Race for the Place 5K: Before and After

The Day Before: February 8

It’s funny the things that happen in your head.

Nearly 20 years ago, my neighbor and I started an early morning walking routine. Every morning before dawn, we would walk our Melrose Heights neighborhood for 30-45 minutes. My excess weight, combined with the asphalt surface, wreaked havoc on my shoes. A friend suggested that running shoes may be “street sturdier” than walking shoes, and recommended that I visit Strictly Running. I won’t go into the details, but the salesperson was less than understanding of an overweight woman wanting shoes for walking, and I vowed to never go back.

Fast forward to today. In the last two years, I have lost nearly 100 lbs. and become an active, physically fit person. I even signed up for my first 5k, and although I’ll be walking due to some lower back tenderness, it is a true milestone for me. You’d think I’d be super excited about picking up my packet and getting my t-shirt and bib, right? Wrong!

For the last one and a half days, I’ve been finding every excuse in the book for NOT going, and here at the 11th hour, I still haven’t gone. Am I busy? No more than usual. Do I not have transportation? Nope, my car is gassed up and ready to go. Am I sick? Other than a little cold, I’m practically the picture of health. So what’s my problem? As a former “fat girl,” one who also had a bad experience, albeit years ago, I’m terrified of walking through the door.


If you’ve ever been overweight, you understand. If not, let me try to explain.

Despite the fact that I have made huge strides in the last two years, I still see myself as “that fat girl.” I imagine that when I walk in, there will be knowing looks amongst the sales staff and maybe even a snicker or two. I suspect that they’ll wonder “what is she doing in here?” And when I ask for my packet, I’m pretty sure they’ll wonder “how long it will be before she falls out.”

Crazy, huh? How in the world does our mind do that to us?

After the Race: February 13

So, I’ve done a 5K.

Even though my initial  goal was to run it, I walked most of it. A week or so into training, I started having lower back issues, likely due to repetitive stress/impact. I continued to bump up my fitness level, but put the running aside for a while.

Before the race, I kinda pooh poohed myself for walking it. In my mind, I saw myself leisurely walking it, similar to when you walk a March of Dimes or other charity walk. Sister thought the same thing, too, as she decided to join me at the last minute.

Walking that race was no leisure walk, for sure. Led by the runners, I was immediately challenged to walk fast. I was constantly looking behind us to be sure we weren’t last. There will hills – not huge ones, but more than the ones I don’t do on the treadmill. And it was cold!

A few blocks from the finish line, Mayor Bob jogged by. He was walking, too, and we’d past him just after the first mile.

When I asked why he was running, he said, “My wife needs to see me running.”

Now I love Mayor Bob, but when I saw him pass us, I said to Sister, “We can’t let Mayor Bob finish ahead of us,” and I started jogging.

About that time, my friend, Jen, and her three-year-old son met us to cheer us in. And we ran across the finish line, just under 48 minutes from the start.

I was happy that 1) we didn’t finish last; and 2) I actually shaved about two minutes over my usual treadmill training walk.

That afternoon, Sister and I took a long nap; we were exhausted. And the next day, we were actually sore. This from someone who has, for the past two and a half years, done strength training twice a week and cardio four to five days a week.

Who knew?


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