By Mary M.
Sunday, June 3, 2012. It was a grey day, damp, with a cool breeze. A perfect day to roll over, pull up the covers and sleep until noon. But no, not me. In a fit of endorphin charged passion, I had committed to participate in the Corrib 5K in West Roxbury, my first 5K.
My morning meditation was “The journey is just as important as the destination.” Then I ran around chanting, “You’re mad, you’re mad!” Finally feeling all Zen, I dressed in running clothes, a perfectly coordinated navy /grey ensemble. If I was going to be carried off in a coma, I at least wanted to look good. I thought what’s the worst that can happen? Too scary, stop thinking.
Once I arrived it Billings Field, I felt renewed. The sense of dread was still there, but excitement was slowly pushing it aside. The scene was controlled chaos. I stood in line to find my badge number, then to receive my badge. Number 78, exactly the number of times I had to go to the bathroom before the race started. But I wasn’t nervous. Terrified, and confused, but not nervous.
At last the friendly faces of Gerri, Sharon, Benet and Pauline, my fellow runners, arrived. They all looked remarkably calm. Mike came for moral support, to cheer us on, and to take photos to post on You Tube. Carefully listening for directions, I remembered Dodi’s inspiring words, “When you hear the bell go off, start running, when you cross the finish line stop running.” The bell sounded, on went the IPod and I started running.
Breathe, pace, breathe pace, on this went for what seemed like days. I turned back to see where my friends were and bumped into a parked car. Mumbling,”excuse me” (first You tube video) I ran on. Just keep running. The crowd was yelling, but all I heard was my music and my heart pounding.
Looking up I noticed we were on the VFW Parkway. Water was being offered by sweet faced smiling children. I stopped, drank, thanked them and ran on. Keep running. Then I noticed people slowing down, some walking, and then a huge sign loomed above me, West Roxbury Heartbreak Hill.
At that moment I had strong empathetic feelings for Wile E. Coyote, when he realizes the anvil falls for him. I believed my facial expression was the same. I slowed to a fast walk; actually I wanted to crawl on all fours. Finally I reached the top of the local Everest. What’s that ahead, crowds, a banner, could it be? Yes! The finish line, Nirvana!!
From somewhere deep inside, I got a second wind. Or maybe it was the promise of free beer at the end. Whatever, I was almost there. I was going to finish and I wasn’t dead. I sped up, music pounding and headed for the finish line. Downhill momentum, thank you physics, but wait, was it hysteria or was the finish line moving away from me? Oh good, just a hallucination. Crossing the finish line, the crowd yelling, I felt first relief, then pride. I finished my first 5K in 40:00:01.
Let me just say now, I couldn’t have finished if it wasn’t for the help and support from Dodi, Jason, Brittanie and all the trainers who answered all of my millions of questions. Bright blessings to the girls, Gerri, Benet and Pauline who ran with me because, well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Yes we are still friends. Thanks, Mike for being there at the end, a smiling familiar face guiding me toward an empty chair. Sharon, your post race hospitality was greatly appreciated, as well as the use of your bathroom! Huge thanks to the runner in the blue t shirt whose pace I mimicked. I saw he had the same deer in the headlights look as I did, and thought he was a good choice to follow. I signed on for another 5K on June 10th, and on July 3rd. Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Well call me crazy because I expect to do better next time.