! Forget the burn! Maybe it’ll eventually go numb! Just push through!
As I sloooooowly close in on them (think geriatric turtle trying to catch up to other turtles), I hear the mom giving her son a hard time for being so slow. He looked about 11 years old (minimum age to race was 10, or I would’ve had Hannah with me!)
Rude Mom is clearly a seasoned runner and its bothering her that she’s last, and WALKING with her son. Really??? I wanted to cry for him (I was near tears from my shins, too). I wanted to tell him GOOD JOB, buddy!!! Keep it up!!! It doesn’t matter if you’re last! But, I was panting and too short of breath to share my kind words. I didn’t trust my mouth to form actual words at this point. So, instead I tried to smile at him as I pass (sloooooowly). Then I realize, I need to listen to my own advice! Who cares if you’re last?
They were a short distance behind me for most of the first loop. I also saw a couple more people ahead of me who are walking. They disappear around distant bends and reappear at longer stretches… Much too far for me to ever reach them.
I hear rude mom asking her son repeatedly if he wants to try running again and stop walking. He says no the first 8 times. She sprinkles in comments about how if she was with his sister they’d be done already! Really? I contemplated backing up and tripping her, but I needed to conserve energy. Finally, the 9th time she asked, he’s ready. Probably to shut her up and run away from her evilness! Soon, they are passing me.
Shizz. I am the lonely turtle again. Am I really last again? I don’t even know. All I know is I’m tired, my mouth is dry, my shins hurt… I want to quit again.
No. I won’t quit! I won’t. I owe this to myself. I can’t go back to the cabana where Matt and Hannah await my arrival and tell them I failed. I’m NOT a quitter! NO WAY! I’m stronger than this! Not.A.Quitter… No way. I keep moving one foot in front of the other, trying to concentrate on not tripping or collapsing.
I feel as if the 5k is a symbol of overcoming something huge from childhood. As a child, I would’ve never dreamed of completing a 5K. (If you don’t know the reason, that’s a whole other blog post or 20…this one is too long as it is) (see the post I wrote later: “My Personal Rollercoaster” for my story!)
Swearing. Panting. Feet pounding and flapping…I’m really sweating now. Gross.
I must look like hell. Let’s see…so I try to take a pic while I’m running! (Everyone does that, right? No? Whatever.)
The fight in my head goes round and round for a couple miles…I’m finally rounding curves I’ve seen before. Wishing the 5k was on a course where you didn’t have to loop twice in one area because I longed to be entertained… distract me from the exhaustion!!! But I’m seeing the same things over and over again again. (that reminds me of a stupid joke… Pete and Repeat are on a boat. Pete falls off. Who is left? *Repeat!* Ok, Pete and Repeat are on a boat. Pete falls off. Who’s left? *Repeat!* ok, Pete and Repeat… You get the point! If you gain nothing from this post, at least you have a dumb joke to share with someone!)
At some point, I actually slowed down (if that was even possible since I was already moving like a snail, but I did!) and took a photo of one of a few interesting nautical displays sprinkled along the path…
(Well, it looked a lot cooler than this in person…half delusional from heat stroke and sweat in my eyes… Gross. I think my sweat clouded the photo! Or was it steam from my hand? Regardless, I couldn’t stop and retake it. Yet, I wanted to remember something from that path.
Then, I start to feel PANIC creep in. I’m.All.Alone…again!!!
I’m never going to finish. I’m going to cry… Don’t cry! Don’t waste water!
Ok. Let’s make a deal! My shins are burning… I at least need to make it to the next water station…I’m so thirsty. If I have to wimp out and stop and rest, at least I won’t shrivel up like a raisin and I can rehydrate at the darn water station.
Yes. I swear and verbally abused myself in my head the whole time. By this point Id muttered every swear word I know inside my head! I hate running!!!
Ok. Second water station. We have a date. Be ready for me! I can do this…
I finally flap my tired feet and stumble my way to the water station and…SHIT!!! There are NO cups left. Really? Yes, really….Because it is in fact, the same water station I passed earlier (since I was now on the second and last lap of this stupid farting loop!) and all the other runners already passed it twice and nobody saved me a cup!
Now I’m bibless.timeless.cupless…
Figures. So, now I have to wait until I finish to get a darn drink! Unless of course I fall over and pray for a Disney crew member on a golf cart to roll by and scrape me up off the pavement? It’s a SUPER clean island! They won’t leave my pathetic blob there to bake and melt into the pavement. They’ll scoop me up and take me away, for sure!
No. I won’t be Mickey Mouse roadkill. I can’t have them deliver me like that to the cabana where my family awaits! I can do it and stay upright! Come on feet! Keep flapping and moving me forward!!!
I’m still vertical. I’m still moving forward…
I keep moving. I think I’m moving? I’m going so very sloooow…The shin burn is melting my lower legs…I hope I am still moving forward?
The mental noise in my head is deafening. My hands are shaking. Is it dehydration? Should I have drank out of the darn water dispenser without a cup? Pretty sure it goes against the Disney ship wellness policy! They hand out disinfecting hand wipes everywhere! I doubt they want my mouth near the spout. Or maybe I took too much Albuterol this AM? That makes me jittery… No, my muscles are starting to fail me. I know this feeling too well.
Ok… I need a distraction. Drown it out with music! Shizz. I forgot my headphones.
But I knew music was the only thing that’d get me to the finish. So, I turned on my phone anyway and stuck it in my bra and hoped it wouldn’t have sweat damage at the end!
Now I jogged (read: walked with an extra painful bounce!) to the tunes of Taylor Swift, since apparently I was too hot and tired to search for something else more jog worthy!
I finally got to the point I remembered from the beginning of the course! YES!!! I’m almost done!!! Round one more corner and I’m DONE!!!
I rounded the corner and there it was!!! WATER!!!! And CUPS!!!…wonderful glorious cups!!! oh, and the finish line and medals😊
There were still people hanging around the area taking pics of themselves and their medals.
Once the sweat drained from my eyeballs, I actually saw some people finishing after me! HUH? But before I got my hopes up about my timing and not being dead last… I overheard people saying some people decided to make it a 10K, and ran it twice! Twice? Really? Show offs. I was happy my legs fumbled and stumbled me through 5!
No wait…Small goals… Small goals and the quest for water and cups helped me get the job done. 😉
Meanwhile back at the cabana…