During boot camp class on Saturday morning, I ran up “Art Hill” in Forest Park with my Gym Cousin and my trainer Dan. After running, doing push ups and lifting sand bags, my Gym Cousin and I went to pick up our 5K race day packets. The attendant behind the table asked, “Last Name please?” I kind of stumbled over my words a little. “Ummm, I registered under my blogger name, “Fierce, F-I-E-R-C-E?” She giggled as she searched the laptop and said “You must be Carli, because there’s only one Fierce.” “That’s me!” I said. Confused by my shenanigans, my Gym Cousin asked me, “Well what name am I under?” I laughed and I told him not to worry, I registered him under his real name, not “The Gym Cousin.”
Sunday morning, I woke up at 5:30 AM just so I would not feel rushed or be late. I had time to put on my blue eye shadow to match my race shirt and made it to my Gym Cousins house on time. Surprisingly, he was on time this morning too, and he came out the house just a couple minutes later. We made it to Kirkwood, MO with plenty of time to spare. But, as soon as I got out the car I noticed that my legs were sore. I nearly panicked, I can’t be sore 30 minutes before my 5K race. I forgot a couple of the important race prep rules. “Rest on the day before your race.” Don’t go shopping for five hours after Boot Camp class; even if you have a Lane Bryant coupon that allows you to get a cute $40 shirt for $5. “Don’t go to bed too late the night before your race;” even though it’s fun to stay up all night and binge watch Orange is the New Black with your sister in Florida. But, I digress.
I did some light stretching, hoping that would help and told my Gym Cousin that I might just do the 1 mile fun run. He told me that I absolutely would not, and reminded me that the fun run started near the finish line which was 3.1 miles away. There was literally no turning back, he had my car keys in his pocket. I accepted the facts, turned on the MapMyRun app and my Carli Fierce 5K and 10K Race Day podcast. They sounded the starting horn, and we were off! I don’t want to toot my own horn, but ummm, TOOT-TOOT, my race day podcast is Fierccccce! You should download a copy. It has awesome music and tons of encouragement. I totally felt like I had a cheerleader right there jogging with me. Even though technically it was my own voice, it always feels like some other nice lady coaching me when I listen to my podcast.
About 10 minutes into my run there was a priest sprinkling what I can only assume to be holy water on to the runners. I’ve seen runners wearing frilly tutus and people ringing cowbells on the sidelines, but this was the first priest I’d seen on the sidelines. I’m not Catholic, but I will certainly take all the heavenly blessings I can get. I ran over towards him to get my share of the holy water droplets. Soon after, I made it to the first mile marker in about 15 minutes, I was surprised. When I did a 5K on the treadmill in the gym last week it took me more than an hour, unfortunately, I never made it past Week 4 with my training. So my main goals today were my typical race goals; finish in less than an hour and don’t be last. Although, I’ve been last before, and I’ve tripped and fallen, so I don’t really have too much anxiety regardless of what might happen, I just want to cross the finish line. That makes me feel like a winner.
I was keeping up a good pace and before I knew it I was at Mile 2. The first mile is always the hardest. I was actually having fun now. My trainer’s breathing techniques helped a lot. The course was a very scenic route through what looked like a storybook neighborhood. My cousin said the houses reminded him of a popular book he read in third grade. We passed neatly manicured lawns and cute little cottage houses and some really huge houses too. I thought to myself when I grow up, I might live in a neighborhood that looks like this.
I was keeping a steady pace and thought that I might finish the race in 45 minutes, but my body started to tell me otherwise. My knee started bothering me and my ankle started to hurt too, but I didn’t care I said that “pain was just weakness leaving my body.” Not that you should ignore pain, but I’ve worked out enough to know that it wasn’t a serious injury, just tired muscles. I text my Lawyer Friend and my Gym Cousin on my walk break to let them know that I should be finishing soon. As I got closer to the finish line I saw people who were turning back around running the whole course backwards to get back to their cars. Most 5Ks form a circle and the start and finish line are near each other, but this course was a straight line. From the way I was feeling, I admired them, but I knew that there was no way that was happening with me. I certainly wasn’t about to do 6 miles today. As I got even closer to the finish line I saw my Gym Cousin. He’s so awesome, he came and ran with me. He wanted to finish in 30 minutes, but he did it in 31, which is still faster than his last race, I was so proud of him!
He encouraged me and pushed me to really run that last .1 mile which always seems so annoying, but mandatory if you want to cross the finish line. And that’s exactly what I did, I ran across that finish line with my fist pumping in the air. I put my finishers medal around my neck and slapped my Lawyer Friend a high-five. I was quite proud to have another medal to add to the collection. I turned down the free ice cream, and ate the banana and fruit cup they offered instead. I also got a free massage from the sports chiropractor and sampled the new Chipotle tofu taco burrito thingy, it was messy, but yummy. (whoever thought I would think that tofu and veggies on a corn taco were “yummy?”)
The race people provided a shuttle bus for us, but luckily my Lawyer Friend parked close enough to the finish line that she could take me and my Gym Cousin back to my car. Afterword’s we went to church, I think I will call her my Church Friend, because we go to church together every Sunday, and technically, my other friend is my Lawyer Friend.
After church I went to my parents house, because we were having a big Father’s Day dinner. When I walked in, my Dad smiled and said “There is the lady who made me a father first!” I gave him a big bear hug and he congratulated me on my race. Per my mother’s request, I had to make a strawberry cream cheese cake. I should have made it yesterday, but after hours of shopping, it finally clicked that I needed to sit down and rest for the remainder of the day. It looked so delicious once I put on all the strawberries and I can’t lie to y’all, I ate a piece after dinner, but just one piece. Luckily it was delicious and passed my family’s taste test. I was happy because my family will let you know when something tastes bad. It reminds me of the great “pretzel- Jell-O-whipped cream” disaster recipe I tried to make once. Anyway, the strawberry cake was a nice sweet finish to a very productive day. Fitness, faith, friends, family, fathers, food, and fun!