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learning, lungs and life — one breath at a time
I really wasn’t sure how today would go. At all. On top of having not focused enough on getting more comfortable with distances above 6K, I got my period yesterday which plays up the lungs. I was up at 5:30 and again at 6:30 to take a couple hits on the inhaler, and got up at 6:45 to get ready. I figured, if worse comes to worse, I can always get there and just hang out and not walk.
6:40 am – trying to figure out how to cram all my stuff in my pockets again. I was trying not to have to take a bag with me, so I had to do a lot of elimination of what I was going to bring. I ended up with my pockets kinda weighed down, but ended up with my iPod, phone and camera in my sweats [proud of me? I wore sweats out of the house!], lady items stuck in my waistband [skillsss], and threw a granola bar in my pocket.
6:45 am – feeling pretty gunky, popped a Benadryl and checked my PF; 80%. Stuck an Advil, a couple Benadryl, $20, some Rolaids and an extra Ventolin in the inner pocket of my light hoodie.
7:30 am – pre-neb before leaving home, do the Atrovent.
7:45 am – realize that in all my strategicness with half the pharmacy I have to carry with me, I forgot my bib number on the bathroom counter. Run back upstairs before my coworker picks me up
8:30 am – arrived in the small town the race is held in, get corralled by about half the town into a field to park in. How small town is that? Awesome. Getting stoked.
8:33 am – from the parking field, we are rounded up onto a horse drawn sleigh thingie [are they sleighs if there’s no snow?] and are shuttled over to the starting/registration area where my coworker and her husband pick up their kits and I pin my number on like a pro [and have to give lessons ;-)]
8:45 am – drift over to the opening ceremonies where bands have been playing, completely miss the rules because people are talking [pfft, rules. Whatever.], half miss prayer because people are talking [yep, small town ;-)].
8:48 am – balloons released in memory of people who have in, one way or another, passed away due to mental illness. My coworker’s husband’s brother ended his own life in 2008 at the age of 48, leaving behind two daughters who are very involved with this race in memory of their dad.
8:50 am – turned my head and took three hits of Ventolin [my coworker, standing beside me, didn’t even notice.]
9:00 am – here we go . . . not quite. Everybody else has started, but we’re still hanging back and I’m being introduced to a bunch of people.
9:10 am – finally off!
The first 5K were slow and easy. I stuck with my coworker and her family and sauntered along with them. We found her husband’s brother’s name on a memorial sign, and the family stopped to take pictures with it.
The weather was gorgeous. The air was the right temperature for breathing, even at 90% humidity [if that was even true], and we winded our way around town and gazed at the whole traditional Prairie fields.
There was live music along the course, which was awesome except not loud enough!
The first five were really slow. My coworker commented on how good I sounded, which was awesome, regardless. I felt like I was just on a light stroll, and knew I was picking it up for the second half—I was already leading the pack and yelling out all the mile/kilometer marker signs because I was always first to spot ‘em.
After I yelled out “Halfway!” at the 5K sign, I took a few fast steps, split from the group and was on my own.
This is where I brought it out, hardcore. As soon as I split from the group, I stuck my earphones in and hit play on the iPod–I was no longer being passed, and was passing people, which always feels awesome.
5.5K — Insert mini-freak-out here when I thought “Shit, my inhaler was just in my hand, where the frick is it”. This is why I brought two. I found it in another pocket.
At the 6K mark I was definitely getting a lot more noticeably short of breath and tight, and I think I probably took it up too fast, too soon. Took two hits on the inhaler and slowed down a teeny bit.
This one’s at about the 7K mark. I’m still not breathing fab [but heck, I just walked 7K, I’m thinkin’ that’s kinda understandable!]. I was trying to make it look easy, but apparently my eyes tell another story [My coworker was commenting that I made the first 5K look easy . . . Cause they were? :-)]
=7.5K-ish I felt like an actual athlete when someone stuck some water in my hand on the way by and I managed to spill half of it all over myself. I mean, that’s what people in races do, right? [I was carrying water with me during the race, also.]
At 8K, I’m starting to feel my lungs again; took another couple hits on the inhaler. At this point, I also swear they missed labeling kilometers nine and ten. It was probably planned to drive us insane AND make us get more excited to see the end.
I also saw this:
and thought it was the end. No such luck ;-). Just before this, too, a bunch of people started cheering at me, which was super awkward being alone. I think I did a fist-pump and screamed YEAHHHH! and kept going.
I also talked to some eleven year olds in this super boring straight stretch around that corner. They were all decked out in purple and I cheered for them. Then we discussed shoes and being tired, and then I passed them. It was a good time.
But this church that cracked me up made up for the lack of finish line:
As did this oh-so-small-town convenience store. Small towns are my favourite.
Country Snacks! Heck yes! This is how you know you are in the country, people! They just tell you and/or the race music is epic worship music, combined with Lady Gaga and Pat Benetar, No big. There were also drumming grandmas around here somewhere.
When I thought I was at about 9K, I just booked it. Then I saw the finish chute and I was all over that shiznit. I was like YEAHHH in my head and walked super fast until they tore off the strip dealie on my bib and put a medal on a pretty pink lanyard around my neck as I stopped my iPod timer.
My actual time was 1:50:15, which because of the whole meeting/introduction thing at the beginning will be different from my “official time”. I’m going with my actual time though. Unfortunately, my Nike+ sensor crapped out, and I didn’t get my speed fluctuations logged, and I think I need to find a new logging solution.
HECK YES. UNDER TWO HOURS! That’s really all I wanted for this first 10K.
During the last four kilometers, I pretty much thought about that I really freaking wanted chocolate milk. After I got outta the timing deal, I texted my coworker who was still on the course, tossed my empty water bottle, went pee [be proud of me, people, I used a porta-potty AND wore sweatpants in public. I am making progress. Forget walking 10K, THESE are the milestones, I even avoid airplane bathrooms if at all possible, the porta-potty is saying something] Then I booked it to the food tent, in which I entered and saw a dude with a ridiculous amount of chocolate milk. BEST. EVER. And then I stopped moving and it freaking hurt.
I stretched and chilled with my chocolate milk and my phone while waiting for my people. This is when I was tweeting my time, and facebooking, and emailing Steve, who told me I could do it, and of course, I was all self-doubting, but really, when is that dude wrong?
Turns out I finished 2 kilometers and probably at least 30-40 minutes before the others [I was told later that I passed two of my coworkers family members, and apparently was going “really fast”]. But, we ALL finished, which was awesome. Neither my coworker or her husband were really prepared [less-so than me], and finishing is what counts. [Also a good thing I left the group because at 3K he had to smoke on course, after which I kinda trailed ahead for a fair while, which I believe happened a couple more times on the course and right before we left.]
I was breathing decent afterwards and post-medicated [yes, RT Steve :)] with the inhaler, but I felt myself tightening up again just a little an hour later when we were getting in the car. I felt okay when I got home, but just passed that magic two-hour mark back at home I started flaring-up pretty fast and my peak flows dropped to 65% [I don’t know what I was at post-race]. After doing a treatment I was a bit short of breath still, which has dissipated for the most part.
But, I did it, and all that is SO worth it. My lungs held up so much better than I expected despite my death grip on the inhaler the last four kilometers—I’m pretty sure I didn’t cough at all until the 6K mark, either, which is crazy. My legs were barely bugging me except for a weird kink in my right knee that I get sometimes . . . until I stopped moving! [I do, however, feel a bit like an 80-year-old when I’m walking around though because my usual limp is more profound when I’m tired]
So there’s the race report—did it!
Next week’s 5K is going to be a piece of cake.