Thursday – June 15th marks my 18 month anniversary of changing my life. It has been 18 months since my surgery and I can honestly say that a lot has changed and mostly for the better. As per the program – at your 18 month mark – you have a follow-up with both your surgeon and nutritionist. Last week I had my follow-ups and they went pretty well! When I look back at these past 18 months I can really see a difference in my outlook in life. I can see that I have shifted the focus of my life to making sure that I take care of myself – while I am taking care of my family. I have also learned that it is OK to put yourself first and make yourself a priority.
To celebrate my 18 month mark – I ran a 10k on June 4th. Not only did I run it, but I ran it pretty successfully!! I really surprised myself – to be honest! I started running in the spring after my surgery and as I have posted about in the past it has become a passion of mine. I’ve run plenty of 5ks and some 4 and 5 miles races. This was my first 10k which is 6.21 miles. I’ve run six miles before – even further than that – but this was the first time I did a timed competitive six mile run. My very best friend Shirar and I did it together!
The race was part of the University of Maine Black Bear Marathon, Half, and 10k. I must admit that while running the 10k all I wanted to do was run with the half marathoners. So…..I’ve made a goal to run the Millinocket Half in December. Hopefully the weather and my body will cooperate!!
The Black Bear 10k was on a perfect Sunday morning. I have to admit that I was really nervous about it. I knew that there would be many runners there and that the course would be tough. We decided to go camping the weekend of the race and so we left the campground early in the morning – but with a gas and breakfast stop for my hubby – literally made it just in time for the racers to be lining up. The weather was PERFECT for running. If you are familiar with Orono the race pretty much ran right through the down town, down the Bennoch Road, and then down Stillwater Avenue and looped back on to campus via the “farm road.” It was challenging – the Bennoch Road has many more hills than I remembered. Also there is a good mile or so that you are running on a rocky and dirt road. I really do not like running on dirt – call me crazy – but I love running on the black top. The final home stretch of the race is back at the Alfond Field. You run through the giant inflatable black bear head and then half way around the track to the finish line. The race was extremely well organized and – in my opinion went off without a hitch.
On the Saturday night before the race I was sitting around a campfire with my hubby, the kids, and my in-laws. Someone asked how I thought I was going to do at my race. I had set a goal in my head to try to run it in an hour. I told the group that I would be very happy if I did it in an hour. I also said that I would be satisfied even if it was a bit over an hour…I really did not know what to expect. When I run – I kind of just lose myself in my music and I don’t pay much attention to what is going on around me. When I am racing – I still get lost – but I do get this incredible competitive edge. I do not like being passed and I work hard to try to prevent that. In my head I know I am not racing anyone by my Fitbit and myself. However….I’m not going to lie – I like pushing myself and passing someone that passed me when the race started. Sometimes you have to dig deep to do it and sometimes you just don’t make it. Either way – I got out of bed and I did something!
I was so surprised when I finally crossed the finish line of this 10k. My time was 56:39. I definitely was ugly crying as I came down the home stretch. I actually tapped my Fitbit several times to make sure that it was working correctly. I checked the official clock and I was just shocked!! Not only had I completed the race – but I did it in UNDER an hour! Eighteen months ago I could not jog around my block without stopping to take a break and having to walk some. On this particular Sunday morning I was running 9:07 minute miles. My ever supportive hubby said he wasn’t surprised at all…he knew that I was going to do well!! Sometimes I have a hard time proving to myself that I am totally capable!!
After the race I had a moment to catch my breath and watch other people cross the finish line after me. I saw people that I had known for years and also identified them as athletes, women who would run all the time around campus and town. I saw people who were also ugly crying and shared that moment of happiness and success. Honestly the best part of running is finishing. I always feel so strong when I cross a finish line. Way back in April 2016 when I crossed the finish line of my first ever 5k where I ran from start to finish – my time was 38:04…I would have never imagined that over a year later I would be running 9:07 minute miles. Running is so awesome that way. You just do your best and shuffle along and you get to the finish line. Sometimes you are fast, sometimes you are slow….in the end you did something and that’s what really matters.
Crossing the finish line at the Black Bear 10K was a good moment for me. I hope to be able to keep racing for as long as my knees and hips will let me.
The picture on the left was me shortly after I came over the finish line. I was a hot sweaty mess but I was so elated with my time. The atmosphere of the field, the music, and all the people cheering me on made it a really incredible moment.
My partner in crime – Shirar had a triumphant run to the finish line as well. She really pushed herself and powered through to the end. I love that she has taken on the challenge of running and trying something that is a little bit different for her. When I saw her come charging through that big Black Bear head – I could not contain my smile and cheers!! We have been friend for twenty years. I am so happy that we have each other for support.
After the race we went out for breakfast and really celebrated our victories!! It really was a truly lovely and exciting day and I’m so happy that I took the chance and signed up for my first 10K. I am really looking forward to signing up for more of them in the future. This summer I am looking forward to running more but also listening to my body and resting when I need to! I am 38 years old and I can run – I am so thankful for this and I want to make it a life long adventure!!
Here is to many more miles and many more personal victories!!