Just Like The First Time

No, not that. Get your mind out of the gutter. 

I ran my first “race” since I got sick and was diagnosed with a lung condition that is going to take some working with to manage. I don’t know why I put race in quotations, but a small part of me feels “less than” as a runner. I feel like I am not a “real” runner. I feel like in the meeting last week for a fundraising 5k that I am the financial head for, in which I was in the company of a Boston Marathon finisher, that I was ‘less than’. We were organizing something for charity and “it’s just a 5k” kept getting thrown around… “Just run until you get tired… most people get tired close to 3.1, you know.”

Sigh. I do get tired at 3.1.  I felt “less than”.

When I was 235 pounds I never thought that I would love to run. I, honestly, love to do 5k’s as often as possible, because to me its like a group run with a ton of people who are having fun. It really keeps me motivated to keep going. I have been struggling to get back into it. I have been struggling to get back to a place where I would carve out time wherever I could get it in order to get a run in, some time on the treadmill, or in the very least do some strength training. I think I was victim to a series of unfortunate events and, honestly, a little bit of burnout. I had been going to school full time and working full time for four years – and as I say often – single parenting for over half of that time. Once I graduated, suddenly, I was breathing again. I was enjoying a glass of wine out on the deck, reading books, hanging out with my kids, going to softball and baseball games of theirs, having dinner and cocktails with my girlfriends – it was like suddenly a whole social world that I had been missing opened up so fitness and running fell by the wayside. And then I got really sick and was down for a solid month…and then… Yeah, haven’t done a lot since. I am going to fix that and get back at it and sometimes I utilized a 5k with a cool medal as an opportunity to reignite my love for running. I have expensive running shoes, cute clothes, bought some wireless earbuds (that I still have to tweak a little to stay in!), and I beef up the running playlist with stuff that keeps me moving with fresh tunes.

This 5k was not that 5k…

I was tired and sore as I have been lifting weights at home and doing calisthenics to ease back into it all. Drew pulled up the Kirkwood YMCA and dropped me off near the start so that I could grab my packet. Packets were gone. They tossed me a t-shirt and a number and that is when the sky opened up and it began to absolutely pour. I ran back to the car, even though I had the foresight to grab my Nike lightweight rain jacket – this rain was soaking right through it. I jumped back into the car and waited… and waited… until finally I had to get out of the car and actually go stand at the starting line. I begrudgingly, like a dog that was being put out of the house, got out of the car and headed over to shuffle into line. Put my hand over my heart for the National Anthem. I hit the inhaler twice. And then we were off. The rain had died down to a light sprinkle and I didn’t think it would be so bad! I ran the first three quarters of a mile effortlessly, feeling great! “I can do this. Alyssa is back!”. I watched people pushing strollers passing me. Oh well, my pace is my business. Firefighters ran the race in their full gear carrying the American flag on a pole… Yes. They even had an oxygen tank on their backs. I felt piddly and worthless in their wake. But I kept going… as soon as I rounded the corner up onto the long stretch down Lockwood – I suddenly could no longer see in front of me. I could see nothing. The rain was coming down so hard I was looking straight down at the ground to avoid being pelted in the face with big fat painful drops of rain that showed no mercy. The water was pouring from the back of my head around to my face, rushing off of my nose and my open mouth. I have an SPI Belt that has my phone and inhaler tucked inside of a little bounce-free pouch that is against my skin and just below my bra line. “Please don’t let my phone get soaked!” was my only thought until I was starting to lose sight of the little reflectors on the heels of the runner ahead of me… It might have been a man, however, the rain was so intense that I couldn’t even tell what this nondescript figure in front of me was – all I knew was that I needed to keep up with those little reflectors. My feet were becoming so incredibly heavy because of the water rushing down my clothing into my shoes. They felt like cement weights! I was trudging and had slowed down to nearly 11:15-30/mile roughly. It was BRUTAL!

Towards the final quarter mile, it stopped raining but there were significant amounts of flooding on the streets heading down to the finish. Lots of hopping around and sluicing back and forth between rather large puddles that you could not see the bottom of. When I got down to the finish line, Drew was standing on the sidelines cheering for me – as he often does. My chest hurt, my breathing was shallow and it was incredibly unpleasant all around. Once we got home and I was able to peel off the soaked clothing that had chafed all parts of me that you don’t want chafed…

No, my friends, this was not the run that reignited my passion to get back “at it”…

For your entertainment…

Drowned rat. And yes, that is mascara and eyeliner from the night before running down my face…

Next one… July 4th morning. Perhaps I will find a 10k close by, however, they are fewer and further between.

Tonight. Engagement photos! Got a lot accomplished my mother in law’s help this weekend! Centerpieces, linens, invitations, flowers. DONE!!!!


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