So, yesterday I happened to stumble back onto the “Run for the Diamonds” facebook page. I “liked” it when I had signed up for it looking to see if there were any tips for running oodles and oodles of miles… or perhaps what the course might be like. However, I found it to be a pretty stagnant page that occasionally someone posted something on (having nothing to do with the run). As it got closer there were some posts about counting down the days and how excited people were. Finally race day, people were posting how inspiration it was to see all the runners, people posted pictures of people they knew and tagged the page so they appeared there… Other than that, it hasn’t moved much. I noticed that there was a post (because FB likes to tell me these things without my asking) that said “the finish line photos are up.” Oh boy.
I never did write a post about the run. I was sort of in a blogging slump back in November/December. Things were going really well for me at the gym and life was getting a little overwhelming, so I took a little hiatus from posting every day. I think it was good for me, it also gave me some time to re-charge and get back into blogging with some useful and good information… and of course my random rambling and mind dump.
I think now is a perfect time to re-cap this little experience, as I came across those photos. Basically, I had already decided that I was going to do the Slattery’s Turkey Trot (5 mile) race for the second time… after the “wonderful” time I had doing it the first time in 2011. I new if I could get through it the first time, I would be able to get through it again… plus I wanted to see how far I had come in the year. Well, my cousin announced her engagement early in the year and she and her husband-to-be had decided to get married the weekend of Thanksgiving. She is from a small town balled Berwick PA, her dad and my mom are cousins… which makes us 2nd, I think… but that’s beside the point. Alas, Hubs and I decided that we were of course going to go to their wedding, however that would mean traveling over Thanksgiving… and being away for the Turkey Trot (though I later learned that the Turkey Trot was the weekend BEFORE I left for PA and could have avoided this all together, but I digress).
In the small town of Berwick PA, they have pretty much ONE large event. That would be the annual “Run for the Diamonds” which takes place on Thanksgiving morning and has been for the last 102 years. This race started with 13 participants and has grown to having 1,614 people cross the finish line this year. When it began it was called the “Berwick Marathon” however somewhere in the 70’s the marathon association told them that they couldn’t be a “marathon” because its not a long enough race (only 9 miles), that’s when they changed their name. Also, the winners receive diamonds… so, it’s a pretty literal name. So, my cousin and her family live right along the route and for years have watched the race on Thanksgiving morning… from the comfort of the front yard, with a beer in hand (as she got older). It became tradition. When I mentioned to her this summer that I was going to miss the Turkey Trot… somehow we came up with the bright idea to actually register for and attempt to run this thing… we are still blaming this one on each other… maybe we should blame her Hubby. Yes, S, This is ALL your fault!!
They live in NC, and I live in MA… so we were on our own for “training” for this race. Before we knew it, we were standing at the start line… all three of us saying “what the hell were we thinking.” Hell, I was revved up for myself, but the two of them, they were also getting married two days later! What a crazy feeling that must have been. My plan was to keep a steady pace. I knew I could complete a 5K, I knew I could complete 5 miles, it was mind over matter at this point. I did not drive, walk or even listen to what anyone had to say about the course. All I knew is that it had a “very challenging hill” and that’s all I really needed to know. That was enough. My cousins house was about 2.2 miles into the race and Hubs, my parents and some of my family would be there waiting to cheer us on.
When the gun went off and the massive herd of people started to progress down the historic Market Street in Berwick. I had driven this road a million times and in the Summer of 2010 I actually tried to run down it a bit while we were there for our July holiday… that was a joke, I walked most of it… and it was only about a mile. My headphones were in and before the race started I had written “unbroken” on my hand, as I had done for the Turkey Trot almost exactly a year earlier, just as a quick reminder of my goal. I didn’t care when I finished, but I was not going to give up. I was not going to walk… I was going to do this.
I couldn’t believe it when I turned a corner, saw Hubs and realized I was already past the 2 mile mark! My family cheered (once they realized it was me) and I forged ahead… to the WORST part of the whole damn thing. “The Hill.” This was literally over a mile of a real life uphill battle. Seriously… I had no idea how long the road was, when it would end… anything. I had to just keep pushing, keep moving and never stop moving my feet! I can remember this woman standing at what she claimed was “the top” of the hill. She was yelling “almost there… you got this” to every runner. I can also remember thinking “almost where lady… I still have 6 miles left!”
Somewhere after the Hill of Hell (as I like to call it) I passed the 5K mark. Looked at my watch and saw that I was right on target to reach my goal. From there on in I kept that perfect (for me) pace. It was a beautiful course running down some streets through the fields, than down along a stream… there were some bunny hills and a few more “challenging” hills, but nothing like the hell of the 3rd mile. I was pleased that I had my breathing under control, I could almost sing along with my music. I was kinda at peace and ALMOST (almost) could see how people like to do this for a hobby. The 5 mile mark was another big milestone. Again I looked at my watch and was VERY happy with my time. As far as I was concerned, after 5 miles it was “all downhill” from there.
If you are still with me, this is where it gets good. I passed the 8 mile mark and was about to turn down Market Street and I saw my parents… tears… yep… tears came to the corner of my eyes. I looked to the other side of the street and there was Hubs. Cheering and videoing me as I felt the tears roll down (thank god for sunglasses). I was so un-freaking believably proud of myself. It just totally took over me at that point. The crowd was all over the place on Market Street (there were tons of cheering people all along the route, but this was craziness). I pulled out one ear bud so I could hear the people. It was amazing. I stayed strong all the way through the finish line and crossed over at 1:36:36. I effing did it…
… and I enjoyed the heck out of my first Thanksgiving with my family in PA as well as M and S’s kick ass wedding!!
Now, what is this all about? Well. I am not really one for a “before and after” of myself. In fact I have yet to post one. I do have them. I have taken them for myself in the same bathing suit to see my progress. I have shown some people… but not sure if I am even ready to post that on the interwebs.
However, when I saw that picture of me crossing the finish line I couldn’t help but remember crossing the finish line of the Turkey Trot. So, a little comparison. My oh my… one year makes a HUGE difference. I owe it all to my dedication to CrossFit and Paleo. I gave myself the tools to become the person I want to be, they prepare me for every and anything I want to do. I took control over my life. I stopped waiting for tomorrow… I stopped saying “just one more xyz,” I stopped thinking that I wasn’t good enough, fast enough or strong enough. I feel incredible... and hell... I ran 9 miles!
- 10 Walking Lunges
- 5 Pullups
- 10 Around the World
- 10 Scorpions
2 Deadlifts every 30 Sec for 5 minutes
55% of 1RM and Resistance Band
(150lbs with Green Band wrapped 2X)
WOD: Stutter Step
- Clean (95)
- Toes to Bar