Out of the corner of my eye, I see the belly dancers. One has a sword on her head. Or did I just imagine it, because of the crusty mess I have become while running? I keep ahead, focusing on the mass of people ahead of me and the swirl of colors. A woman in a tutu passes me to the right. Everything feels harder after the first two miles. Got to keep my feet moving. I try to focus on a song with a good rhythm on my iPod. I feel a little bit sick at the moment. A fleeting thought passes through my head, that I could just veer off the course, go find a shady spot under a tree, and forget the rest of this. But no, I must power on — my pride won’t let me quit.
There are many people in Boulder, Colorado who run religiously, whatever the season, whatever the weather. They talk about the endorphins that released as the run freely along, and act like there is nothing so wonderful as a run along the Flatirons. I am not one of these people. I’ve never particularly liked running, and usually only make myself run if I’ve entered a race. Even entering the BolderBoulder this year was mainly the result of peer pressure, as our two friends were coming from Chicago to run it. What kind of wimp would I be to live here in Boulder county, and not run it with them?
I’m also a person who hates being unprepared for anything. So once I signed up for the race, I was bound and determined to start a training program of running so I would be ready come race day. The internet is full of Couch to 10k plans, and I eagerly seized upon them as I set about training on March 1. I got one run/walk in, when my plans were promptly derailed by a flu-like virus that took me out of commission for a good two weeks. So I restarted in late March, with not near as much time as I had hoped.
Still over the last few weeks, I pushed myself to run the full 10k distance several times to feel as if I could do this. I could do this. I could do this during a cool, 50-degree day for sure. But after a restless night of feeling nervous, and a hot day that dawned this morning, between miles 2 and 3 I wasn’t feeling so confident.
There were no endorphins or giddy feeling that took over me, just a feeling of being incredibly hot and suffering mightily. Still, I kept those legs moving, and when I passed the “summit” and the halfway point, I thought I might make it. Some downhills during mile 4 sure helped, and hitting the Mile 5 mark, I felt like I would finish. So thankful for those people ringing cowbells, cheering us on, it gave me that added boost I needed.
That last hill up into the stadium, I shortened up my stride, just trying to keep those feet moving. I will not walk. I will not walk. Running into the stadium, I glanced at the stands, looking for Bryon, knowing he must have already finished. My personal goal was 1 hour, and I knew I was closed, so I summoned everything up in the straightaway and ran as fast as I could through the finish line.
Oh thank God, I am done, as I double over in pain. I turn to my left, and a man I don’t even know says “Good job!” and high fives me. I walk up into the stands, looking for my husband and sit down. I am done with the BolderBoulder 2016, and my hour of misery and suffering is done.