We did it! My friend Becky and I ran the Baltimore Race for the Cure today with the local branch of my college alumnae club, which raised a total of $500 for breast cancer research. And it was fun! Who’d have thought I’d ever say that about running? But really the worst part was trying to find everyone at the beginning of the race. Well, that and getting up at 5:40 am. Except for Seamus (my dog), who was thrilled that I got up that early. “We’re going for our walk now? Awesome!” Of course, that’s pretty much always his reaction to going outside. John and I managed to get out of the house on time, which is quite a feat for two people who hate mornings as much as we do. We made great time getting to Baltimore, even with having to follow a state trooper for a large chunk of the trip, because who the hell is on the road at 6:30 on a Saturday morning? Everything was going great until we got to the Inner Harbor, where they had all these roads closed off – not the roads that the race ran on, no, no, these were the roads you take to get to the starting line. Because people wouldn’t be trying to get there or anything. But John valiantly fought his way through the traffic and dropped me off at the stadium, where I had instructions to meet the team captain and Becky at the Johnny Unitas statue. Unfortunately, everyone else had the idea to meet there too. All I knew about the team captain was that she had red hair and would be wearing a navy sweatshirt. I wandered around and around asking people if they were Meg. I was really starting to panic, thinking I wouldn’t find her, or Becky, in the crowd, and I wouldn’t have my registration packet, and they wouldn’t let me run and I would have done my training and gotten up early for nothing. So I resolved that one way or another, I was running the race. And then all of a sudden I found Meg (who was wearing a NAVY sweatshirt, not a navy blue sweatshirt) and Becky almost at the exact same time. Becky had been making the same resolution about running no matter what, which just goes to show you why we’re friends.
We didn’t realize how far the meeting point statue was from the starting line, so we actually got there a little bit late and were among the last runners to start. That had me worried, because I am not a fast runner. But we did really well! We passed all sorts of people, and I only had to walk twice. Once was on this really long hill. I tried to make it all the way to the top without slowing down, but I couldn’t quite pull it off. And then again at the very end there was a little rise, and we slowed down for about one minute so I could catch my breath. We don’t know for sure, but we think we were in the 36-40 minute range, which is just fine. And running outside is way more interesting than running on a treadmill. Becky was really the key though. Having her there to help me keep pace and have someone fun to talk to so I didn’t just obsess about running being hard, or getting tired made all the difference in the world. I couldn’t have done it without you, Becky! And everyone was so nice. Even the cops along the route were yelling stuff like “you’re doing great!” and “Looking good!”
And I was just thrilled to finish and do well. Yes, I know there are people out there who can run a 5 k in about a third of the time it took me. Becky said she did one where some guy finished in 16 minutes. Showoff. But a year ago it would have been unthinkable for me to run 3.1 miles. I spent some time thinking about that this morning, because I was almost pathetically proud of myself. Here’s the thing: Before the whole diabetes wakeup call happened, I knew I had let myself get out of shape. Even though I pretended not to care that I had gained weight and was not fit, it bothered me. Somewhere along the way I started listening to that little voice that said “you can’t do stuff like this. It’s too hard. It’s for fit people, not losers like you.” And today I claimed some of my self esteem back…and got to tell that voice to shut the hell up.