Sunday, October 21, 2007

A MAJOR Milestone

Last May I was talking to my sister-in-law to be and I mentioned that I was thinking of doing a 5K somewhere along the line. I wanted it to be one of my fitness goals. She instantly said I should do the one that was part of the Des Moines Marathon. She would be doing the half-marathon and we could make it a family event. When she said it wasn't until October, I thought that was a reasonable amount of time to train. So I went straight home and signed up online.

You see, I wasn't a runner. By May I was a fast walker, but running was something for the "skinny" girls. I still had plenty of weight on (183) and my knees still tweaked when I hit more than 3.5 miles an hour walking. Despite that, I had faith that I could do this.

My brother Gordon said he would do it with me and then my brother Casey agreed to do the half-marathon with Annette. So it was truly a family affair.

I trained slowly but surely and going into Sunday I knew I could finish and I expected it to be in about 42 minutes or almost 14 minute miles. (Trainer Traci had full faith in me being faster.) I thought I would be at that pace because I had been training inside only for the past couple of months. When you add in wind and pavement, you tend to slow down.

So, it's race day and it's chilly. (Since I have lost weight, I am always cold.) I line up and realize I have forgotten my watch. Gordon says he will punch his when we cross the line to keep our time.

The gun fired and we were off.

The first mile, even being an uphill grade, goes by smoothly. My time spent increasing the incline on the treadmill at Fitness World West has paid off.

Another half mile in, BAM. Every muscle in my body is cold, achy and sore. I want to stop, but my brother is behind me somewhere and I know it and everyone is watching. I keep chugging another quarter mile and then finally cave to walk. Gordon catches up and says I am doing great. I think I moan something like 'yea, right' and start running again.

A quarter of the way through the third mile my jogging legs feel wobbly and I slow to a hard walk. Again Gordon catches me and says I am faster than I think. A bit inspired, I run.

Just before the end of the third mile my breathing is off and I am panting, so I slow down. Besides, I figure maybe Gordon will catch me again for that last push. He does as we head onto 3rd Street for the last .2 miles. He says, "Let's finish strong," and starts sprinting toward the finish line. Somewhere deep in me the competitor, who once knocked girls down on the softball field, kicks in and I run too.

I finished in 36:19.

That's almost 6 minutes faster than I thought I could be. That's a pace of 11:43 per mile. That is a long way from where I was in May. That is a major milestone and I am proud.

Yours in fitness, Kate
(Is that sign-off better?)

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