Goal: Accomplished!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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Run Baby, Run

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Yesterday I ran my first 5k of the year.  I signed up for the Seacoast Road Race Series a couple of months ago which is a series of 8 races in the seacoast area.  In order to complete the series you must run 6 of the 8 races, with 2 of them exceeding a 5k.  I signed up because I thought it would be a good way to motivate myself to keep running and to stay active. I’ve never run anything longer than a 5k and have never trained to run. I usually just show up at a race, run my best, and feel sore for the next 3 days, not to mention feeling like I’m going to vomit and die immediately after the race.

My friends & family know that I’m your typical nervous nelly who struggles when my routine gets off-track.  Knowing that little tid-bit, you wont believe the morning I had yesterday… it was the first race of the series and I was running a course I’ve never run before, all by myself.  I had my Garmin all set up as I drove to the race and of course right as I was turning off the highway onto the exit, my Garmin let out a loud beep letting me know that the battery was about to die.  At the first stop sign I rustled around for the charger and plugged it in, as I knocked my iPhone onto the floor.  I took a deep breath and just kept on driving.

When I reached the address of the race, I saw a sign for event parking and found a spot.  I had no idea where I was supposed to go to pick up my bib as I didn’t see any signs for the race.  I awkwardly interrupted a group of women to ask if they knew where I was supposed to go.  At this point I knew I needed to use the restroom but figured that’d be my last stop right before the race.  After getting the most general set of directions I’ve ever been given, to “cross two streets and you’ll see some sort of sign,” I started walking toward the direction the woman pointed.

I saw a sign for registration and approached the table.  Of course, I was at the registration for the kids fun run.  When I asked where I was supposed to go for the 5k, I was given directions guided by landmarks such as the pool and “the big set of stairs,” neither of which I knew the location of.  I smiled, walked away and began walking toward a crowd of people.  I finally found the registration table and got into line.  When I reached the table a woman asked my bib number to which I replied that I didn’t know and gave her my name.  I was then told I had to get out of line and go to another table to find my bib number and then return to the line to get my bib.  I took another deep breath, kept some choice words that I was thinking to myself, found my number and got my bib.

I then had to run back to my car, drop off my jacket and keys, and grab a quick bite of my Larabar.  I quickly jogged back to the race area carrying my iPhone, headphones, bib, & 4 safety pins, in search of bathrooms.  I saw a never-ending line and my immediate thought was that I would either have to hold it in & take a chance of peeing my pants on the course (which would make me run faster) or use the bathroom and start the race late.  I got into line, hands sweating and shaking, like the stress ball that I occasionally am, and took more deep breaths and tried to calm myself down.

I asked a woman behind me where the start line was and she kindly  pointed to the direction and then thought it would be a good idea to tell me that she does not like this race; that it was the “worst of the series…so many hills…I don’t know why they do this to us!” and proceeded to laugh in my face.  At that moment, all I could think of was ‘I’m on the verge of peeing my pants and that is NOT what I want to hear right now.’  Eventually I made it into the bathroom and to the start line with 3 minutes to spare.  I put my headphones on, started my playlist, did a couple last minute stretches in the cramped amount of space that I had, and took one final deep breath.  I reminded myself that although the entire morning was a disaster, I made it to the start line with time to spare and now I just had to run.  I had originally set a goal for myself to run the 5k in under 29 minutes but before the gun went off I decided I’d shoot for under 30 considering the day’s events, the fact that it was my first 5k of the year, I didn’t know the course, and it was “the worst of the series” from what I’d heard.

I’m not sure if it was the frustration of the morning’s events or the adrenaline rush that I get when running a race, but I ended up running my personal best with a time of 26:18.

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I realized a lot about myself yesterday.  After that disastrous morning, and after driving to the race on my own and running it by myself, I feel proud, strong, independent and confident.  I didn’t let a bump in the road (or 8) set me off track and ruin my day.  Sure, it was a crazy morning, but I was able to bite my tongue, suck it up, breathe, and focus my attention where it needed to be; and I came out of it with my best time and a feeling of pride.   I think that sometimes, things happen in order to show us that we are stronger than we think we are.  I’m so glad that I signed up for the Seacoast Road Race Series and committed myself to a healthy, active lifestyle!

Next race: the Kittery5k on May 20th.  Hope to see you there!

To sign up for the Seacoast Race Series, go to: http://www.proportsmouth.org/seacoastseries.cfm

To sign up for the Kittery5k:  http://www.kittery5k.com/

Kittery Fire Association 5K Run and Walk

As a source of extra motivation (because we can use all we can get right now), we’ve signed up to run a 5k on May 20th!  We’ve both run this race in the past and it’s a challenging course with lots of hills (we’ll get a good booty work out :)).

We’re looking forward to the challenge & have been adding extra treadmill workouts to get ready.  We’re both planning on running outside once the weather gets warmer and the nights get lighter (remember to turn your clocks ahead this weekend!).  We’re also excited to say that many of our friends will be running with us!  That’s the best part – we find so much joy in sharing our love for fitness with others. We’ll be blogging about our progress as we train and hope that you’ll join us on this adventure if you haven’t already signed up!

– Rachel & Ashley
* To sign up for the 5k, go to: http://www.kittery5k.com/