I made it. Without being mowed over, thrown in a ditch or passing out. And all my thanks goes to Susan Cloninger. She pushed me to places I didn't know I could go. There is something to be said about having someone at your side for these things.
It was amazing. I got up at 6:30 this a.m. This was after staying awake half the night thinking and worrying and wondering what the heck I was doing. Me, Donna Logan, out on the streets with all those "runners". What was I thinking? Had I totally lost my mind? Sure I could walk 3 miles in my neighborhood, but run/walk a 5K with all that pressure? No way. Then I would roll over and remind myself that I had wanted to do this for years. So, I showered, dressed, ate half a banana, checked my items to take 12 times, (you know, just to make sure they hadn't jumped out of my purse) and wandered aimlessly about the house until time to go.
I was to meet Susan at 8:15 in front of the steak house on Battleground. I arrived a few minutes early and walked up and down the street. Well, other people were doing sprints, stretching, etc., so I decided it must be what I should do. When Susan arrived, I felt a little better. At least she knew me and what I was or was not capable of. And I was not one of those experienced runners. We stood around and chatted with other people and really had a great time just talking. I think that helped calm my nerves. That and going to the portajon 6 times. Yes, 6 times. I'm certain it was just nerves. Nobody has to go to the bathroom that much. It was funny, everytime I went and got in line, the same women were there.
It was finally time to take our place in line (after a 30 minute delay). My idea was to go to the very back. I mean the absolute very end of the line. But no, Susan thought we should be up close to the front with all the excitement. So, that it is where we started out. Now my other idea was to start off a a nice steady walk. Nope, Susan thought we should start off at a nice steady run. By this time, I was about ready to ditch her. But, once again, I gave in.
The race started and off we went at our nice steady run down Gold Street. Now, we are nice steady running and about 5 thousand people pass us. Go figure. We then took a left and headed (steady walking) up "Killer Hill", which, in reality, was not that bad. I have learned to always look at the ground when going up killer hills. Next we rounded the curve and headed down toward Marion Street. More steady running. Then steady walking, then steady running. All this time Susan is monitoring our speed with her fancy little watch thingy and tells me we are right on target. Two days earlier, she had informed me that we needed to cut 4 minutes off our time from our practice trial. Who the heck was she kidding???? The only way I could see us/me doing that would be to cut some area off the route. you know, that little road at the end of Marion that connects to Hillside? Just saying. I would never do anything like that. Not with all those people around and they had spies along the route. But anyway, she was monitoring our speed and we were doing a lot better this time. Next, we headed around Hillside Drive pass the Boy Scouts. Sweet little guys with water cups. I opted to pass on the water. (no bathroom breaks on the route.) Susan had been giving me gum and that helped. (She is wonderful. She knows all the tricks.)
Next we rounded to the left down Sims Street. Steady running down the hill and almost all the way to Gold Street. At this point, the 10Kers began lapping us. Hmmmm. Show offs. Well, not really, I was really impressed. These people were serious and hauling it up that hill. Next, we turned left on Gold Street to nearly the end.
We turned and headed back up Gold Street. The final stretch. We were now able to see all the people behind us. Hundreds. So, we really weren't doing all that bad. I was drained at this point, or so I thought. Susan, still monitoring our speed, kept encouraging me to slow down my breathing and keep it up. "I" encourage her to go on and leave me to die. But when I saw all those other people, I just kept going. Surely I could make to the end.
When we topped the hill at Goforth, I could see the light at the end of the looooooong tunnel. Still a far distance, but not as far as it had been. I think I can, I think I can.
Then, the last and final stretch.......The finish line well in sight. All those people cheering us on. The sign that read "my mascara runs faster than you". All this helped to push me across the finish line. The announcer said our names and I looked at my time "46:13"....WOW super WOW. We had not only shaved off 4 minutes from our time, we had shaved off 9 minutes. AND finished..
Now, yes, I know most people finish in less than 30 minutes but that's ok with me. I finished. Like Susan said, "You got out of bed this morning and did it."
I really don't know how to describe exactly how it felt. When I saw that finish line, still in the distance, I felt something amazing within. There it was, something I had thought out of reach, now a reality.
I feel inspired. Inspired to try harder to run more. Inspired to walk stronger when not running. Inspired to keep at it.
So, my "Road to Jingle Bell" was pretty long. But, I got there.................