Another Goal: Crushed.

To some, running isn’t a huge deal and to run a 5K? That’s nothing. That’s a warm up regular runners, a light jog or even a random Tuesday. I, however, am not one of those people. To me, running is a chore, something I dread and something that often times makes me feel worse. But, as an effort to enhance my overall well being, I decided that this year I wanted to run another 5K and to actually feel good about it.

David was reading through some junk emails when he stumbled upon an email from REI. The email was for a simple 5K at Elings Park in Santa Barbara. The run wasn’t for a cause other than to simply encourage people to get outside and be active. It was on a Sunday morning so we both registered for the event.

It was a cool, dew filled Sunday morning when we woke up for our race. I had the feeling of dread in my heart but knew there was not backing out now. Dave and I hopped in the car and drove the three miles to Elings Park. When we pulled up, the fog was lightly resting above the horizon allowing the dew dropped air to peacefully float around our skin. We climbed the hill to check in, received our bib and walked around- warming up our legs and bodies. I knew once we started the race I would be dripping in sweat, but at that moment I was freezing.

We learned there would be a fast group and a slower group during the event. Not wanting to be completely last- I opted to start at the end of the ‘fast’ group in hopes of just keeping up with the slow group. We set out on our 5K at 8:15am on the dot. I was hoping to accomplish my run in 45 minutes or less. Little did I know, this was tougher than I had originally even imagined.

I should have known that signing up for a “trail run” was quite different than signing up for a 5K that would be say, on the sidewalk or street. We immediately cut through the fields and headed directly, straight up the foothills. Fun… no. I closed my eyes, turned on my music and took a deep breath. There was absolutely no turning back at this point. Almost as soon as we began, I was left in the dust of the rest of the “fast” group. The first mile consisted of fast jogs to walking, climbing the hills, carefully looking at my feet so I wouldn’t step in a snake hole or loose rock and praying that I don’t get lost.

Mile two was a continually full mile uphill climb. There was sweat dripping in my eyes meshing well with the tears that were starting to form. The small trail was large enough for barely a small person so each time someone from the “slow” group passed me I was off in the trees trying to allow them to pass. My body was starting to be in pain. I quickly remembered how much I loathe running and wondered why I decided this would be a good idea.

By the time I got to mile three I thought I may pass out. There was a small downhill before I learned my fate. The final stretch of the run was a steep, paved, uphill run from the parking lot to the top of the mountain where we had first registered. I thought I may throw up but was determined to not show up to the finish circle walking. I grit my teeth, took a deep breath and pushed through the last bit of the run. Up I went, my feet pounding the pavement beneath me matching the thumping of my heart. When I rounded the corner and ran under the finish line my head was racing. My hips hurt, my legs felt like jell-o and I was dripping with sweat. The moist air made my dewed skin slicker and my hair was atrocious still, Dave embraced me in a sweet victory hug. Best yet- I had finished slightly under my goal: 41 minutes.

I didn’t have much time to celebrate my completion I was late for my barre class! Away we went.

On the drive home I couldn’t help but smile. Small goals seem daunting but are just as rewarding as a large goal. Personal goals create a better you. But, I don’t think I’ll be running again anytime soon. Maybe in 2017 I’ll push for more but for now, I’m content.

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