I did it! I ran my very first timed race! It was no marathon but it was the start of something pretty great for me.
After suffering numerous setbacks over the summer, I worked really hard and trained my body back into running shape. Mother Nature had other ideas. It rained most of the day prior to the race…and the day of wasn’t much better. While it wasn’t raining, it was super windy and cold. This only added to my nerves. I pushed forward anyway and made the drive to Six Flags Great Adventure.
Once I got there, the nerves disappeared. The race was a Biggest Loser RunWalk and they are the best races to do. They have a community vibe and are very unintimidating. Past contestants from the show are usually on-hand for each race. Dan and Jackie Evans from season 5 host each RunWalk but other contestants usually make special appearances to run and/or cheer everyone on.
The race went through the theme park and looped around…into part of the Safari! At one point, I looked to my right and saw a bunch of Chimps all in a line watching us all run. It was a pretty awesome backdrop to run my first real race on: roller coasters, the Halloween-inspired red fountain, and then the safari.
I ran the WHOLE time…pausing briefly once for the pit-stop of water that they had at the 2-mile mark. As I ran, the cold no longer bothered me and the wind wasn’t in front of me so that wasn’t much of a factor either. The terrain was a bit muddy at times from the rain the night before but I pushed through. As I said the BLRWs are a community—and everyone supports one another and cheers each other on throughout the race.
My goal was to finish in under 30 minutes. I knew with the weather I wasn’t going to hit a PR but as long as it was under that time I would be happy. As I approached the finish line, Pam Geil (from season 14—aka the season that inspired this journey) called my name and cheered me on. Apparently she remembered meeting me at the off-road challenge we did last year!
I took notice of the clock as I crossed the finish line – it said 30:24. I got instantly upset with myself but let it go, knowing that I had completed the race. What I didn’t realize was there was a delay –I didn’t start the race with the first group (when the clock actually started.) I started about a minute and half after the clock did, meaning my time was actually 28:47….which put me in first place in my age group! I never came in first at anything…ever…
It’s been a few days now but I’m still in shock when I think about it. This race was an amazing experience and through training and finishing, I learned an important lesson. Seems every time I doubt myself or have to dig deeper for motivation, greatness happens…which is proof that when you lose the excuses, you find results.
It’s hard to describe how amazing it feels to accomplish the goals you set. I’ve pushed through a lot of adversity during this journey but I have managed to succeed in ways I never thought possible. To-date I have lost over 70lbs, went from a size 14 to a size 2, gained confidence that I never had, and gotten my body in the best shape that its ever been. A year ago I could barely run a mile without stopping and now I’ve completed a timed 5K, finishing only four minutes behind the girl who was first overall.
This whole experience was truly incredible. There’s something to be said about facing your fears head-on and using it as motivation to achieving your goal. I don’t know that I will ever run a marathon but I will definitely strive to training my body for longer distances. One day I would love to run the Disney Half—I figure if I’m running that far I may as well do it with a tiara or character ears on my head 🙂
I want to thank the people at The Biggest Loser RunWalk . I was generously granted complimentary access to run and to the VIP area, which had plenty of food and drinks (and some much needed heaters!)
The pictures that I’ve included were taken by my amazing, supportive boyfriend who braved the cold just to cheer me on. Professional photographers were on-hand and took pictures throughout the course–those should be posted on the website soon and (since they are free) I will most definitely be sharing them once they are available! 🙂
This was something that I will never forget and I can’t wait to sign up for my next (hopefully longer) race! Remember if you believe it, you WILL achieve it. I suffered several setbacks and continue to face various challenges but crossing that finish line was proof that hard work does pay off. No matter how much you may struggle, always remember: nothing worth having comes easy.
Stay strong & stay in the fight!