This morning I completed the San Diego River Run 5K. Over the last year I have been running during the week and gradually increasing my distance. A little over a month ago, I saw a flyer for this event and after some research, decided I want to run in this race. My only goal was to run the entire way and I was successful.
When I was younger, I would run/walk for exercise but when I started to feel winded, I would panic and stop running in order to walk. Two years ago, I ran a mile for the first time without stopping, which was also a milestone for me. In those two years, I gradually overcame my anxiety and last year I started running a mile for a warmup before exercise. This spring, I decided to run further and I gradually increased the distance.
After signing up for this race, I increased my distance from 1.5 miles to 2.75. My anxiety and panic came back but this time I did not let it stop me from running. Today was my first time running 3 miles. In the last part of the run, when I turned around for the home stretch, I was exultant and felt like I could run forever. As I reached the last .25 miles, that energy had left and I had to push to keep going, especially up the final hill just before the finish line. But my anxiety did not come back, just a strong focus and concentration on running.
In that moment, as I crossed the finish line, I felt satisfaction and joy at sharing with my family and friends on the other side. I wasn’t the first or last to cross, I was somewhere in the middle of those running, jogging or walking along the course. I had thought about pushing in order to decrease my time but I know myself and that I run the risk of injury when I try to overachieve. I preferred to pace myself, to stay steady on the course and run for my goals not what others think my goals should be. The payoff was that satisfaction of success and sharing it with my husband and son and my friends Lee and Minnie.
Thank you to my husband and son for your support so that I had the time to run and build for this race. Thank you to Lee for believing in me and to both Lee and Minnie for your support at the finish line.
Photos by J.T. Harpster and J.M. Harpster