After a wonderful, festive weekend, I am definitely in the Christmas spirit. I started my weekend off with a holiday run in downtown Indianapolis on Saturday morning: the Jingle Bell Run for Arthrits.
This was the third time I have completed this particular race: the first two times I did the 5k with the Girls on the Run team I coached. I knew it was a well-organized race and for a good cause, but I don’t really like to pay for 5ks. However, when I saw they had a new 10k option I was pumped. I love 10ks, but it is hard to find them.
Signing up for races keeps me accountable for my health and fitness goals. I set two running goals for myself after Max was born: 1. I wanted to run a 5k on Thanksgiving Day, 2. I wanted to run a 10k in December at an average pace of 8:59.
I woke up on Saturday morning, took care of my mommy-duties, put on my race gear, at some breakfast and headed downtown. I rarely go run races alone so this was actually a nice, quiet treat. The temperature was perfect and luckily I was not freezing waiting for the race to begin.
As the race started I remembered the goal I set for myself, “an average pace of 8:59, that was it.” While running the race, I continually reminded myself of this and was running my own race. Occasionally my competitive blood would kick in and I would spot eyes on a girl in front of me and I would pick up the pace so I could beat that girl. I had to remind myself that this is my journey, and at almost 3 months postpartum I was doing great even if I never caught that girl.
I used to wear a Garmin when I run, but now I am partial to my heart rate monitor instead. I usually just check my mile splits at each mile marker, but not every mile was marked. I never saw mile marker number one, but when I came across mile marker two and realized I was running about an 8:20 pace, I was pleased, and picked up the pace.
I enjoyed the race, ran my pace and took in parts of my city that I don’t always see while thanking and wishing the volunteers a Happy Holiday. At times I got a little emotional. As the holiday approaches and a new year comes, I thought of all the things that has happened this year: multiple tests & scares with Claire’s seizures, finding out we were pregnant, a new house, and a healthy baby boy. I was overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness for everything Our Lord has given my family this year.
I got lost in my the beauty of my city, the feeling of competing, and the emotions of true gratitude when I came across mile marker number five and did some math to realize I was running about an 8:05 pace. I decided I had it in me to give it my all for the next 1.2 miles- and that is what I did.
I crossed that finish like at an official time of 49:34 and had tears in my eyes. I am so thankful for all the blessings God has bestowed on me this year, but especially for: my health and the health of my family; the opportunity to share my passion for health and fitness; and the ability and freedom to compete against myself in a sport I have grown to love.
As I was walking to the car a girl came up to me and said, “Hey good race! I started near you and had my eyes on you the whole time , but I just couldn’t catch you. However, you really pushed me the whole time and I just ran a PR… Thank you.” My heart was warm- you truly never know when you are inspiring someone else.
Once I got to the car I figured out my pace and was in shock when I found out I ran a 7:58 pace! I not only reached my goal, but I surpassed it. I feel great and accomplished, but most of all I feel BLESSED!