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Ready to race July 3, 2010

Posted by Christine Coleman in Exercise, Running.

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged here, obviously. My baseball blogging at Cardinal Diamond Diaries and Baseball Digest has kept me both busy and writing frequently (and that was my whole point of this blog anyway). Running also has kept me busy. Steadily I’ve been increasing my distance, plus I started running on the hills in my neighborhood to get ready for the races this month – and, now, tomorrow is my first test. It’s the Firecracker Run.

This is only my second time doing a 10K, and the last time was this same race five years ago. The Firecracker Run is a pretty small race with the 5K version is by far the more popular of the two. So five years ago, I spent most of my time running all alone once I reached the top of the hill that the 10K participants run up as soon as they split off from the 5K course. That meant that the spectators who cheered along the course (of which there were not many) were literally rooting for me. I was the only one there at the moment. So I did the polite thing: I told them I appreciated it. And I did. I was especially grateful for the couple who had a cooler with them and gave me a bottle of water – this race course unfortunately doesn’t have as many water stops as others.

At one point, an older woman drew up even with me. I was walking a bit at this point, while she was jogging along. We talked for a few moments – no recollection about what now, other than she said she would see me at the finish line. And she was the only person who passed me. I came close to passing both a young guy and young girl further along the course. The guy looked back, saw I was approaching and immediately started running again. (He’d been walking.) He no doubt would have been embarrassed had someone who likely was around his mom’s age passed him by.

There are two moments from this race I will never forget. The first was a downhill stretch toward the end of the race. It was easier, obviously, to run downhill but also exhilarating. The months I’d spent working toward running this race – like this year, diligently building up distance and stamina – had paid off and here I was, running a longer race than I’d ever run before. It was a feeling of accomplishment I’d never felt before, or since.

The other moment was as I was approaching the finish line. Even from a block or so away, I could see the older woman had finished and was waiting there for me. Since there obviously were so few participants, especially at this stage of the race, my name was announced as I reached the finish line. The woman gave me a hug and said, “We did it!” I don’t remember then if it brought tears to my eyes like it does now as I write this, but it was special.

There’s no way of knowing what tomorrow will be like. My emotions are up and down, thinking that I’ve done all I can (which I have, at this stage) and feeling good about that, then feeling scared that I should have done more in the past weeks. Last week, one of my Twitter pals in New York City wrote about her anxiety as she approached a five-mile run Saturday. And tomorrow I need to remember the advice I gave her: “You can’t go into the race nervous. You have to feel good and know that you will just do the best you can. There’s no rule on how much you should or can walk – just do what you have to do. Some days, even some race days, are tougher than others. And it’s so much a mind game too, as you know. So just feel good about what you’ve accomplished to get to this stage and go out and kick ass!”

We caught up again last Sunday, and she was proud of how she’d done in her race. It meant a lot to me that she said, “Your words were really in my head.” And now I need to remember the words she told me the other day when I expressed my own anxiety leading up to tomorrow: “It’s YOUR race. Run it at whatever pace you see fit. You will do great. Take the time to enjoy yourself running. Enjoy the moment. Run your race.”

So I will be remembering her words plus my own, and likely thinking of Chris Carpenter and his own determination and tenacity during the race as well. (Some things are just always on my mind when running!) Yet, really, it’s up to me – and I can only do what I can do. That’s something I realized again when running on Thursday, as a younger and fitter woman zipped past me. Yes, I’m five years older and 10 pounds heavier than last time I did this race, but I’m also five years wiser and know myself and my own capabilities better than I did.

There’s one last thing I need to keep in mind tomorrow: my horoscope for today. “The worry that has been bothering you a few days ago has been replaced with a confidence that in this case, as in the ones that came before, there will be a positive outcome. Fate is smiling.”

So, I’m ready to race. And I’ll let you know how it goes.



1. J O'Brien - July 3, 2010

Rule 1 to remember at the starting line of a race: don’t start out too fast.
Rule 2, remember rule 1.

Christine Coleman - July 3, 2010

Thank you — but I would have remembered that rule anyway. You tell me that before every race! Always a good reminder, though. I just read that there are going to be clocks at every mile, so you can see your time throughout. Not sure if that’s good or bad! Also read that you get a printout of your time at the end of the race. Joe Moreno is back as race director and has made some changes and improvements. Lily is running the kids mile race, which is after the 5K and 10K.

2. Erika - July 3, 2010

Good luck Chris!!! I will be cheering you on from Oklahoma! So proud of you!

You Go Girl!!! 😉

3. MM - July 3, 2010

I remember you and I talked about the lady from the race 10 years ago and after reading it today – brought tears to my eyes. YOU CAN DO IT — I believe in you!

4. Enjoying myself running « Christine Coleman - July 5, 2010

[…] was just about the journey. As expected, I thought a lot about the Twitter conversations and advice I wrote about the other day, specifically to “take the time to enjoy yourself running.” I also thought a lot about the many […]

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