Run With My Heart

So I was reading a book and thinking more and more about my first 5K Running Race on Saturday (I have done a Muddy Buddy, which is 5K, but that has its OWN distinction….trust me). Let me mention, this just isn’t my first 5K, this is my first race…EVER!! I was a sprinter in high school and college, so I have had to re-teach myself how to run. For those that don’t know, running, as a sprinter is 180 degrees different than running as a distance runner. I still have my track shoes (spikes) from high school. I have never thrown them away. For some reason, they are inspiring to me. They remind me of that feeling I used to get during the 100 meter dash. There was this moment of pure clarity, where my entire body worked as one with my instinct; legs pushing their limit in-between heartbeats. I never heard the crowd until I crossed the finish line. I never heard anything while I was running it. No voice of doubt, no voice questioning decisions I made, no voice ridiculing me, just blessed, blissful peace. It has remained the only time I think I have ever known true inner peace.

I am not saying I was fast, or even good, I am just saying that was my hustle. That was my thing that no one could ever take away from me. On some level, I think I have spent my life, since then, trying to find something that would bring me that same inner peace.

Back to my point of re-teaching myself how to distance run: I am not fully there yet, but every time I go out, it is a learning process. The one thing I have learned from all of my Runner friends (God bless you all for your help and answering the endless questions I have) is that I need to find my pace. My problem is, based on a lifetime of learned lessons; I want to go all out when I start. Yeah, that isn’t a healthy pace when running distances because your body will get gassed QUICKLY somewhere around the mile mark. I think I have finally started to be on the cusp of getting “My Pace”. A good test of that will be Saturday. The other advice I also must remind myself constantly is, don’t get caught up doing someone else’s pace. I know I will wrestle with that as well.

I have done hard training this week, and know that I need to let my body rest/recover until the race. I am mentally going over my pace, every waking second. I am also working on/practicing keeping only three thoughts in my head when every fiber in my being is screaming to stop, and when my voice of doubt is reminding me how stupid I am for thinking I could be a runner: 1) The recent picture of Damary and the girls. They are my inspiration, and I know that every step I am taking brings me closer back to them. 2) One step at a time. In other words, don’t think about how far I have to go, or how far I have gone, just concentrate on one step at a time, that is all I can control. And 3) When my legs are screaming, when my three-time surgically altered knee, and it’s reconstructed ACL are on fire; when my lungs feel like they are coated in barb wire, I HAVE to remember to Run With My Heart. To enjoy the scenery, the tranquility, and hopefully tap into that inner peace I have yearned to get back to.

My daughters are excited to cheer for me at the finish line. At the dinner table, Annabelle (our youngest) told me that she wants to cheer for me at the race. She said, “I will say ‘GO PAPI. GO CARDINALS!’ (Yes, she already cheers for the U of L Cardinals LOL)” And she extends her arms as far as she can, when she yells this. I will not lie, I don’t know if it is ego, or simply wanting them to be proud of me, but ever since they were born, I have ALWAYS wanted to compete in something where the girls to cheer for me.

I am fully aware I will not break any records on Saturday, but when I cross the finish line, NO ONE can take that away from me.

This maybe my first race, but it surely will not be my last.

-Until the Wheels Fall Off (Hmm…maybe I should change that lol)


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