I Survived the Sunburst 10K!

4 Jun

Hoo wee I am wiped out!!! But I’m here and I’m still alive and kicking (the children who won’t stop crawling up my leg).

So where to start. How about three months ago when Liz and I were commiserating on how out of shape we were and how we’d both like to be the kind of people who run for fun-except that we both hate running. So we decided to set a goal to run a 5K this summer. The Sunburst Races are held every summer here and are kind of a big deal, with races ranging from a 5K walk to a full Boston qualifier marathon. So we met at the gym on campus a few times and started running. I think we made it a full lap around the 1/8 mile track at some point but maybe I’m remembering wrong. We both felt like elephants lumbering around that track. Then we started tossing around the idea of a 10K, even though we couldn’t run a tenth of a K without falling over. I thought it sounded pretty impossible until Liz said she’d registered for it. Crap. I registered too, we both downloaded the Couch to 10K app to our various iThingies and got started on a three day a week thirteen week program. The first workout was something like run 30 seconds, walk five minutes for an hour. We were a long way away from a 10K.

Fast forward to this morning. I got up around 6am after a nervous night of tossing and turning. I had a protein bar and some Gatorade and did some yoga until Kay, Stacy and Rebecca swung by to pick me up at 7. Arriving downtown was really exciting. The streets had been roped off and there were thousands of people stretching and putting on their numbers. We immediately spotted other friends. We’d all gotten hot pink shirts to wear but I decided to forgo mine because I didn’t like the fabric and I was used to running in my purple racing shirt. Anyways, we chatted nervously and watched the 5K race start. At the front of the pack was a guy running in a graduation robe. Somewhere in the middle was someone dressed as Waldo. They announced 10 minutes until our race start and Liz and I turned to each other with panicked eyes.

We lined up in the 11 minute mile section with a few other friends. I had butterflies in my stomach until we crossed the start line and started running. The race took us through downtown for a couple miles, then up Riverside hill. At the base of the hill was the first water station. I didn’t slow down as I grabbed a water cup and downed it, so of course I proceeded to choke on it and spit it all out. Halfway up Riverside we slowed to a walk as Nadine zoomed past us and disappeared. We started up again at the top of the hill. Liz was feeling really nauseous so we took it easy. It’s amazing that she was able to finish the race feeling so bad. We passed a few people passed out and being treated by medics on the side of the road. We went down Riverside where Jim was waiting with a camera. At this water stop I was slightly more graceful although I did splash a cup on water on my face because it seems like that’s what one does in a race.

The next few miles went in and out of some neighborhoods. We ran most of it but had some walking periods. Liz was looking pretty green. At one point a police escort passed leading the lead marathoner. Everyone clapped as he passed. He didn’t even look winded. It was getting warm but a lot of the houses had turned on their sprinklers so runners could get a quick spritz. We walked up the Hillcrest hill and then ran through the East Race path, which was wooded and pretty. Despite our walking breaks we were averaging a pretty good pace.

We came out of there and onto the final stretch. I got my second wind here and felt great. I was thinking about how I wouldn’t mind doing one of these again someday. We turned down Eddy and had a straight run to the stadium. The route was lined with people clapping and cheering, which felt amazing! As we got onto campus I put “Eye of the Tiger” on my playlist and then almost fell over laughing because it was such a funny song to run to. We rounded the outside of Notre Dame Stadium and I switched to the Notre Dame Fight Song. We entered the tunnel and I’ll admit I choked up a little. I was just so proud to be near the finish and to have accomplished this. We ran onto the field and across the finish on the 50-yard line. Someone handed me an ice cold wet towel which felt amazing. Liz and I hugged and squealed and looked into the stands for our adoring families. We waited for Stacy and Kay to cross the finish and found some of our other friends and got a group shot. At this point I was getting crazy dizzy and seriously in need of sustenance. We went into the stadium where they had fresh fruit, Popsicles, and lots of watered down Gatorade. Our families were waiting just outside the gate for us. Patrick had asked Finn if he thought I’d win the race and Finn said “No, Lightening McQueen will win!” So he wasn’t ever cheering for me. It was great to be met by my family and to have them there at the finish to see me reach my goal.

As I spent the weeks training for this, I realized that this wasn’t just about reaching a goal or getting in shape. I really felt like this was a way for me to reclaim my body and mind. I’ve spent the last 18 months exhausted and non-stop busy raising three little very active kids. The burden of post-partum depression made that time even harder. Every time I got out and ran and reached my training goal for that run I felt like I was winning little victories for myself. When I finished the race today, I felt like I had taken back my body from exhaustion and service to kids and my mind from all the things that had clouded it up and made me feel…not like myself. Crossing that finish line was a huge victory for myself and I’m not too modest to say it. I am damn proud of myself.

Liz and I crossing the finish line.

My running partner, Liz, who blew me away with her resilience.

Our friends!

My proud family. Okay, Patrick is proud, the others are indifferent.

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10 Responses to “I Survived the Sunburst 10K!”

  1. DaD June 4, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    SouthBend was all out of gum today! YOU KICK BUTT!!
    Congrats Kiddo!

  2. Nadine June 5, 2011 at 7:25 am #

    I LOVED your post! It is so awesome how you describe the mood at the start of the race.

    You SHOULD be proud of yourself! And, it’s ok that Finn and the twins weren’t cheering for you- a whole lot of other people were!

    I love the picture of the kids hanging on you; just gives more creedence to your description of reclaiming yourself!

    Congratulations! I still say you should train for the half marathon next year…

  3. Kay June 5, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    It was a whole lot more fun because so many of us did it together. And you are coming back next year to do it again!

    • Liz June 5, 2011 at 9:18 am #

      You did amazing. I bet you would’ve finished under 1:10 if I hadn’t been holding you back! Thank you for sticking with me. We need to find a new race to train for…

      • Melissa June 5, 2011 at 10:50 am #

        I could care less about the finish time. Our goal was to finish the race and we did it- especially impressive with you being sick. And we finished in top 100 in our division. πŸ™‚ Onward to the next race! Oh, and I think we deserve some cheesecake.

  4. Janelle June 5, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    YAY! Way to go!
    I am so happy for you guys, I bet it feels wonderful (and great to be done).

  5. Shabnam June 5, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    Simply Awesome my dear! Very very very proud of you πŸ˜€

  6. emilia June 8, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    yeah girl!

  7. Lisa June 12, 2011 at 12:00 am #

    Congratulations! I was in South Bend last weekend, and I’m so impressed that you ran in that hot, hot weather! My boyfriend ran the Sunburst marathon last year, and he was commenting about how he felt sorry for anyone running that day because it was so hot.

  8. Kieskneipe July 5, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    Hi, i like your postings, i have also a blog about “gravel bar”, which is in Germany a kids’s slang and the expression for a bank. It’s funny and there are free checking accounts. Just look a look. Greetings from Germany

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