This is a 2-Part Post. A little lengthy too. One part was written the night before the Dash and the 2nd part was done the evening after it was completed.
As I sit here after going to see The Millionaire Quartet at the Apollo Theater, the night (morning, actually – it’s 12:26am) before I run my first race since beginning training for a 5K many weeks ago, I think about how this started…
“Tricked” by my cousin, Keith, into mostly walking and a bit of running, a 5K last Thanksgiving morning, I came out thinking it was crazy and how could anyone – especially me – ever get to the point of running a whole 5K. And yet… something in my head said, “What if…?” and then Diana brought up the idea of our department possibly walking/running the Chicago Marathon. Hmmm….
But what did Mike really want to do?
Personally, I wanted to be able to someday RUN an entire 5K without walking or stopping to rest. THAT is another thing that had been on my “Bucket List” with other things I have already checked off of it, including learning Spanish and how to ride a motorcycle (and I love my Harley Sportster, by the way!)
Fast forward to a few months ago, where I couldn’t even run a minute-and-a-half straight and then got to two 8 minutes runs in one set, which I was freaked out about because I really didn’t know if I could do it. (See my page – A Little About Mike – for more on that.)
Fast forward a little more to this past week and a half, where I’ve been running 28 minutes without stopping – FOUR TIMES now! I honestly never thought I could ever do that.
And then… recently, after losing a week of running due to an audible “snap” that I heard accompanied by blinding pain in my right calf as I ran up a hill, I never gave up because I knew I had signed up (and paid!) for the Warrior Dash. I did no exercise the one day after my injury, but began bike riding and the elliptical machine instead of running, so I would not lose the endurance I had built up during the previous 5 or 6 weeks.
My work friends asked, “Well, did you go to the doctor?” and also said to me, “Maybe you should take it easy for awhile…” and I said “Nah”, with a brush of my hand, to both of those – I just couldn’t let myself lose what I’d built up.
So, tonight, yes… I’m more than a little nervous… What if I can’t really do this? What if I bust a leg and show up at the airport in crutches and a cast on Monday, when Jane W. picks me up, traveling for work? What if I choke like the Cubbies do year after year (but I still love them)?!
All of a sudden, I realize I’m taking this too seriously, because when I first heard about the Dash, it looked like such a blast, that I knew I needed to do it! Right now and tomorrow, I need to remember this is all for fun, not for anything else. Well, maybe a little bit as a HUGE goal for myself as well, but mostly, it should be for fun!
So, tomorrow, I will write the second part of this post AFTER the Warrior Dash is over. I have no idea what the conclusion will be.
One thing I CAN promise is that one way or another… I WILL finish it. I have absolutely no doubt about that. I just need to remember to not take myself too seriously and have fun with it!
– Yours in fun fitness, Mike ___________________________________________________________________________
Ok, so now here’s the 2nd part of my post. It’s 11:07pm, Sunday night – post-Dash. I’m beat, I’m sore, did I say I’m beat?… but I’m happy.
I finished in under an hour (actually, the time was 56:34.10)! Not the greatest, but I did ALL the obstacles! Go HERE if you want to see them. As a totally great surprise, Stephanie A. and her whole family showed up – husband AND kids! It was so awesome, the whole day made me happy! Thankyouthankyouthankyou! Also, thanks so much to Jenny B. and Kevin C. for their never-ending support, contacting me before the race to pump me up. What great people I have in my life!
I won’t lie… even after running 29 minutes in a row in training, it was rough for me.
But, after climbing up steep, muddy hills using only ropes with knots in it, running through a river, climbing over the world’s largest jungle gym, jumping over fire and snagging my shirt on barbed wire as I bloodied my knees on rocks through mud on my hands and knees, I made it past the finish line. But not easily.
I was so winded from the final 5 obstacles in a row, that all I could hear was Lori yelling, “Are you OK?!!!” With my calf muscles throbbing from just finishing a climb and the hair on my legs singed from jumping over the fire, it took all I had to make it that last 20 feet to the finish line.
The mud made my shoes about 10 pounds each and I couldn’t even get my balance because my shorts were so caked with mud that I had to keep one hand on them to prevent them from falling right to my ankles! I MAY have given a mean look at this point. (sorry)
But I did it. I crossed that finish line.
Thanks to my sticking to the “Couch to 5K” iPhone App these last months, thanks to my girlfriend for pushing me when I needed it and thanks to my work-friends for supporting me … I wouldn’t have been able to achieve my biggest stretch-goal yet without all of your help!
See – this is what this is all about. Support, motivation and inspiration. I’m there for all of you too!
Now, I have to get to bed – I’m so tired I’m about to pass out.
– Yours in fun exhaustion, Mike