Running Wild

by M. Lizabeth Currain

Yesterday I ran my first 5K in the Valentine’s 5K run in Prospect Park. It was pretty awesome. I finished with a time of 32:34 and even got a flower for being one of top 150 females finishers. This race is the first of many leading up to a Triathlon sprint in July.

I was pretty nervous the morning of the race. I just didn’t want to finish last. I’ve finished last before, way back in elementary school in a track event. Oh man, was that the worst. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but you know you’ve reached a low point when your mom is running along side of you so you’ll finish. I had to prove to my nine or ten-year-old self that I could indeed finish this race without embarrassing myself. And I did!

So when I picked up my bib for the race, I was looking around the room at all the runners. Some of these people, to me, seemed like they might be taking this whole 5K thing a little too seriously…making me think I was screwed. Then I spotted my savior. A slightly goofy looking dude with high-water track pants and mutton chops. He was walking in circles and then he sort of stumbled over his feet. I know how awful this sounds, but at that moment my confidence surged. I no longer had any fear that I was going to come in last place, because I knew I could at least beat this guy. To make myself sound like a less horrible person: I admire anyone who has the balls/boobs? to sign up and show up for a race. It’s kind of scary and the only thing that matters is that you finish. It doesn’t matter how you finish or when you finish, just that you finish. But lets be honest, it’s always nice when someone is worse than you at something. It gives you that small bit of self-assurance you need, to say, “I can fucking do this.”

There were all types of people there running: young, old, fat, thin, kids, couples, lonely old hags (me!). I put on my Blood Bros: First Blood mix and I was ready to fucking go.  Did I mention it was freezing outside? I think I ran a little faster than normal just so I wouldn’t have to be outside for longer than I had to.

There’s a pretty big hill in Prospect Park that sucks to run up. I ran up it. I’m not gonna lie, I walked for like 30 seconds when I got to the top of it, but so were other people! Which was awesome because it makes you realize that other people suck at running up hills too.

As I was in the final stretch, this part of the megamix came on:

At that moment I could see the finish line and I was like, “I AM THE BEST AROUND! NO IS EVER GOING TO KEEP ME DOWN!” I started running a little faster thinking of the Karate Kid and how he was an underdog and if he could beat that asshole, I could finish this race strong.

Then the last couple of meters of the race, right as I’m about to cross the finish line, this song comes on:

How awesome is that?! I think everyone knows how I feel about Stallone and the Rocky franchise. I was even wearing a Rocky t-shirt!

And you know what? I did fly. I flew across that fucking finish line like a champ.

And then I doubled over from the pain in my side and burning in my lungs.

On to the next race!