Monday, February 14, 2011

First Ever 5k--FINISHED!!

Well, what a week that was. After complete work insanity for three days, I ended up in Corpus Christi, TX for work on Thursday afternoon and all day Friday for a client visit with a coworker. Great experience for me, but it made for a really long week.

So, Sunday was the big day. My first ever 5k race. I thought there were thousands that ran the race, but in reality there were 2 events happening in Wash Park which made it seem bigger that it really was. There were 509 finishers for the Valentine's Day 5k, and I was one of them. But before I tell you how I did, I want to tell you how I felt...

I was terrified. I had a few little butterflies as I was picking up my race bib, then I realized I had to pee...only we were a little late and the line was really long. So, I figured I could hold it for an hour or so. Then came the national anthem and it became very real for me. As Lisa and I crossed the start line, I felt a wave of tears and vomit all at the same time. It was like my first ski meet all over again. There were so many people on this narrow path that it took us a good mile to even out. The first mile happened right on schedule, 12 minutes: 30 seconds. A few seconds off pace, but I chalked that up to the log jam at the beginning. And then the sun crested the buildings. My face began to BURN and I realized that I was WAY over dressed for the 60 degree temperatures.

I was wearing my Under Armour cold gear pants, two t-shirts and a jacket. I was able to take the jacket off and tie it around my waist, but the 2 t-shirts had to stay race bib was pinned to both of them. The second mile finally had a water stop. They gave me 2 sips when I really wanted a gallon, but that's OK. It gave us a 90-second walking break to regroup. I felt so much better. But then I had to run another mile plus a little bit.

That third mile...oh, my. I got about half way through and told Lisa that I was going to puke. And this is why she's one of my best friends...she looked at me and said, "ok, fine. You've got 30 seconds to either puke or catch your breath, then we finish strong." I didn't puke. I walked for my 30 seconds and kept going. Even sprinted a little at the end.

I finished in 40 minutes and 7 seconds (Lisa was 40:06). About 3 minutes off pace. But the feeling of accomplishment that came with it was overwhelming. I was hot and sweaty and thought my hands were going to explode because they were so swollen. But I was so proud of what I had just done that I cried all the way home. I mean REALLY cried. I couldn't control it and I really didn't know where the tears were coming from. It was somewhere deep down in a place that I think I bury emotions sometimes.

Yesterday I spent in and out of a weepy emotional state. And it took me most of the day to figure it out (because all those tears really annoyed me). So, in a long winded, share too much, kind of way, here's what I figured out:

I carry some extra weight and have for most of my adult life. There was a time when I reached my goal but that was because I paid out the nose for a personal trainer to work me hard three days a week. As soon as I couldn't afford to do that any more, the weight came back on. I have been plagued by injuries in my knee and my foot, and generally had the attitude of "I am not a runner. I have never been a runner and I will never be a runner." I never really pushed myself to any sort of limit. I am good about getting a good sweat on at the gym, but seriously, the slightest sign of fatigue and I'd slow down or just stop.

From a self esteem perspective, well, I have come a long way, and until I actually had some, I faked it. And honestly, most of it has come since I met Chris. He's good for me. But for the 29 years leading up to that day I had some rough times through school and a practice wedding that only made matters worse. For 29 years, other people believed in me more than I believed in myself. And I have buried that so deep and faked it so well for so long that I actually thought it went away. Well, SURPRISE! Those feelings are still there, and very much alive.

The Jenna that ran the race yesterday was not Jenna today. It was the Jenna from years ago that never thought she could do it. And yesterday I invited her out to play and see how much fun life can really be. The old Jenna didn't believe the new Jenna could really ever do that, although new Jenna was pretty sure she could.

I think that yesterday, FINALLY, I put to rest some of the demons that have been holding me back. And now I can't wait to see what else they've been preventing me from doing. Maybe the old me can hang out with the new me in harmony and happiness. It's nice for all this stuff to finally surface. I want it to keep erupting like this so that I can keep moving forward.

And the best part, I have a long run date with Lisa every Saturday morning at 9:00. On the docket for this Saturday...4-5 miles. And it feels really good.


  1. I am soooo proud of you. I loved the old Jenna but I think I will really love the new one. Realization feels good and you have done so well to take on a 5K. Some days I can't get down the driveway so have an extra run for me.

  2. Amazing post:) Thannks for sharing, congrats on finishing the race and for new/old Jenna...the best is yet to be.

  3. I am in the "I'm so proud of your camp" over committing to, entering and completing the race. It isn't about the finish time, it is the knowledge that you REALLY did it! Running is NOT a team sport, YOU did it.

    Thumb your nose at that old Jenna over the race, and then make friends with her, she helped you get to who you are fine person.

  4. Jenna,
    Congrats on finishing your race! Your post brought a tear to my eye. I just want you to know that growing up (from kids into our adulthood), I always looked up to you as being such a confident and positive role model for me....and I still do. The confidence and sense of accomplishment that you built in yourself when you finished that race on Sunday will be your keep on running.
    Love ya.

  5. You made me a good way. I'm so proud of you!!!