Most Improved

5780592174_db3303babd_b

For those of you who I know via Facebook, me finishing the race yesterday is as much of a relief for you as it is for me. (I use RunKeeper to update Facebook of all of my training runs. With comments such as, “Got home from today’s run and realized my shirt was on backwards!”) For everyone else: Here’s the story. Every Memorial Day our city hosts a big 10K. It’s on several running lists nationwide as it has this NOTORIOUS hill in the middle that I have driven up before, and it scared the crap out of me: IN A CAR. Every year that I’ve run the 5K I think about running the 10K and chicken out. I decided this was the year to do it.

Here is the RunKeeper graph showing my pace mixed with the elevation (in green) – do you see the hill? YES. You can’t miss it. Want to know something? I RAN UP THAT HILL.

A few weeks ago my boot camp coach made us run a different hill in town and that gave me the confidence to run the one yesterday. And you know what? Totally not a big deal compared to boot camp. And it was the one time in the race I was passing people! Heh. Most people walk the hill. I ran it. And then I walked through the water breaks. Because I still can’t drink water while running without A) Choking or B) Missing my mouth entirely. So, yeah. I ran THE HILL, but I walked at 3 different water tables. I like the juxtaposition of those two facts. It fits me.

And my TIME. That time has my pace a few seconds UNDER a 10-minute mile. That is faster than ANY of my 5+ mile training runs. I ran my 6-mile race FASTER than my 5-mile training runs and my race had a HILL in it. A HILL. A BIG SCARY HILL.

Can you feel my pride?

Beyond that…my best 5K time is 32:30. So My 10K time was at a faster pace than my best (and recent) 5K time. When I tell people boot camp has made me faster – THIS is what I’m talking about.

And the picture above. That picture was taken the last time I ran the Cotton Row (the 5K of course) but it might as well be a pre-boot camp picture from September. I basically had the same body and the same fitness level before I started boot camp. I’ve lost 15+ pounds on the scale and probably traded out another 5-10lbs of fat for muscle, if you analyze my measurements. This body is MUCH more fit and getting very lean but most of all? This body is proud. It’s not been easy at all. I always dreamed of being able to look back and say: At THIS MOMENT when I made THIS CHANGE or did THIS THING I lost weight and became fit. Unfortunately, that works for some people, but not for most of us. It started with boot camp, but it was months into boot camp before I lost any weight because I still was battling emotional eating. Hell…I’m still battling it…which is why the weight is coming of so slowly. But still…every month I’m a pound or two or five in the right direction.

And I’m PROUD. I crossed that finish-line yesterday and wanted to collapse because I pushed it so hard towards the end. And I finished 4 whole minutes UNDER my goal time. (My boot camp coach predicted 1:03, he was damn close.) I RAN THE HILL. I kept saying that over and over yesterday because – time, weight, muscles aside – the change in my body and mind that pushed me to run the hill that 90% of the runners walk? THAT is the change that makes me the most proud. I didn’t doubt myself. I didn’t say, “I can’t do that.” I said, “Let’s make this hill my BEEYATCH.” And I did.