On Saturday, July 29th, I ran the 5k in the BTN10K race in Chicago and it was so awesome! I am not much of a runner but something in me said I just had to do it. I’ve made it a goal to help enforce the lifestyle of Strength, Empowerment, and Class, so why not live by example and push myself into new heights of achievement. When I heard about the opportunity to run/walk either the 10k or the 5k, I decided to start with the shorter distance. 5K equals out to be a little over 3 miles; I have walked that plenty of times growing up, walking around Palmer Park in Detroit but to run it was a whole other playing field. This would definitely take some effort but I was ready for the challenge. Not only was I representing myself, but my family, my MSU Spartans and all the people that say, “no, but maybe next time” as well. This event was amazing because along with family and school pride, we were all running for a great cause and that was for anyone that has, had or just been affected by someone with cancer. I believe there were about 6,000 runners out there participating in the race that day and I’m so proud to say I was one of them.
I was able to finish the race in about 44 minutes, give or take, since I don’t remember my exact starting time. I had a busy couple of weeks before the day of the race, so I did not get to train as much as I wanted to. This made me doubt myself and why I was trying to do this in the first place. Thoughts like “there is too much on my plate right now” “you are not a runner” and “nobody really cares” came floating through my head the night before but I decided to pray to God for a positive mind and strength to do this. I put my running gear in order that night and went to bed early cause I had to get up at 4:30am to get to Soldier Field at 6:15am and start running at 7:15am. I am truly a “midnight mover” like my grandma refers to my mom, dad, sister and me. Most nights, I am still up at around 4am working on random projects, listening to music, talking on the phone or watching TV. This was obviously going to be a challenge for more reasons than initially expected.
Right before the race started, they played the national anthem and as I stood there with my right hand over my heart staring at the American flags, you could not tell me that I was not an athlete running in the Olympics as I tried to fight the tears from forming in my eyes. It’s so funny now but right then I actually had a taste of how the athletes feel while listening to the National Anthem right before they play or race for their team and their country. I was in deep. Surrounded by so many people in their best running shoes, I was nervous and almost forgot that some of the people out there were just like me. Not everyone in the race were big time runners themselves. I loved this event because people of all ages and sizes and levels of training were in it to either walk or run and as long as you finished you were a champion! Those odds kept me in the game.
When the race first started it was so crowded and everyone was all over each other speeding up and slowing down but eventually everyone got into their own groove and it smoothed out. While I was running and it seemed like so many people were passing me and I had the anxious feeling to speed up a little but when I tried, I could feel my energy draining faster and I could already start to hear my self breathe louder. My thoughts were scrambling, “WHAT AM I DOING OUT HERE??!!” until one of my fellow Spartans yelled “GO GREEN Spartan, you can do it!” I giggled and yelled back, “GO WHITE!” and finally jumped out of my own head and realized I was slowly passing people that were speeding pass me in the beginning. All of this went down in the first half of the first mile. I had a ways to go but I was still going and praying, “Lord, please just let me finish and please don’t let me be last.” I was able to run a lot more than I walked and that is what I am supper proud of. I paced myself. I was not there to beat anyone; I just wanted to beat my doubts. The volunteers they hired for the event were high energy and motivational. I appreciated them all! I got a few, “Go head, sista!”, “Alright girl!! WHOOO YOU GOT THIS! Keep going!”, “Alright SPARTAN, keep pushing!!”. I love my people!
The water and Gatorade were fun to get. I tried running while drinking but it was getting too messy as it dripped off my lips so I choose to power walk through those lovely drink breaks. It seems like the real runners knew how to just throw their cups on the ground but I saw trash cans so I used them. lol The park around Soldier field was beautiful. The view of the lake had me mesmerized. I made up my mind to come back there in my free time to train myself to run again next year. I really want to sign up again next year and this time I will be caring about my time. As an amateur I think I kept up pretty well and I stayed ahead of a lot of people. After my run, I was excited to see the cheering faces, the cold wet towel, the bananas, the breakfast bars, the water bottles, and smell of the promised 1 free hot dog! The hot dog was delicious! That day I did not practice any excuses. I just did it! I did something! I got up early and I did something! No Limits! No Boundaries! Praise God! I Loved that day!
Okay, Strong, Empowered, and Classy people! I hope that you find some inspiration in my story and that’s why I charge you to do something that you never thought that you would ever do! Make sure you come back and let me know what you did!
Always Remember to Stay Inspired!
@MsJaneThang is actually Kristen Hayman, the founder of Jane Thang Productions, LLC. She is a Strong, Empowered & Classy young woman that writes poetry and stories that speak to the heart.