On July 11, 2013, I attempted and conquered a race called The Bear Run. This is a 5 mile race in which you climb 1541 feet of elevation. Upon crossing the finish line, I burst into tears and proclaimed out loud that I was never doing this race again... If you've read my previous posts (yes, I am aware that it's been over a year since my last), then you know that I've said that before about other races and that I usually don't listen to myself. This post is about one of those times.
I really was not planning to do this race again. Seriously. Scout's honor. This run was so hellish, especially the last mile and a half. At one point during that portion of the track I turned to the girl behind me (a complete stranger) and announced that "I don't think I can do this." Her response was to shrug her shoulders and make a "what do you want me to do about it" sound. Thanks. Thanks a bunch for the encouragement.
Registration for The Bear opened in February. I messaged a friend of mine (Shellen) who had done this race last year to let her know. When Shellen heard that I wasn't planning to do this again she said, "But, we did this together last year. It wouldn't be the same without you." The next thing I knew, I was registered and freaking out. But - eh - I had MONTHS to whip my lazy butt into gear. "I'll be fine," I told myself.
The days started to fly by, as they tend to do. Suddenly it was the day before the race (Wednesday, July 9, 2014). Now, don't get me wrong - this entire time was not spent sitting on my couch eating bonbons (don't I wish???). I'm active in Crossfit and I do a bunch of other races even though I am a horrible runner. I completed my 3rd half marathon in April (remember from an earlier post how I said I'd NEVER do a second after I completed my first? If not, you can catch up here (side note - I'm actually registered for half marathons # 4 and 5! The fourth will be in October of this year and the fifth is in April of next year).
All day at work, my nerves would suddenly start tingling as I would think about what was happening the next day, but having to actually do some work helped to (somewhat) keep my mind off of it. Then 5:00pm came - quitting time. Immediately, my nerves went into overdrive. The butterflies in my stomach grew exponentially and started their dance of destruction. This was the day before the race. I knew this meant I'd be a wreck the day of.
And I wasn't wrong. I woke up and just knew I was going to throw up or burst into tears... Or both. The killer was knowing that I had to wait until 7pm for the race to start and a close to 2 hour drive to get to the town where this race is held. The good news about the commute - a group from my crossfit box was also doing this race and we had rented a van so we could carpool together. That helped a lot. They are such an awesome group. Another thing that helped - throughout the day, numerous people sent out encouragement to me and my teammates on Facebook. My heart overflowed with the love that was being sent our way.
Once we got to the race site and got checked in, I was literally shaking with fear. You have to hit the 3 mile mark by a certain point or you get picked up by the sag wagon. Of course I didn't want to be picked up. Not only would that mean I wouldn't get the awesome race medal, but that would mean I'd be a failure. If I made it past that marker, the race gets even harder than it was prior to that point and I wasn't looking forward to that at all. I just wanted this race to start and then for me to get it over with. And I didn't want to let anyone down along the way (myself, my fellow group members, the "fans" who had encouraged us).
Finally, the starter gun was shot and we were off. Immediately, the majority of my nerves quieted down. Suddenly, I just knew I was going to be awesome (well, as awesome as I can be). I was going to kill The Bear. I could do this... And I was right. I made it to and past that 3 mile marker like a champ. I crushed each mile like there was going to be ice cream waiting at the finish line (damn, why oh why wasn't there ice cream???). I finished this race for the 2nd time in my life.
And, ya know what? I was smiling as I came across the finish line this year (SO much better than the tears last year). Also? I DIDN'T proclaim that I wasn't going to do this race next year.