I’ve mentioned it in a few Instagram posts by now, but last weekend I ran the Falmouth Road Race. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s one of the most popular summer races in Massachusetts. I had never been, so I wasn’t sure why, but I knew I wanted to run it.
Fast forward to last week when we were out to dinner with some friends, one of which has a family home in Falmouth and has run the race over 10 times by now. We were talking about the race and my urge to run it was even more real… even considering it was a short 4 days away.
If you know me, you know that when I get my mind on something, I can’t let it go, so when I saw someone selling their bib (shhh), I had to jump on it. Not only was it after I hit “send” on Venmo that I realized “Holy Sh*t! What did I just get myself into? I haven’t run much at all lately and haven’t run more than 4 miles in probably 3 years”.
As I voiced this concern to people, everyone said “you’ll be fine! You’re so active and so fit. It’ll be easy!” While they were so kind to give me those words of encouragement, it wasn’t totally successful in quieting the negative words & thoughts in my head telling me it would be hard and that I would regret my decision to run a 7 mile race entirely untrained (in terms of running). I wasn’t afraid of not finishing, but moreso in what condition I’d finish in. Would I go out too fast and burn out too quickly? Would I cramp up? Would I have to stop a lot? What’s the slowest I thought I’d actually run it?
By the time Saturday night rolled around, I was a bundle of nerves, but luckily slept great. I woke up Sunday excited, but still very nervous! I got dressed, braided my hair, applied sunscreen, packed my throw away bag to hold my snacks & water and got ready to go. My friends Sheila and Amy drove me to the race bus pickup which was a good distraction and got me excited about it.
I ended up getting to the race start over an hour and a half early, which left lots of alone time for me to continue to be nervous, lol. My sister texted me and when I told her I was nervous, she said that was so weird because I never get nervous. And she was right! Most of the time I feel confident about my abilities, but for some reason (likely because I didn’t traing), I felt SO nervous and scared! When I texted my concerns to my mom, she hit the nail on the head with her response and it helped to calm me down (funny how moms are always able to do that).
Shortly after she sent that I ended up seeing a picture on Insta of a friend I used to work with so I ended up meeting up with her and her friend which was exactly what I needed – distraction from being nervous and people to hang with!
Before we knew it, it was time to start. We were already sweating, so I was happy that the race started a bit slower than I normally would. The crowds were huge so it was a struggle to navigate them throughout the first handful of miles. Looking back, this was a blessing in disguise because it forced me to run slower than normal, which I think was necessary in order for me to finish the race feeling as strong as I did, rather than coming out too fast and burning out halfway through.
The course was incredibly beautiful – lots of rolling hills, gorgeous homes, views of the water and amazing spectators. I couldn’t help but get super emotional as I was running – there’s something about races that do that for me!
The miles ticked away and I continued to feel good. I was getting negative splits as the crowds dispersed a bit, but I knew to still take it easy since it was a longer race than I’ve run in a long time. Around miles 4-5.5 I started to get super antsy. It was just a long, straight, flat part of the course entirely in the sun and I just wanted to see RM and my friends. I knew they were just before the 6 mile mark so it seemed like those 2 miles DRAGGED on. I felt hot, tired and ready to be done, however, seeing RM and my friends helped give me the push I needed as I forged ahead to the last mile.
By this point, my feet felt like hot sausages stuffed in my sneakers, I was getting a blister, felt dehydrated and started to cramp up a bit. I paused for a brief moment twice in that last mile as I prepared for the big hill at the end. Leading up to the hill, I wasn’t sure if I’d make it without walking, but I did it, slow step by slow step and getting to the top felt so great! Before I knew it, I was crossing the finish line and it’s hard to explain how amazing it felt.
I had done it. I had completed the 7 mile race. I felt good (all things considered). I was smiling. And I was so happy it was over, lol 😉
As I continue to reflect on the race and the experience, I am so proud of myself for doing something that scared the sh*t out of me. I fought through all of the “I can’t’s” in my head and I proved to myself that I CAN. It was uncomfortable at times, but I am stronger for having done it – it truly is amazing what you can accomplish once you put your mind to it and give it a try.
I like to think of it this way: we can live our lives only doing things that make us feel safe or comfortable, or we can push through that and challenge ourselves by doing things that scare us a little or make us feel uncomfortable. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather live my life doing the latter- it’s a hell of a lot more exciting and when you realize you CAN do things you didn’t think you could, well, it’s the most incredible feeling.
Thank you to everyone for your kind words and to RM, Sheila and Amy for being so supportive while I was running!! Huge thank you to my friends at NB for inviting us to hangout at their after party, which was exactly what I needed! And thanks to Sheila’s parents for letting us stay at their Inn and then using their boat for the afternoon. It was a weekend I will never forget!
Questions for you: Have you ever run the Falmouth Road Race? Do you like to run races? When’s the last time you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone?