Today FaveCousin and I walked in the SF Mermaid 5K. A stark contrast from my first Mermaid 5K, which I participated in back in March 2009 with my sister. If you have a few minutes, go and read that post. If you don’t have a few, I’ll recap it:
It was March 2009. I weighed 275 pounds or so (over 60 pounds more than I do now, but 40 pounds less than my all-time highest weight). I had signed up for Team in Training, planning to walk a half marathon, but had been having difficulty with numbness in my right foot which moved up my leg all the way to my hip. It was awful, debilitating, and extremely frustrating. But my friend Harj decided that she wanted all of her friends to celebrate her birthday by participating in the Mermaid Run. So I asked my sister if she’d do it with me. From the start of the race, everyone passed us – the runners, the power walkers, the walkers, the women with strollers – everyone. I mean, we were dead last. And it got to me because I wanted to push harder, go farther, move faster. But I couldn’t. I had shin splints, cramps in my calves, and the numbness in my feet/legs. I broke down hysterically crying shortly after we’d begun, and my sister had to talk me down. One of the things I realized that day was that I’d have to forgo the TNT training and the 1/2 marathon, because I physically just couldn’t do it. It was one of my low points in this journey.
Cut to today – FaveCousin and I had to walk about a mile from the parking lot to the start of the race and we did so in less than 12 minutes! We got to the starting line and enjoyed the “girl power” music – Beyonce, Katy Perry (Even though I really dislike her music, I have to admit that “Roar” is a rallying song), etc. I was excited for so many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that today I was wearing that women’s cut shirt that I would’ve never fit in back in 2009.
At 7:35am, the race started, and while plenty of people passed us, we were far from the last ones walking. In fact, we were solidly in the middle of the pack. This fact alone made me incredibly happy and awestruck at just how far I’ve come.
While we walked, I felt good. I wasn’t exerting myself, and I knew that eventually I should either push myself to start competing in 10Ks or I should start run/walking. (More on the running in a future post – let’s just say that next year I’m going to do my best to run most of the 5K). But for today, I decided to just continue walking at my 3.8mph pace, and enjoy the lovely scenery and the great company. Today there were no tears. Today I was all smiles as I realized that this 5K was going to be an entirely different experience from the last Mermaid 5K.
San Francisco really is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and that Golden Gate Bridge is one of the jewels. The weather was brisk and chilly, but sunny while we were racing. Oddly enough, the fog rolled in later in the morning, but while we walked we were blessed with the sunshine. (Although you can see just what the foggy, ocean air does to my hair – can we say ‘fro?!).
All told, we finished the 5K in 56 minutes, which is a darn good pace for walking. I hit over 10,000 steps by 9am. I’m so proud of all that I have accomplished and the dramatic difference between this race and the one back in 2009. I’m a completely different person now, with abilities that match my determination. I couldn’t be more thrilled with my progress!! Today was definitely one of the high points in my journey!