Yesterday, I ran on an airport runway, and I wasn't running away from airport security.
The Blue 5K on the Runway is an annual 5K held in honor of Jay Kirby, the son of one of the engineers who helped build a new runway. Jay has been in remission for a few years, and now the race is held to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
(Source, cause I ain't tryin' to get sued.)
The back story for choosing this event: A few weeks after a coworker's husband was diagnosed with leukemia, I heard a commercial for the Blue 5K. I am very lucky to work at a firm that is big on community involvement. Since I started last August, the firm has taken part in food drives, the Operation Shoe Box program, Easter Seals walks, March of Dimes walk, food bank sponsorship, and community events sponsorship. I felt confident the firm would be willing to support this event, and I was right. Without batting an eyelash, management made a significant donation to the event and paid race entry fees for all interested employees. Pretty incredible, right? They also threw a party last night to honor the coworker and her family, and congratulate us all on a job well done. The siren song of a free entry and free food was impossible to resist. And now, the report:
Alarm goes off. Snooze for five minutes.
Hate myself for coming up with this idea.
Coffee. More self-hatred.
5:20 A.M. - 6:30 A.M.
Showering. Somewhat less angry. Nerves start to set in. Lots of double checking bags (I was bringing some bibs to coworkers), directions (picking up someone on the way), and event details. Grab a PB & J and head to pick up coworker. Procure coworker.
Pleasantly surprised by the event "shuttle", which is actually a really nice bus. Well played, 5K.
7:00 A.M. - 7:55 A.M.
Lots of shuttle sitting, then porta-potty visiting, picture taking, and stretching.
7: 58 A.M.
A familiar vice grip takes hold of my GI tract, but one of my goals is to beat my boss, and I know I can't do that if I start 5 minutes after the gun goes off. I decide that I will most likely not crap my shorts. A calculated risk has been taken.
Gun goes off. I somewhat regret my decision. Too late now.
Feeling okay. I'm definitely out of shape. Around .75 miles, my right knee starts hurting at the IT band insertion point. It stays painful for the rest of the race. I miss the mile 1 marker, so I'm already feeling downtrodden, thinking I'm somehow running backwards without realizing it. The course is a straightaway out and back, and I'm running towards a giant "X". Within 10 minutes, the front of the pack has already hit the turnaround. I see Barrett and high five him.
A few minutes after the turn, I see the mile 2 marker. I feel like less of a loser. Still no walk breaks! There are children running all over the course, and I'm jealous of their boundless energy. My stomach is still a mess. My knee hurts a lot. Every once in a while it seizes up to the point I think I may need to stop. There's wind blowing at my face, but I'm not running fast enough to notice a difference in pace. Sometimes, it's good to be slow. There's a coworker up ahead who keeps run/walking when a cramp comes on. Every time I catch him, I tell him to keep going and not let me pass him. I try this same method with a tween age girl. She glares at me.
I've been staring down the finish line for what feels like days, and right before the mile 3 marker, I see Barrett standing on the sideline cheering for me. The perk of having a fast husband is that you also always have a pep squad.
I cross the finish line, and then continue jogging to the porta-potties, wondering why they're 50 yards away from the event. Poor planning. A security guard tells me a I did a great job. I yell thanks as I yank open the door. I'm sure I make running look really fun at that moment.
Reflections: Training consistently would have been a good idea. I need to figure out this IT band issue. No more sugar laden PB&Js before a race. Need a race hat. Running isn't as terrible as I remember, and the adrenaline rush afterwards is totally worth it.
I think I'll start running again.