And it’s over, another year in the books. I finished the 46th annual Credit Union Cherry Blossom Race in 1:50:35. That’s a little bit over a minute faster than my first run of the race, in 2016, and quite a bit slower than last year’s pace. Those of you who’ve been following along will know that I didn’t achieve my goal — at least, not my pace goal. But I did finish, coming in 12,557th out of a field of 16,659. Among men, I was 5,776th out of 6,791. And in my Division (M55-59), I was 331st out of 400. So I did achieve my overall goal for any race that I participate in — knowing I’ll never be first, I don’t want to be last.
“You don’t get a body like mine overnight. It takes years of moderate alcoholism, neglect, and numerous damaging behaviors.” – Facebook Meme
I’m a bit disappointed in my performance — I had set some lofty goals at the beginning of my training. And, again, if you’ve been following along as I’ve conducted my training you know there are some reasons why that training hasn’t gone quite as I’d hoped. And, it turns out, if you don’t do the training, you don’t get the results. But, when I think about where I came from, I’m happy enough with how it turned out.
In my last post, I talked about technology and running, and how one of the things I use it for is to keep track of how I’ve progressed — or not — in my efforts. In my bio for the Cherry Blossom Social Ambassadors group, I mentioned I wasn’t in very good shape when I started this process. I came across those records a few weeks back. When I started, I weighed about 315. I was sick in many ways, and I made the decision to try and turn it around. With the help of a trainer, Colleen Sabo, to whom I’ll always be grateful, I started working out. The weight started to come off, I started to feel better about myself, and things were moving along. Then, almost exactly five years ago, in 2013, I discovered my weight loss had plateaued. So, I decided to give this running thing a try.
So I did. And, at first, it didn’t go well. My first “run” was considerably less than a half mile according to my records, and certainly wasn’t very fast. But, I kept at it. And slowly, my endurance built up, and I got a little bit faster. And somewhere that Summer, I had the idea that I really needed a goal to aim for, so I’d know when I was done. Looking around, I discovered these things called “5Ks” and learned there was one late in the Summer in Leesburg. So I signed up. And I finished. But I decided I wasn’t done. I wasn’t that fast, and I wasn’t as thin as most of the runners, but there was something else — a sense of accomplishment probably, that made me decide to keep going. So I did.
I ran a few more 5Ks, then worked up to a 10K, and then decided to aim for ten miles. There was this Cherry Blossom thing in the Spring — I always thought the Cherry Blossoms were pretty, so I got into the race. That first effort didn’t happen — I’ve written before that a bad stress fracture took me out of training for months and months while I waited for it to heal. Eventually it did, and I re-started training, working my way back up.
So, here I am. I lost more weight, gained some of it back, but I’ve kept the sense of accomplishment. So, when I have run’s like this one, I just try to look back at where I started and reflect on the progress I’ve made. And that helps. Besides, despite nearly freezing to death waiting in the corral (only somewhat of an exaggeration), it turned into a lovely day for a run. And the Cherry Blossoms were just spectacular, the most beautiful I think I’ve ever seen them. So, while it wasn’t what I wanted, in some ways it was what I needed.
For those who’ve been following along, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the posts. It’s been a pleasure working with the CUCB staff and volunteers, especially Kimberly Westrich and my fellow social media ambassadors. I’m hoping to keep this up, and I’m hoping you’ll stop in from time to time to see how it’s going. My next race isn’t until July, when I’ll run in a 5K. Then, towards the end of Summer and into the Fall, it’s back to longer races — a couple of 10’s, and another half, just because I can.
I hope you’ll share your thoughts as well. By it’s nature, this tends to be a pretty one way conversation. So perhaps you’ll share how you started, how far you’ve come, and where you hope to go.