As I came into the new year I decided that this year would be different. I would stop dreaming and start doing. I made a list of goals for myself and on that list was to run a 10K. I knew if I was going to accomplish this I’d have to start running more often and to make sure I’d do that I signed up for the Seacoast Race Series. To complete the series you must run 6 of the 8 races offered, with two exceeding 5K in length. I noticed the first 10K of the series was the Market Square Day 10K which was on June 9th, so I signed up!
Race day arrived and my mom, who signed up as a walker, and I headed over to Portsmouth. Both of our stomachs were in knots. We were feeling anxious but excited. Adding to my butterflies was the “secret” goal I set for myself of running the 10k in under an hour.
The race started off very slowly as there were 2000 runners crowded into narrow downtown streets. When I saw the first mile marker and my time was over 10 minutes I was a little disappointed. I wouldn’t make it in under an hour if I kept that pace and I didn’t feel like I could move too much faster for another 50 minutes. Luckily I had my iPod blasting which helped me to pick up my pace a bit and I’m pretty sure the kids who were spraying hoses and holding sprinklers saved me from passing out along the way.
I came to a point in the race around the last mile or so where we had to run up a dirt hill which I was dreading. My legs were feeling like jelly and my body was begging me to stop but I kept telling myself to just keep on going, to not stop. As I was wrapped up in my own self-pity I noticed a woman running toward me. I turned down my music and heard her ask us to move to the other side of the road because an ambulance was on its way. I then looked behind me and watched her run more frantically down the road yelling to people to move to the opposite side of the road. I looked ahead and saw a man laying on the side of the road with several people kneeling around him, pouring water on his face and yelling desperately. Suddenly several of the by-standers stood up and began screaming at runners to move so that the ambulance could get through. I realized this was serious as the man was not moving and those surrounding him looked very concerned. I shared a look of fear and hope with the woman running next to me, said a prayer, and from there on out I don’t remember a whole lot of the race. I did a lot of thinking and realized that there will come a day when I wont be able to do this anymore and I better run as best as I could and not stop until I reached the finish line. I had no excuses and realized I was lucky to be alive and to be running this race.
I ended up reaching my goal and ran the race in a time of 59:29. My mom and I agreed before the race that we’d meet at the finish line and I would be there at the 1:30:00 mark as that was her goal. To my surprise as I was catching my breath and stretching in the shade, I saw my mom walk past me. I got her attention and she walked toward me with her beautiful smile shining across her face. I asked how she had finished so fast and she told me that she ran a lot of the course. Her time was 1:13:12! She did amazing and I’m so proud of her! We both felt great and were grateful that the race was over. We did what we set out to do and we both reached our goals!
I realized a lot during that race. You can truly accomplish anything you want to, no matter how difficult the task may seem. Through an unfortunate event I was able to feel appreciation for this life and the fact that I am able to run and do whatever I wish to do with my time here on Earth. I later found out that the man who had collapsed went into cardiac arrest but was later revived, thank God!
Now that I can cross “run a 10K” off my to-do list of 2012, it’s on to the next. I’ve set a goal to climb all of the 4000-foot mountains of New Hampshire. I’ve always thought of doing this but have never taken any steps toward accomplishing it. The last time that I was staying at my parent’s camp I discovered a book my dad created of his adventures in climbing the 4000-foot mountains and I became inspired. I decided it’s time for me to continue my own goal of conquering the 40+ mountains. I’ve already climbed six of them with my dad years ago and I’m continuing my journey this Friday when my dad and I will hike two of the 4,000+ foot mountains and I can’t wait!
What goals do you have? Are there things you’ve always thought about doing but never have? What are you doing to accomplish these goals? We only live once. Don’t take your time for granted!