Just kidding- they were super supportive!
So those of you who read my blog regularly- and it’s like 3 of you, who am I kidding, and I know at least one is my mom- know that I love CrossFit and I hated running. Like a loathe, detest, despise, wish it would die, stab it with a spork kinda hate for running. I never liked the feeling of knowing there were miles and miles ahead of me (or feet and feet). It feels absurd to run when there are perfectly good vehicles to take me those miles in a fraction of the time.
My Florida BFF is a runner, and somehow coerced me into joining a local running group called Running For Brews. You run a 5k and then drink a beer afterwards- that’s my kinda group. So I went along for the beer alone. That turned into being a coordinator for the group on Monday nights, which led to multiple runs per week, none of which I enjoyed. We live here in Florida and it is hot. Hot hot hot. And running but feeling like you’re swimming is awful and I just hated it. Gimme CrossFit or give me beer. But definitely not running.
Last Tuesday, I got a message from Florida BFF- one of our mutual friends was registered for the Tower of Terror 10 Miler on Saturday with her and couldn’t go, and she wanted to see if I wanted to take our friend’s spot. I quickly weighed the pro’s and cons:
- Pros- I love Disney and it’s at Disney. I love the Tower of Terror, and it’s FOR the Tower of Terror. I love Halloween and it’s Halloween-ish. I’m stupid competitive, and it’s a race.
- Cons- It’s a race. As in running. As in I’d have to move my legs back in forth quickly for a long time. Ugh.
I took a deep breath, realized that my love for all things spooky and costumed was stronger than my hate for running and I agreed.
And then I panicked.
It’s been well over 10 years since I ran a distance longer than 3 miles. And it was only recently that I started running those 3 miles again. If you’re new to the blog, I used to look like this. That was only about a year ago, and I still very much see myself as that woman. In fact, while discussing the race, Florida BFF said something that stuck- she said that she was absolutely positive I could do the race because I’m in such good shape. I had to think about that for a second, because I don’t consider myself in good shape. I workout with some seriously IN SHAPE people- honestly, CFTB is full of awe inspiring specimens of human beings, and I am nowhere near their stature. My muscles aren’t ripple-y yet and I can’t lift a small car over my head, and I still have a lot of areas that jiggle like crazy (damn you, stomach). But I did have to stop and consider for a second that I was not in fact that girl anymore and people were starting to see me differently. Which means I had to start seeing myself differently. So I agreed to do it.
To prep, I ran 4 miles on Tuesday, went to CrossFit on Wednesday and skipped anything that had to do with the lower body. I did a modified Cindy for the WOD and replaced squats with sit-ups, and instead of front squats for strength, I did push presses. My coaches were awesome and helped me figure out exercises that wouldn’t stress out my knees or thighs (If you’re looking for a CrossFit gym, please make sure that the coaches are awesome) And then I rested. I know I am a better runner when I am fully rested, so as much as it killed me to not be at the box, I took time off. I also read lots of articles about the race and about being swept. I was/am TERRIFIED of the sweeper bus. I had mental pictures of this monster Zamboni following behind the runners and sucking up those of us who were below pace. The competitor in me was also terrified of the disappointment I’d have in myself if I got swept. ‘Don’t fear the sweeper!’. That kept playing in my head. I know it’s the reaper, but it fits!
So Saturday came, I Paleo carbo-loaded with sweet potato, spinach, eggs, bananas, sunbutter and water, water, water. The race wasn’t until 10 so I had a chance to eat all day and eat I did. We watched Ohio State kick the crap out of Maryland, took a nap, and headed out to the Mouse’s House. I got a ton of great messages from friends and family with well wishes for a great race. They were all so confident in me, and I wasn’t at all.
First let me say that people’s costumes were amazing. I didn’t have enough time to get one together, plus I didn’t want to costume and look like an idiot that spent too much time on their costume and not enough time on their running, because I was convinced that I wouldn’t finish and I’d get swept up, but it was awesome what people came up with. Every princess and every villain were represented. And there were people EVERYWHERE. And people of all shapes and sizes and level of running-ness. I was proud of everyone there, just for showing up. 10 miles is intimidating, and it takes guts to even make the decision to race.
I met up with Florida BFF and the rest of the group she was running with, hung out for a little, and then reported to my corral. There were so many people in my group, and everyone was laughing and having a good time, so I started to relax from super rigid scared girl to semi rigid scared girl. I met with some wonderful ladies from Atlanta, and hung with them in the corral until it was our time to go. They had done a few Disney races and pep talked me for days. They were just what I needed. Then suddenly we began to move, while lots of ‘Oh shit’ phrases running through my head. We walked about a half mile and got in line, and before I knew it the race started. There were a few corrals ahead of me, so I just took a bunch of deep breaths and tried not to sneak off into the woods and hope no one saw me. We got closer and closer to the start line and I got closer and closer to puking. But the start was pretty festive- lots of music, lots of people pumping us up, fireworks and the Twilight Zone theme. Next thing I know, we were under the start banner and they were counting down. The fireworks went off, and we were off like a prom dress.
