On the 70th day of my journey of sobriety and running, I ran my first 10k.
The race itself and environment were pretty amazing. I got my family up super early, we packed in the car and headed to the race, ultimately getting there an hour early. The weather was pretty cool so we spent most of that time hanging out in the car waiting for the right time to head to the start line.
About 20 minutes prior to start time we headed over to the corals, mainly because I had to pee for the 2nd or 3rd times before heading out but also to see again what was around there. With not that many people gathering around we stood and talked about the race, what our plans were for the race and the differences between this race and the only other one we had run, a 5k that isn’t around anymore.
A local radio station was there to do the announcements and a girl sang the national anthem. After that, the headphones went in and I was standing in my corral, ready to head out. A local group from a historical fort were the starting ‘canon’ in a literal sense. As the boom hailed through the corals, I was off.
I spent a major portion of the first mile and a half looking around at all the people and listening to my music. I knew my pace was a bit quicker than normal but I was feeling really good. The air was cool, allowing for easy breathing. My muscles seemed a bit tight at first but warmed up around the .5 mile mark and I was feeling good.
The atmosphere was interesting, having not completed a large race before in the past. I didn’t realize people would be along the route doing what they were. Some were holding signs, clearly waiting for a friend or relative. Others were playing music, cooking over a fire, drinking beer, wrapped in a blanket drinking coffee or just sitting on the porch staring into nothing.
Around I believe mile 1.5 I saw some familiar faces on the side of the road. My Mother and Father were waiting for me to pass by. It was really neat to see them since I knew my wife and kids were going to be at the finish line I did not expect to see anyone along the route. Unknown to me at the time but I will see them again in about 2 miles.
Taking the turns and weaving with the large body of runners through the streets of Fort Wayne was almost therapeutic. I ran with some friends at the start and saw a few other familiar faces as the run continued. My first experience with a pacing group was when a group of 15 or so people passed me, with the one in the center holding a sign with the pace large enough for everyone to read. First impressions were, man I’m slow. Second, were that that’s really neat and a pretty awesome service those guys are providing. was supposed to, pretty amazing, showing the true talent of some of these runners.
Around the 4-mile mark, things started to feel a bit wrong. My left ankle started to get sore along with some pains started in my knee. At the next water station, I stopped and drank some water and then as I started running again it hit harder than it was before. I immediately was not happy. I became discouraged and started running even slower.
The pain got worse and worse and I started to walk more and more. I was getting really pissed off and disappointed. I knew what it was, I knew the cause and even worse I knew that I could have solved it prior to the race but didn’t. My shoes were wrong. I am definitely an advocate for barefoot running, I also understand that:
- it’s not for everyone
- it’s not for me over 5k distances
I ignored the second of my own observations and skipped the purchase of $160 properly fitted ‘regular’ running shoes. This is how I got to the half run, half walk at miles 4.5 and on.
The self-disappointment and the acceptance that I was getting passed by people during a time where I was planning on running faster than I did at the beginning, basically running quickly through the stadium and ultimately the finish line. It was not going to happen, in fact, I even accepted I might not even run across the finish line. Stuck in my own self-pity I walked and I’m sure my shoulders were slumped and my face told the story of someone who was pissed and giving up.
Then it happened, a what I can only guess was a 60-year-old woman slapped me on the back, yelled something and blew my doors off. I couldn’t hear a word she was saying but after a minute or two figured out it had something to do with being a veteran because at one point she pointed at my shirt.
It kicked in that I can run a mile no matter the pain, I can finish this damn race. So I started to ‘run’, yes, it was more like a jog/walk but it was faster than my previous pace. The lady who motivated me continued off in the distance ahead of me and I never saw her again.
Coming around the final two corners and ultimately down the tunnel into Parkview Field I felt accomplished but the disappointment loomed over me. I shuffled across the finish line looking at the clock as I did. I would have hit my goal of 1hr or less had I not walked. Yes, that’s what I was thinking. Not that I just completed a goal of 10 weeks. Not because I was sober for the same time period and it was my 70th day of sobriety. Not because I was proud that I was just able to complete a trek of 6.2 miles.
I waited in line and took my photo in front of the Fort4 Fitness logo background and then got some more to drink. Finding my family waiting, proudly in the stands it was pretty awesome to see their faces. They waited for me there, they waited for me at night when I would go on runs, they waited for me no matter what. They motivated me this entire time, never stopping to ask why or to have any negative thoughts or expressions, they were the reason I was able to complete this.
We went on to have brunch with my parents and later I ended up watching a Cubs game with ice on my knee and ankle. Thinking about how I was going to express today’s events in a post and understand what I was thinking even myself.
I had completed a goal, yet I do/did not feel any better. It occurred to me this was a continuing theme in my life. I have accomplished a decent amount of goals that I had set, but yet no matter how many of them I set I was never satisfied and never really into celebrating the feats. I thought about listing them out here but it would end up sounding arrogant and defeat the purpose of this post. I’d like to think the reason was I feel content, so when I complete things they are just stages in my life that I move from one to the next. However, I’m certain psychology would prove me wrong and go towards something about having an emptiness or feeling of constant need to be doing something above and beyond what I have done before.
Discussing this with my wife this morning some great points were brought up, some that I need to really look at and meditate on how I want to move forward. I am always working on something but the shop never seems to settle and review what was just built. Rather, I build and build only to move on to the next project no matter if it’s a run, certification, job or degree.
Overall, I’m happy I did the run and am excited that I was able to complete the goal. I do not look at this as a negative experience anymore, just one that I learned a bunch of lessons and that I am now a stronger person physically and mentally from achieving it.
Thanks again as always for following my journey!