“If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster,
your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.”
Back when I wrote about My Grown Up Bucket List, I never imagined how quickly I would be crossing items off it. Today I did just that! Last week I signed up for the Enough! Race to End Domestic Violence much in the same manner as I signed up for the Lavery McDermott Race To End Domestic Violence– at the last minute. Also as with the Lavery/McDermott Race, I volunteered with CT-ALIVE and staffed a table pre & post race to give the crowd information about the work we do and our mission to empower women to take the step from survivor to Thriver.
Initially, I was a little worried about running today because the temperature was supposed to be a record 70 degrees… which is a great deal warmer than what it has been recently and not exactly the most comfortable temp for running. After distinctly thinking how much happier I would be with a cooler run at 50 degrees, I got in my car to find the temp was exactly 50. I decided at that point that the universe and I were in line, and it would be a great day. I was not disappointed!
Since I have been tapering for my ultra next weekend, my body was not as run down from training as it typically is. I also had plenty of time to sleep in and hydrate (after my 15 hr shift the day before) because the start wasn’t until 10 am. This probably contributed to the great mood I woke up in. For some reason, I just felt completely ready to rock it.
My good vibes continued when I arrived to check in without any issues, traffic, or difficulty with parking, and found my race number had not one, but two sevens in it! Seven is my lucky number! (Don’t ask me why, it just is…) I took this as a definite positive sign. The 50 degree temp and double sevens could not be coincidence… not as far as I was concerned anyway…
Beyond just being pumped that the race was for a great cause (one especially near and dear to my heart… as we all know), I was excited to see the some other ladies from CT-ALIVE and catch up. Since becoming a supervisor, my work schedule has made it difficult to keep up with a lot of the going ons and meetings with the board. Both Susan Omilian, our project director and “My Avenging Angel Workshop” facilitator, and Vanessa Stevens of the Purple Song Project were there, so I had a chance to chat with them. Susan is the woman who helped me rediscover myself after abuse; and Vanessa is a fellow domestic abuse survivor and thriver who has been a constant source of inspiration and support. It was great to see them both. I was excited to hear that Susan is interested in guest blogging here, so stay tuned for what I am sure will be an inspiring post!
As far as the race, the course was the hilliest 5K I have ever run! The first mile and a half was basically all up hill, and then second half was up and down. The were essentially no flat parts. It was brutal! But the support from the volunteers and crowd at the finish were great and almost made up for the quad busting course. Races that are put on for good causes always have an awesome vibe and this was no exception!
Starting the race, my legs were not feeling as fresh as I had hoped… but then I wouldn’t recommend working a 15 hr shift the day before a timed run. lol I still managed to maintain what felt like a strong and steady pace in spite of the hills. At the start when my legs didn’t feel great I told myself that “The first mile is a liar.” Once I reached the first mile marker and saw I was at 7:20, I was pretty pleased.
In general, I view the last 5K of a half marathon as the final stretch, so my mantra during this entire race was “I’m in the final stretch.” When I felt crummy, I compared it to the last 5K of a half marathon and then ran harder. At the halfway point I was congratulated by a volunteer for being the “3rd female overall.” HOLY COW! I have never seeded that high in a race before!
I held my position until the last mile when another two ladies managed to pass me. I was bummed to lose out on my top three position, but knew I was running as hard as I could. I reminded myself that was all that mattered. In the last half mile I saw Vanessa singing on the course and yelled to her. I knew I was almost done and was so happy to see a familiar face! The finish came up quickly and I secured a time of 24:30. I knew I was 5th overall for the women, which is the highest I have ever finished in a race.
Then came a bigger surprise! They announced me as first in my age group!!!! YES! Bucket List Item Checked!!!! I even got a little plaque to commemorate my achievement. It was epic.
The hubs and I celebrated by going out for lunch and then ice cream, which is normally a treat I reserve for finishing half marathons. In this case though, I thought it was well earned.
In other epic news:
Sole Sister Brook Kreder of Brook’s First Marathon asked to share my story on her blog… which is hilariously awesome and you should read it btw… and not just because she featured me either. Her escapades literally make me laugh out loud.