It was 5 am, my alarm clock had just gone off. I quietly walked to the bathroom where I had laid out my race clothes the night before. I quickly brushed my teeth, pulled back my hair and dabbed some mineral powder on my face. It was still dark outside. My stomach was nervous, but I was excited. I grabbed my breakfast ( a half bottle of Spark and a fiber bar), my iPod and ID and headed out the door while everyone else was still sound asleep.
I met my friends at the Wal-Mart parking lot. The air was wet, the road was wet and the prediction of more rain was imminent. We loaded into the minivan; we were all slowly still waking up. We were mentally envisioning the race in our heads. For some it was our first and others an annual affair. One thing was for certain, we had all been training for this race, and we were ready. Determination was our motivation.
We arrived at Meredith College surrounded by pink banners and a sea of white tents. Set-up was underway. They had a stage for music, bounce houses for the kids, a food-truck rodeo and lots and lots of free pink stuff. We just stood in a circle nervously chatting. Lauren’s husband came to cheer her on and offered to take our picture. We were giddy and ready. We walked to the starting line. Our thoughts back on the race, back to the training and back to reason we were here. It was more than 3.1 miles; it was a thank-you, a memorial, a celebration of the mothers, sisters, aunts and friends who had battled breast cancer. We would honor them in our run, our sweat and our perseverance just as they had already done.
The gun went off and the race started; it was wall to wall people trying to run free. The crowd broke apart and, I started down Hillsborough St.. I was listening to Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” and keeping a good pace. I knew I could keep up my pace at least till the end of the 1st mile. When I reached the 1 mile mark the clock said 11 minutes, I couldn’t believe it. My fastest mile yet. My runner’s high kicked in, and I was able to keep up my pace through the second mile. Tom Petty kept my spirits up with “Running on a Dream” followed by some Adele and Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” I was really rocking the hills. I didn’t remember so many, but I just kept going. I slowed down a little bit after I hit the 2 mile mark, but I could feel my body wearing down, and I wanted to make sure I could turn the afterburners on and sprint to the finish. I was praying for strength on the last hill, and once I hit the peak I increased my speed and flew to the finish line.
My time was 35:22, a personal best. I did it! I’m not sure how. It was a mix of the training, motivation and the all the endorphins running through my body. It was God answering my prayer near the finish line. It was the support of my husband and friends. It was my two boys who make me want to be a better and healthy person. It was all of the above, and I thank everyone who helped me succeed this goal. This goal is the springboard to many other future fitness goals because once you accomplish one goal you will have the motivation to continue pursuing others.