Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Disappointment and a silver lining

I have a love of running. I used to dream about running. I never thought I could be a runner because I'm heavier than the lithe little runners you see bounding about. That was a lie. I can run. I can run for an hour. I'm not fast, it may not be pretty and there's a lot of sweating going on, but I can continuously run for 60 minutes, if not more.

My ultimate goal is to do a 1/2 marathon this fall. My first goal is to run a 5k. I can run that distance, plus some, but I've never done a race. My race is scheduled for this Saturday, March 27, 2010. I signed up more than six weeks ago. I paid my fee, picked out my shirt size and ordered some wicking socks (a little remembrance for me), only I won't be there.

I sprained my ankle. Yesterday. Picking up free hockey tickets I won at work. I was checking out the tickets, walking back to my car to go home after work and a 2-foot-square piece of concrete, 3 inches deep, was suddenly missing from the parking lot. Down I went. I picked myself up and dusted off my pant legs and hobbled to my car, grateful in that second that I was even able to put pressure on my foot. Once I sat down I just started bawling. Not the silent tears working their way down my face to drip off my chin, but gasping breaths, shaking shoulders, runny nose crying that is never pretty to look at or hear.

My race was five days away. I had been training for this particular race for six weeks. I had seen my miles drop from 15 minutes a mile to start, then 13 1/2 minutes a mile at the beginning of this year, to one time, 11 minutes a mile, and on average 12 minute miles. My breathing had improved, my turnover was getting better and my posture felt easy, relaxed. I could run, stopping for one or two one-minute-walk breaks, for an hour, even more. The SO was going to be there, taking a picture as I crossed the line of my first 5k. Not anymore.

I pulled myself together long enough to drive home. Crying intermittently at stoplights. I got home. Grabbed an ice pack out of the freezer, made myself comfortable in bed with my foot up on two pillows and settled in. I pretty much stayed there for the rest of the night. Knowing my race would go on without me, hoping that in the morning I would wake up thinking 'What sprained ankle?' The SO took care of me. He knew how important the race was. He told me how proud of me he was that I had worked so far of it. He went as far as to suggest I call in to work the following day to give myself the biggest chance of still being in the race on Saturday if that's what I really wanted. I thought about it, but I didn't.

So my ankle hurts. I will not be able to run this Saturday, I won't be able to play the double header in volleyball scheduled for tomorrow night. But I still will be able to run my first 5k. I just have to wait a little bit. I actually already had one scheduled for May 15 near my hometown before I went all klutzo on the parking lot. I'm pretty excited about that one, too.

To make the most out of my bad situation I contacted the person putting on the race this Saturday. I told him I knew my money could not be refunded, but since it was to be my first 5k and I could no longer run it, I was wondering if he knew of anyone who could run the race, but maybe couldn't afford it, or wasn't planning on it but might enjoy it anyway. Lo and behold, he offered to hold my registration fee and transfer it to another race! Oh yes you can!

I learned in the last 24 hours that I want to be a runner. I didn't want to just run a race, I didn't want to just put everything into 40 minutes and be done with it. I want to run. I want to be healthy enough to run next week. I want to continue to run next month, and by the end of this year I'd like to say I'm a half-marathon runner. My running days are not over. In fact, they're just beginning.

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