This weekend I went to Calgary to run with over 2000 other participants in the AstraZeneca 5K race. The last time I ran 5k was at the Chilly-Willy in my home town and I think maybe 50 runners attended, so being in a crowd 2000 big was a brilliant feeling. The energy was as enormous as the crowd.
Before the race started the MC revved us up. He asked who was going to win the race. I shot up both my arms in the air and let out a conspicuous "ME!"
And I did!
Well...if by winning he meant finish without vomiting my guts out; if by winning he meant not taking a wrong turn somewhere at Albuquerque; if by winning he meant finishing my personal best, then I TOTALLY WON THAT RACE!
My goal going into the race was to run without stopping the first 2k. I was so swept up by the crowds - they had spectators playing banjos, fans brandishing supportive signs, enthusiasts blowing horns, even a group of can-can dancers flashed us a peek at their bottoms. When I finally realized I was still running and the marker said 3k I couldn't believe it! I started to laugh. I felt good - really good - so I continued my pace laughing in between gulps of air.
As I turned the corner heading into the Calgary Stampede grandstands - the last kilometer to go - a thrill rushed over me. I was still running! I was going to run this final stretch if it was the last thing I ever did. I started to laugh. It was just so profoundly funny to me that I was actually accomplishing something I didn't think was possible.
As the finishing line came into view I was overcome by the realization that I was about to achieve something really hard for me. I fought back tears betwixt the wheezing and the giggling.
33 minutes and 41seconds flashed above me as I crossed the finishline! My tears could not be contained. I did it! I ran the whole thing!
The real premise to this event was the marathon. The 5k and 10k were just the side attractions. My husband ran that marathon in just under 4 hours (like 1 second under). He also won that race because he didn't think he'd finish due to a foot injury.
He was there on the other side of the finish-line watching me. He said he could see me grinning all the way up the last stretch. He had tears in his eyes - perhaps from pride or maybe because every muscle in his body was cramping.
He knew that for me, I had run a personal marathon. He knew what that meant and he let me have the glory even though he had completed something truly ludicrous. He didn't make light of my 5000 metres in comparison to his 42,194 metres. We both knew those 5 little kilometers had become the stepping stones to running in the Calgary Marathon one day.