I ran a 5K today.
It was hot. It was hilly. My time ... well, it wasn't what I know I can do and definitely not what I had hoped I would do.
The 5K, though, was about none of those things. It was a race that was not about me.
The gym where I take/teach (can I say that yet?!?) was one of the sponsors for the 5K, and the gym manager had been encouraging folks to sign up for the race. The event, though, took on new meaning when a couple affiliated with the gym lost their baby at 20 weeks gestation. I am acquainted with them but not close and even still the loss of Aiden has been devastating and heartbreaking. As a way to honor his memory and maybe, if it's even possible, take steps forward, we decided to participate in the race as a group. Family, instructors, fitness class participants, tumbling students - we all donned T-shirts in Aiden's memory and in support of the couple.
Miles was kind enough to contribute his snot to the shirt pre-race :)
While many people were walking, I did know that I was going to run - how I was going to run was TBD until the horn went off. Even though I had run 4 miles this morning and it was 90 degrees out and I was in a cotton T-shirt, I thought I'd give it all I had.
And I did - in the first quarter-mile. The numbers I saw on my MOTOACTV were crazy in that first section, and I knew that it was only going to be downhill from there. More like uphill, actually.
There was not a flat section on the course. Period. You would get a small chance to recover on a downhill before being greeted with another uphill. The inclines made it very difficult to settle into a groove, pace-wise. Fast, slow, fast, slow.
The terrain was tiring but it was the heat that was crippling. The race was at 2 p.m., the hottest part of the day, and there was full sun. To give you an idea: I was dripping sweat from my thighs before I even started and after the first mile, I could taste the salt on my lips. I tried to stay hydrated, carrying a bottle with me, but the water was warm within a half-mile and completely undrinkable by the 2-mile mark.
There were a few moments when I really wanted to give up. To just walk. But I reminded myself that the couple I was running for couldn't just walk away from what they were going through. I could suck it up and run up a hill, run in the heat if they could get up day after day and live through the pain. I know that sounds like an unlikely comparison or a bit cheesy, especially for me, but I will tell you this: those thoughts and feelings were true. Maybe the heat really did get to me.
By the time I was climbing the last hill, I knew a sub-27 was far out of reach and I wasn't even going to come close to my last 5K, which was 27:35. I still dug deep for a final kick and finished in 28:26.
Once my chip was off, I grabbed a water ... and another ... and then a chocolate milk. And then I grabbed Miles. I was sweaty and tired but I clung to him because, more than anything, these past two weeks have taught me just how lucky I am to be his mom. Even when he hits me or picks my nose or won't go to sleep, he's there. It's a privilege that I'm not sure I deserve but one for which I'll be forever grateful.
I can't imagine what that couple is going through but I pray for them and baby Aiden ... that they find peace and happiness.