Sunday was the Dogfish Dash. The day I’ve been waiting for since my 30th birthday. The day I had somewhat been training for. Finally!
I arrived in Delaware late Friday night/early Saturday morning. I had to pick up my packet from the Dogfish Head Brewpub on Saturday evening. I went with my BFF and P, and at that point, I was honestly excited and ready to take on the course! However, when I woke up at 5:30 on Sunday morning, I was a bundle of nerves. I felt like I was going to be sick. My mom, BFF, P and I left my mom’s house (conveniently 20 minutes away from where I would be running) at 6. That left us hanging out in the parking lot for about an hour and a half, which did NOT help my nerves. Thankfully my BFF, an awesome marathoner running the 10K course, convinced me to eat 3 cheese crackers a half an hour before the race, which helped my tummy a bit.
Just before 8 am, we made our way to the start line. I got a pep talk from my BFF and her friend telling me that I’m awesome and can finish this. I watched as the owner of Dogfish Head, Sam Calagione, ascended a ladder to do to the final countdown. My heart raced, but I started up the distance running module of my C25K app, which keeps track of my distance and pace all while giving me sound cues to how far I’ve gone and have left to go, and waited for the whistle. And they’re off! I began jogging forward in the sea of people. It was easy to do since you were basically being pushed along with everyone else.
I ran away from the brewery, keeping to the right so I won’t be in the way of faster runners. As I turned right out of the brewery, the outside of my left ankle started throbbing in pain. I slowed down a bit, but continued pushing myself down the road. Then the pain started shooting up the left side of my left calf. I slowed to a fast walk thinking that I just needed a few minutes to work through the pain. After about five minutes of walking, I tried to run again only to have my ankle and calf scream out in pain. Granted, it still hurt when I was walking, but not as badly as it did when I tried to run. I wasn’t even a mile into the race yet and I felt myself wanting to quit. I thought to myself, “It hurts too much. I can just call my mom and she’ll come pick me up.” But then I also thought, “I didn’t come all of this way to quit!” So I just kept trucking along. Yes, it sucked to see everyone running past me (well not everyone – there were walkers behind me) but I was still in the race!
As I passed houses, families were outside cheering everyone on. There was even a woman standing at her front door in her housecoat clapping and yelling, “You go girl!” That made me smile, and even motivated me to try to run again. My ankle wasn’t having any of that. I grunted in frustration, ready to quit again. I saw the side streets that I could easily cut down, shaving a few minutes off of my finish time. I saw everyone running parallel to me and gave the idea some serious thought. Don’t worry – I didn’t cheat. I used my bum ankle to propel myself forward in the hopes of gaining some momentum. This worked best as I was going down the hill (the only hill in lower Delaware I’m sure).
Finally I got to the part of the course that I already ran and realized that I’m almost there. As I rounded the corner going back towards the brewery, I could hear people cheering on the runners. I started to get choked up because I was disappointed in myself – disappointed that I could not run the 5k. As, I fought back tears, I looked up and see my mom and P cheering me on. My mood instantly changes. The only person I have disappointed is myself! They were so proud and excited for me – so I started to run. Sure I couldn’t feel my toes on my left foot at this point, but I was going to run across that damn finish line!
And I crossed the finish line at 55:02. No, this wasn’t the time I had in mind, but I achieved the two goals I had going into the race: 1) Finish the 5K in less than an hour and 2) Don’t finish last. So I didn’t get to completely run my first 5K – that’s ok! What did I honestly expect after not training like I should have? But now I have NO excuse for next year’s Dogfish Dash. I’ll run it and finish a whole lot sooner than 55:02. A special thank you to my mom, BFF and P for cheering me on during race day, and a huge thank you to everyone that was cheering me on in spirit!
I know that the subtitle to my blog has been “My journey to my first 5K!” but the journey continues. As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you’ll continue to follow me on my journey towards a healthy (and beer filled) lifestyle. Up next – the Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving morning. P and I just got our
hideously bright yellow race shirts in the mail the other night, so it’s time to get training!