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Today was the Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo Race. I completed my first (official, race-time) 5K. What a milestone for me!

I’ve been pondering what I would write and how I’m reflecting on it for the past several hours. It was hard. It was good. It was hard. It was empowering. Did I mention it was hard? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Last week, Nettie and I did 5K at the park across the road from us, and while it was a challenge, I didn’t come away feeling like it was *that hard*. We talked to each other, which made it go by somewhat quickly, but also consumed lots of oxygen, and that slowed me down. Other than a huge blister on the ball of my right foot, I felt good when I was done. We did about 28 minute-miles (walking) last week. I really wanted to clock in at 20 minute miles (walking), so I psyched myself up for it.

The route was the perimeter of the zoo and through a beautiful older neighborhood in Huntington Woods (Royal Oak). Absolutely stunning homes and gorgeous gardens. Much of what I expect my mom’s childhood home in Detroit looked like when she was a girl. It was blacktop, albeit quite cracked and potholed blacktop. I actually fell at one point~the pothole was the size of Guam and I could have easily lost Brendan in it. I’m grateful that I bruised my knee and pride, only~if I had truly hurt myself, I would have been in a world of trouble.

I puffed on my inhaler (Atrovent) before leaving the car, and that helped. Not quite as much as I’d hoped, because by the end of the race, I felt like my throat was closing up and I could hear myself “honk” for air a bit when I tried to breathe deeply. So before I do any more races, I think I need to find a better, more effective way of managing my lungs and their diminished capacity.

I found it to be tedious–when I looked at the pavement. Oy. It was really hard then. But when I looked up and focused on something ahead of me (a street sign, whatever), I was better. So it’s a mind game as well as a physical exertion. I also learned that taking a gulp of water and/or Gatorade during a race is absolutely the worst thing I could do–I think I swallowed air with the drinks, and I immediately felt nauseous. I ended up with burps taking over a while later, and then my stomach felt better.

I didn’t focus on others who were ahead of me (and there were many!), but I wanted to finish. The first mile I timed at about 16 minutes and I was mentally congratulating myself in a big way. That was such a rush! Then I rounded the corner and saw that my “mile” wasn’t really a mile~the sign for the mile-point was ahead of me. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

That was a bummer.

The rest of the race was me, the iPod, and a little bit of self-coaching. I had to remind myself that 2 rounds of pneumonia and 7 pulmonary emboli later, I was still doing this. My lungs are in rough shape. My stamina is there, but it’s tempered by my ability (or inability) to breathe effectively.

So I crossed the finish line and honestly didn’t care one iota what my time was. I finished!! I got a little panicky when I was trying to cool down and had a hard time breathing (the aforementioned “honking” sound that came out of my throat), and invariably, that scares me and I end up crying a bit. But I reigned it in and took it slowly and regained my airway. Mark and Brendan did their 1 mile “fun run” on the zoo grounds and found me–and Mark said I had a time of 56:05. Which exceeded my goal of 20 minute miles. ๐Ÿ˜€ 8)

Then we found out he’d read the results wrong.

Another bummer.

But I still did it~with 23 minute miles. Not as quick as I’d wanted, but a good 5 minutes faster than last week (per mile). I’ll take incremental success as it comes. :)

So Nettie asked me if I wanted to do another one in October. I told her it was like asking a woman who’d just given birth if she wanted another baby right away. I have to think on it. And train some more. And get some different medication to help control my breathing challenges.

But I think I’m up to it.

It’s a mental-thing. ๐Ÿ˜‰.

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