The Unlikely 10K-er and Videos/Pictures of The Day
I knew that today was going to be a challenge. I didn’t realize how much. I’ve completed a 10K walk before at the Hutchins walking trail, but compared to the challenge today---that’s just a walk in the park, literally. The 10K today was a road course with huge hills, many times more challenging than any other workout I’ve ever accomplished.
I kept thinking about how hard it was when I started this journey 426 days ago. At 505 just walking down the hall would leave me out of breath. I was so embarrassed how bad it had become. When we pulled up to the trail that first evening, Day 1, I was so intimidated by it---and immediately decided to just walk around the Hutchins Memorial Auditorium. I’ve always guesstimated it was a quarter-mile, but it was probably much less. It wasn’t a long walk before I was completely ready to collapse. I remember how scared I was with my heart racing, sweating profusely, and my labored breathing, but I tried my best not to let Courtney see my fear. Had it really become this bad? I decided right then and there that I would take it slow and steady---like I really had a choice, right? Still, every time, every evening we would return, so did the fear of dying out there. Consistency was the key to this becoming easier and me escaping these fears. We had to do it every evening, every day---we couldn’t miss a day. We walked in the rain, in sleet and snow, in freezing temperatures---it didn’t matter, because this was just too important to miss. It quickly became easier and before long I could actually make it one time around the trail. At the time we thought that was a mile, it wasn’t, it was only a little over eight tenths of a mile, but still---I’ll never forget the emotion and feeling of triumph when I made it all the way around. I felt that same emotion today after finishing the 6.2 mile 10K.
Friends of mine joined me and I’m so glad they did. Chris Williams was along side the entire race and his wife Stephanie followed, making sure we made all the twist and turns. Stephanie also assumed the role of cameraperson---so glad she did, she captured some good ones. It would have been very different without them along. I can’t thank them enough. As we approached the finish, my previous thoughts of power sprinting the last couple of blocks were replaced with complete exhaustion. I was done. Had Chris not been there to push me, and yes—at one point during the final block or two---He literally was behind me pushing. He wouldn’t let me slow to a walk. Even though I felt like waddling my way to the finish---I was able to pick it up and lightly jog across the finish with the help from Chris. Oh—and just when I was resigned to slowly walking across the finish---someone started shouting on a bullhorn from the finish line---calling us by name, encouraging us to finish strong. Well---If the pushing from Chris wasn’t enough, now I really couldn’t walk. I had to somehow summon the strength to pick my legs up off the pavement in a non-walking fashion. My legs felt like jello. Right after I finished, I immediately found a place on the ground to sit. I was given a banana and water and soon after, a gold medal.
You see, Chris and I were the only two males in our age group competing. Everyone else was much younger or at least a decade older, I think some were even two or three decades older! Chris stayed with me the whole way, even with pain from a bad knee---risking even worse injury, he wasn’t missing this---and then helping push me over the finish---what a friend. He completely deserved that gold medal. I would have loved the silver medal too---but the official results showed me in the gold. We must have jogged at least half of that thing---I’ve never worked that hard, never ever have I been this sore afterward. It was awesome!
It was very cool to see Fitness and Life Coach Melissa Walden out there too! She finished the race, and then went back to cheer on and finish again with some of her clients. Talk about a motivator---she’s inspiring, and makes it so easy to understand. I’m proud to call her a friend.
It wasn’t until it was completely over, after the awards ceremony---and everyone was gone, that I couldn’t help becoming emotional. Dang it! I can’t help it my friend. And after all we’ve been through along this journey---I’m not ashamed to admit my man tears. I recorded a “10K reflection” video---real quick during this time, right before driving away---and I almost lost it right there. That video is posted below. I was so proud. I was so touched by the friendship of Chris and Stephanie---they didn’t have to be there, they had a big day ahead of them already---but they did it for me. And I felt so very accomplished---I did it. The hills, the pain, the pushing…there I was doing something that wasn’t even remotely possible before at my heaviest. I drove away from the event with tears streaming down my cheek. Good tears, happy tears. My life will never be like it was 426 days ago.
I made it home and just sat at the dining room table staring off into space. Courtney greeted me with a hug and congratulations, as did Irene. I was hungry---so I prepared the most delicious 170 calorie egg white omelet ever---complete with fresh mushrooms, lean-shaved ham, and low-fat part-skim mozzarella cheese. I poured a cold ice tea and made my way into the living room and the “big mans” recliner, grabbed the remote, turned on football---and enjoyed. I earned this. I really thought I would immediately go to sleep—but I was too pumped up from the race, too happy to sleep. It took me nearly three hours to finally make my way to the bedroom for a much-needed nap.
This is enough for one blog…I’ll recap the Poncan Theatre adventure in tomorrow’s blog. It wasn’t as thrilling as the first---without me being frightened---it just wasn’t as entertaining. But it was a good investigation nonetheless. Just not as good for broadcast.
Below you’ll find a bunch of pictures and video from today. I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading. Goodnight and…
Before the 10K---So proud of that number!
Chris and Me right before the start---
The final few blocks were brutal. Chris wouldn’t let me stop. I just couldn’t!
Seconds after crossing the finish!
After the 10K—Much different expression than before the race!
With Fitness and Life Coach Melissa Walden
Today’s mission accomplished.