we did it! on march 29th, david and i ran in our first race, ever. and we actually made it to the finish line. we finished in an hour and 6 minutes, which isn’t exactly anything to brag about, but my main goal was just to run the entire time, and we did that, so i am happy.
the race was on jeju island, and it was a stunning route. we followed the rocky, volcanic coastline out and back, and all along the way there were swirling pools of clear, turquoise water and patches of white sand. it was pristine and the air was crisp and fresh. i could not have asked for a more beautiful “first race.”
my severe mood-swing from euphoric jon-williams-esque enthusiasm to angst-ridden breeann-williams-at-fifteen was another story…
we arrived to the starting point a little late, and had to rush around with our friends to get everything situated before the gun went off. sarah and jonathan were going to run the marathon (a feat that i have so much more awe and respect for, after barely completing my measly 10 kilometers), so they left 10 minutes before us. i gratefully downed an caffeine-loaded gel shortly before we were going to start our race, and suddenly the caffeine hit me all at once. my legs were shaky, my hands were jittery, and suddenly i was swept up into the excitement of everything around me. i was beyond stoked to be a part of this thing that everyone was going to be doing together. i was loving it. as the race started i kept jabbering to david and waving to foreigners as they ran by. i was elated. i remember thinking to myself, “why didn’t i do this sooner?? this is great!”
somewhere shortly after 5 kilometers, my mood drastically plummeted. my feet turned to lead stones. my lungs were ragged. sweat was pouring out of me (and into my eyes). i was pretty convinced i was dying. and, since this hit me at the half-way point, i knew i had a long ways to go. as i dragged my body forward, i couldn’t help but notice that david was doing just fine. he’d call out friendly little reminders of the time, to which i finally just snapped: “STOP.” i didn’t want to talk. i didn’t want to high-five anyone. the only thing i wanted to do was walk over to one of the many gorgeous beaches we were passing, and lay down face-first in the water.
thankfully, david really did help me along. without him, i think i would’ve given in and started walking. the last kilometer was the worst… i could see the end-point, but it never seemed to get any closer. it was like a mirage. it took an eternity to finish. i remember thinking to myself, “i will never, never, never do this again.”
as soon as we crossed that finish line, i plopped down in a small square of shady grass nearby. david said something to the effect of, “maybe you shouldn’t do that… i think it is good to stretch and walk a little…” to which i gave him the death glare, and he kindly walked away and let me be, gasping like a fish out of water on the grass.
the aftermath of the race was fun – once i recovered we got lots of free water and beverages and wandered around to the different tents, watching the various events of the morning unfold. by the time we boarded the shuttle bus, i was feeling good again, and we were both proud of ourselves that we’d accomplished such a big goal. we even went straight from the shuttle bus out to explore the island (didn’t even shower or change clothes until much later that evening) and ended up hiking down to some beautiful waterfalls and a lovely beach.
talking on the phone to my mom, i think i compared the whole thing to giving birth (while i don’t have first-hand experience, it was the closest thing i could think of). there is the elation and excitement at first, then the slow onset of discomfort that eventually turns into a searing, unbearable pain you think you will never get through (and you probably think you will never voluntarily make yourself go through again) and after it’s all over, you’re pretty amazed with yourself and so happy with what you’ve accomplished.
something to that effect.