I don’t mean to keep putting off this post. Quite a few things happened this weekend that are worth mentioning, the first of which, I completed my first 5k of the year, the Shamrock 5k in Anchorage. It was outside, it was snowy, and I rocked it. I walked the there-and-back course, on the trails groomed for cross-country skiing, in 43:15. This is a new PR for me, though I haven’t really been keeping score. The day before I had walked one mile in 17 minutes and thought that was pretty bragworthy, so imagine my surprise when I saw that I had managed a 14:33 pace! I had no idea I had it in me to walk so fast. All my time at the gym and Zumba’ing has really paid off!
I had never done this race before (I had no idea what the course was going to be like either!) and I had a hell of a time trying to get someone to join me. I eventually went by myself, though I had to call a cab (which was the one thing I was trying to avoid). Half way to Alaska Pacific University where it was being held, I realized I left my bib at home. I couldn’t ask the cabbie to turn around and cost me even more dollars, so I just went with it. It was very uncomfortable for me to be there by myself, and I wasn’t sure how to dress because, well, its Alaska.
Then, just to make everything a bit more interesting, when I got there, I realized that one of my ear bud jellies had gone missing. What was I gonna do? What else could I do? I couldn’t just… go home. I couldn’t just give up. When I realized that basically everyone around would be running, I wanted to shake myself and ask why I had even gone in the first place. But I did it anyway.
The trail was pretty. The beginning was pretty hilly, and I was kind of scared that the whole thing was going to be like that. But it evened out pretty quickly, and as the runners all broke off, I settled into a walking pace not to far behind those in front of me. It didn’t take very long for me to start passing them. The trail was clearly marked, and with every bend there were a handful of people, and at two occasions, EMT’s, cheering us all on. Part of me wanted to be rude everytime I walked by and they were cheering me on. It was very difficult to accept their enthusasm as something that wasn’t… contrived. I of course was the perfect picture of grattitude, saying thanks along the way to every one that was cheering. One lady said, “You’re almost there!” and made me believe for a moment, that the turn around point was just over the next bend.
I found it very difficult to not stop and take pictures at every turn, yet at the same time, found my pace increasing more and more and wasn’t sure how I’d make my legs stop, even if I wanted. (Thus, I apologize for the crappy photos.) Finally reaching the half way point was less thrilling than I had hoped. It was just a circle marked off, and you wound your way around it. There was one woman, sitting in a chair, and ringing a cow bell.
I kept going, and going and going, I passed all the other walkers, and although all the runners had finished, I was certain I was at the head of the walker’s group. Finally I made it back up the hill, then back down the hill, and suddenly there was a small group of people, a ticker and a pink line with two safety cones on either side, in the snow. I finished. I looked up at the ticker, and nearly paused. 43 minutes, you say? Surely I’ve been out here huffing and puffing for an hour! No? I did pull out my phone, which confirmed I had been walking for less than an hour. My mind was blown. So blown in fact, that it took 4 days to write this blog post about it. Anyway, as I was crossing the finish line, they asked me where my bib was. I felt a wave of shame try to wash over me as I explained as earnestly as possible that I left it at home. They called me a bandit, the first one of the race, and had a laugh. You see, I couldn’t feel too much shame, because I already felt freakin’ awesome.
Actually, Saturday was a very eventful day for me. That evening I went to see No Strings Attached with my friend Rachel. It was my second time seeing it, and I loved it both times. I love how awkward and skinny Natalie Portman is.
However, before I went and saw that movie, I attended my very first, and hopefully only, Military Funeral. One of my very good friends committed suicide after returning from her deployment in Afghanistan. I didn’t know what to say or do. I still don’t. I just hope she can finally find the peace that has evaded her for so long.
So again, if you have any military people in your life, make sure they’re talking about their experiences, not holding it in. That they’re seeking proper medical assistance if they need it, and make sure they know you love them. I had no idea the last time I saw her would truly be the last time I saw her. I’m very grateful that I was able to see her one last time.