I had no idea what to expect when I was thinking about my upcoming race last week. On Saturday, when we went to the expo I noticed that I was a little nervous. Nervous about my foot flaring up (and starting the healing process all over again). Nervous about the distance (because of my limited double digit long runs). Nervous about going out too fast and falling apart (like I did last time).
I shared some of my fears about race day with my husband, and he reminded me of why I was running.
I ran into two other members of Team Chocolate Milk on race morning. It was nice to chat and take my mind off of my nerves. We talked about how the course had been changed due to flooding to an out and back loop – one loop for the 10k, and two for the half. Some people don’t like that type of course, but I think it can be fun – especially if you know others in the race. So many races in the metroplex have been rescheduled or cancelled due to the heavy rain, so I’m thankful there was an alternate plan.
One of my favorite things about this race is the military presence. From the beginning with the flags and National Anthem, all thoughts of myself were pushed aside. Every time I hear the Star Spangled Banner at the start of a race, I think of how wonderful it is to be able to do this. This freedom that we take for granted. So many have sacrificed.
I’m grateful to have the opportunity to give back in this way.
I started the race, and held back from the beginning. I was sweating through the first few miles, and I wondered how the heat would affect me. I was ready and armed with my handheld of Nuun and two Nuun Plus tablets. As the course wound around mile 3.5 I noticed a good-sized uphill. That would be coming up on mile 10 in the second loop. “That might hurt,” I thought.
When I stopped at the aid station near the halfway point to refill my bottle, it was the first time I stopped. After refilling my bottle, I dropped one of the Nuun plus tablets on the ground. Shoot! I briefly looked for it, for the thought of road gunk wasn’t appealing so I kept running. On my way back after the turnaround I saw my lonely tablet laying on the ground. Looking back, this was the only hiccup I had through the race.
Somewhere between mile 8-9, a runner came up beside me and asked me about the name on the back of my shirt. This gave me a chance to explain about Medals of Honor, my background as a Navy wife. She is married to a Marine. We continued to chat about bases, stations, and other military stuff as we ran. At the mile 10 hill, I decided to power up and keep my pace as steady as possible. Until my plantar fasciitis, hills have always been my strength and I could feel it returning.
Through the last 5k of the race, I became the chatty runner. I was thanking police officers, volunteers, veterans, and cheering on 10k walkers as I passed. I saw another runner from our local group and yelled out across the course at him and waved. I was truly grateful to be out there. I found my joy again. My official time was 2:04:25 and it was a good day.
When I finished, I felt tired – but strong. My foot was throbbing, but it didn’t affect my pace at all. Overall, I’m pleased with my effort. After a bit of icing throughout the day, my foot was good to go.
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But most importantly, because of Medals of Honor, this service member’s family will be receiving the medal I earned from the race. My hope is that this race, completed in remembrance of SGT Timothy D. Statler, will offer some comfort to the family. That is why I ran.