My First Race Ever – CUCB April 2016
I was never interested in running. I was never good at running. I actually hated running.
However, when my oldest sister approached me about running the DC CUCB 10-Miler, I eagerly said yes. Growing up, each sibling had a defined character/personality trait. Maybe some of you can relate to this. Each one of us had our own stereo type. My oldest sister was the “creative one,” I was the “athletic one,” my younger brother was the “genius math whiz,” my other littler brother was the “builder” (Legos, etc.) and my little sister turned out to be the “dancer.” As the “athletic” one, I definitely was the obvious choice to ask about the 10-miler race (since her friends/husband didn’t want to run it at the time). Me, my wife and sister all agreed to run the race together.
At this point in my life, stress at work had consumed me and I had let my body balloon to 220+ with a high bf percentage. I was in no shape to compete and run 10 miles. The run seemed absolutely daunting. I remember reading that if you weren’t fast enough, a bus would pick you up (since the streets were only closed for a period of time). That freaked me out. I did not want to be picked up by the bus. How embarrassing would that be? I was nervous.
I tried to train. However, I wasn’t at a point in my life where I could dedicate the time and effort to really push myself (at least that’s what I told myself). My mindset wasn’t in the right space. Further, I didn’t really know how to train for 10 miles. Slowly pushing my overweight 220+ frame on the treadmill wasn’t working.
My training for this race was atrocious. The most I ran in preparation was 3.5 miles, which ironically was more than my wife and sister trained. We all were severely underprepared (duh!). I didn’t lose any weight while training because my training wasn’t consistent or intense enough.
My wife and sister paced together, while I ended up pacing ahead of them on my own. I walked a healthy portion of that race. We all walked a healthy portion of that race. The good news? We all finished and weren’t picked up by the bus. We got our medals and photos in front of the Washington Monument. We felt proud of our accomplishment!
However, this was the worst race experience of my life. Within a few minutes of finishing, my body completely shut down. My body wasn’t prepared for running 10 miles. We were supposed to explore the city and walk around after the race, but every step hurt. All 3 of us could barely walk. On top of this, I ended up getting one of the worst migraines of my life due to dehydration and improper training. Instead of walking around, we ended up finding a theater with semi reclining seats. We all could barely move.
As my wife and I headed home on the Greyhound back to NYC, we were both in a lot of pain. Back then, 10 miles seemed like a huge accomplishment (it still is an incredible feat!). I wasn’t really proud of myself though since I was in so much pain. It had been a dream of my sisters to run the 10 miles, so we had done it with her for her. When I woke up Monday morning, I could barely walk. I actually took a sick day because my body was so stiff and in so much pain I could barely move.
On that Monday, I promised I would never be so ill-prepared for a race. I learned my lesson. I already knew the importance of training, but I could never go through this painful experience again. I wasn’t planning on a next time. This was a one and done thing. I got my medal, I got the experience, and I could say I ran (ok, ran/walked) 10 miles. This was my first race experience. Not a good one in the sense of pain and training, but a great learning experience nonetheless. And this is where my running journey began.