I stayed with the Hotlanta ladies for a little and I was glad to start the race with really good people. They were running intervals and I was fully planning on doing the same since that’s how I had been training (2-3 minutes run, 1 minute walk). But I chugged a Spark right before I started and I was feeling pretty good, so I kept running. And running. Cue Forrest Gump ‘I just kept runnnaannnnggggg’.
Well, I kept running all the way to mile 8. I shit you not readers, mile 8. I slowed only to drink some water at the stations and to read the text messages I was getting that tracked everyone’s time and that my family was exchanging as they were tracking me, but that was it. I ran. I felt AMAZING. I didn’t even think about the amount of running ahead of me, or my legs, or being done. I just enjoyed my music, the cool night air, and everyone’s efforts. I also enjoyed the sights, which were something else all together. Disney had all the villains along the route and you could stop to take pics with them. it was so cool. I didn’t stop but I still got a smile out of seeing the Queen of Hearts and the Hyenas from Lion King chillin’ on the side, smiling their little fake costume smiles. And then I saw some lady run towards the woods, only to stop halfway there, in the spotlight, drop her pants and do her business. I was like holy. shit. I just saw all of her galdarnits and she’s like, bathrooming, out in the open for everyone to see. Now, as we know, I am not a runner, and didn’t know this was just part of a race. But I still felt bad for her because she probably thought no one could see her. But we all could. And we could see it all. You have to admit though, the first time you saw it, it was a little startling, haha!
I felt awesome all the way through. I set little milestones- ok, just get to the 5k and walk. That came and went so I said ok, just get halfway done and walk. THAT came and went. Then I aimed for the 6.2 mark, and that came and went, along with some texts from my brother about how I had doubled my distance since the last check in and only added 6 seconds. That kept me motivated, and I just kept going. When I got to Mile 7.5, I knew I had this in the bag. I started to smile and cheer myself on. It was down to a Monday night run, one I had done repeatedly. It was then that I realized I was going to finish.
So fast forward to 2 hours and 5 minutes, and I’m just about done. I was in the final mile, and all I could think was ‘WHERE THE FUCK IS THIS FINISH LINE?!?!?’. I am a swearer, and I’ve found it gets worse when running. Mostly when I have to dodge potholes in the road or I can’t see where I cross the 6.2 mark, or someone swinging their light saber nails me in the head while I’m in my freaking groove. But especially when I am close to the finish line. We ran all through Hollywood Studios, and there were plenty of volunteers to cheer us on. They all kept saying ‘You’re almost done!’ and I was like ‘You’re lying to me, you assholes. The end will NEVER come’. Again, I was being dramatic, because I was just ready to stop. I couldn’t feel my legs, my feet were starting to hurt, and I wanted my damn medal. But eventually, I turned a corner and I could see it- the glorious finish. Linebacker Lookin’ Dude was there, and he caught this video of me crossing
I may or may not have watched it a bazillion times. That’s LBLD yelling for me. I heart him.
Once you get past the finish line, the real fun starts. There’s food. There’s water. And there’s more food. I looked like a kid in a candy store, snatching up bananas and goldfish crackers. At that moment, if someone had said to me ‘those aren’t Paleo!’, I would have hauled off and punched them in the face. I ate those fishies with absolutely no regrets.
Then I got my medal. I stopped and bowed my head a little to the girl who was handing them out because I wanted her to freaking crown me with that thing. All I got was a look that said ‘if one more of you assholes asks me to put this on you, I’m going use them as a ninja star and finish you’. So I grabbed it, grabbed another bag of Goldfish and went to find my friends.
Oh, you guys. Then I got the runner’s high. Like, I was HIGH. LBLD was like ‘your eyes are all foggy and you’re not speaking in correct sentences’. In my head I was like ‘back off dude, I can’t feel my legs’. But one of our friends was like ‘she’s got the runners high!!’. So that was good so I knew I wasn’t having a stroke or anything serious. But that shit is REAL.
So there you go. I did it. I enjoyed it. I even caught a bug. Seriously, I’m sitting here looking at races in the area to run again, even though my knees are killing me and my hips are liken to those of a 90 year old grammy. I want more medals! But I liked it. I LIKED IT. Who the hell am I? My medal is gorgeous and it made it all so worth it. Oh and it glows in the dark. IT GLOWS IN THE FREAKING DARK!
We stayed at Hollywood Studios until 4:30 in the morning, partying and enjoying our time and feeling like we were 22 again. I’m crazy proud of me and for finishing. I’m proud that I went from obese to running miles and miles in a year. It seriously only takes the first step, you guys. Just the first step. From there it’s all downhill. Sometimes literally.