The day finally arrived, the day of my first big race. I was so excited last night that I could barely sleep. I was both excited and nervous, I just could not wait to take my place on the starting line! We had massive storms the night before, and the forecast for the race was not much better, but fortunately the weather held off and the weather was just about as perfect as could be for the event. Would my nine weeks of training pay off? Lets take a look.
We had a really early start this morning. I was up at 3:30am because I was so excited. We made our way to down town Oklahoma City at around 5:30. It was still completely dark, but the city was already buzzing. There were thousands of people everywhere. This year there were more than 27,000 runners participating in all events, and then there were 7,000 volunteers. The atmosphere was simply electric, you could just tell how excited people were to be participating in this years races.
I made my way down to the 5K coral, and the amount of people just blew my mind. It is so refreshing to see so many people come together to all participate in something as awesome as the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. The 168 seconds of silence was a very moving part of the opening ceremony. When the Alfred P. Murrah building was bombed in 1995, 168 men, children and women died. It will forever be on of the worst terrorist attacks in the United States. It was great to see everyone participate in the silence. Then the Marathon began. There were so many people participating in the Marathon and half marathon that the 5K race was pushed back by 20 mins, but that was totally fine. Seeing all those people run down the starting street was a sight to behold.
Finally at 6:50am the 5K runners/walkers were allowed to leave the coral and start the race. It was a little hard to get started because there were just so many people, From the coral I walked down to the starting line and then as soon as I crossed I started jogging. Let me tell you. This was like nothing I have ever experienced before. Running around your neighborhood hold nothing to an event like this. On top of the adrenaline you have to watch out for people who are going gung ho, and for people who just stop for no reason in the middle of the street. I soon found a nice stride, and became quite the expert at squeezing between and dodging between people. So lets see how I done.
Things went really well for me today. I was able to find a good pace, and once the traffic had cleared out I was able to focus a little more. About half way through my RSD started flaring up, and I had to walk for a little while, but I found the courage to pick up the jogging for a little while longer. About 3/4 of the way through I had to walk again as the pain reared its ugly head again, but when I got to the last corner I forced myself to jog again. Crossing the finish line was one of the best experiences ever! It felt amazing. It is hard to put into words exactly how it felt, but I will never forget it, and then I got my medal.
This will always be one of my most prized possessions. Yes it is just a bronze medal for a local 5K event, but it represents so much more to me than that. It will constantly remind me just how far I have come, it will remind me that all the pain, sweat and often time tears from the pain were worth it. It is the start of something awesome. This day has started a new chapter in my life. Back in October 2011 when I weighed 334lbs, I never would have imagined that I would be able to participate in something like this, but here I am now, April 29th 2012, 80lbs lighter and I am the proud owner of this (priceless to me) medal.
So what;s next? I am not sure to be honest. I am sure that I will continue with the running (when I can depending on pain levels etc). Next year I would love to be at a point where I can complete the half marathon. That sounds like a tall order, but then I remind myself that it took just 9 weeks to get to the point where I could take part in this event today. Granted, I was not able to run every step of the way, but I had the determination and drive to cross that finish line, and I am sure that this determination will allow me to achieve anything I set my mind to. If I can do this in just 9 weeks, then who knows what I might be able to achieve in another year. Next step for me will be keep on training until I can run the entire 3.1 miles, and then I will build from there. What am I going to do right now? Rest!
All the best,