Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My journey to and through the Epic 5K: Part 2

The music is getting louder and louder, the crowd starts moving towards the starting line, we salute the American flag as The Star Spangled Banner is piped through the speakers and then the countdown begins.



5....What am I doing here???....4....Man I sure hope I don't fall down....3....Hope there aren't too many hills....2....Yep, my shoes are tied....1....GO!!!

The race begins and the crowd moves as one through the starting line. We are elbow to elbow trying not to trip over each other for about the first 150 yards then the super runners take off and leave me in their dust. Then one of the craziest things I thought I wouldn't see during a race happens. Some guy peels off from the pack and takes a shortcut between a parking lot and building! The further we make it into the race the crowd spreads even thinner.

The crowd before the race
I make it about 6/10 of a mile before I have to stop running and walk for a bit. My shins, which haven't bothered me anytime at all during training, start to tighten up and hurt...a lot. I alternate between running and walking until I finally listen to my wife and stop completely and stretch them out. We keep pushing on up the hills and then down the hills, along the straight aways and around the corners and curves. My wife, who encouraged me all the way through, would pick out a building, stop light, etc. that would be up ahead and we would run all the way there then take a break.

Trying not to pass out

I'm going to stop telling about my race experience right now to tell about one of the most motivational things I have ever seen. There was a large group of blind runners participating in the race! Each blind runner had a guide runner that would guide them through the course and keep them motivated.  Every time I would start to think I wouldn't be able to complete the race, I would just think about how someone who was blind had every excuse not to run but yet they were still there competing!

Words can't explain how awesome these blind runners are! 

Ok, so back to the rest of the race. All along the route were groups of people there holding up signs and cheering everyone on. They probably don't realize it but if there words of encouragement helped me I know there were hundreds of other people that were helped out as well. Finally we made it to a water station where it looked like a bunch of high school kids were volunteering. A simple cup of water never tasted so good!

The third mile finally begins and we are in the home stretch. There's one more hill to take care of then we are in the final straightaway and can hear the music blasting at the finish line. My wife picks out a place for us to kick it into high gear and we speed up until we cross the finish line. I made it without passing out on a sidewalk! All of the mornings spent getting up early in the cold have paid off, I finished my first race and overall it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I finished at 43 minutes and 24 seconds, a per mile pace of 14 minutes. Looking back if I haven't had to stop and stretch I could have had a better overall time.

Best banana...ever
Taking a break and showing off my medal

There's not a chance in anything that I could have done it on my own. Starting with everyone of the volunteers, all of the participants that cheered each runner on to my super awesome wife for being the voice keeping me going. It was definitely a group effort to make me run a race! Not sure if I'm going to turn into a full time runner but I can see myself getting out a couple times a week and making a lap or two. And to everyone that might have doubts if they can run a race, if I can do it, I promise that you can too!

6 comments:

  1. Way to go, buddy! Stick with it and you'll fall in love with, while simultaneously hating, running.

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    1. Thanks Mark! I can see exactly how you can hate and love it all at the same time!

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  2. Excellent job and really nice time! Proud of you and I look forward to reading about your first 10K, 1/2 marathon and finally marathon experiences.

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    1. Thanks again! I think I'll just stick to 5Ks and let Tiff handle the bigger races!

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  3. Awesome job, Ben! Those first races are tough, but you finished and had a great support system. My wife did the same for me! Now I am running every day 3-5 miles a day and we encourage each other. Way to go and good luck on the next one. And you know there will be a next one.

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    1. Thanks Al! I sure couldn't have done it without some support along the way! I'm pretty sure you are right about there being a next one as bad as I hate to admit it publicly!

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