It all started in January 2017 when I decided to change my lifestyle by going vegetarian and focusing on my health. I was seeing too many people in my life have issues due to their lifestyle choices and I did not want to end up in the hospital or even worse, taking a dirt nap. I did a juice-only month (Jan) and then started eating healthy foods in February and let me tell you, that month TOTALLY sucked! I hated the change and enduring the transition and everything was annoying, but I knew i needed to stop the years of bad eating and sedentary life.
March comes around and my fantastic girlfriend was going to be running the Chicago Shamrock Shuffle with her friend (8K/4.92 Miles) on April 2nd 2017.
I heard they have a walking event which I was considering, and I also wanted to walk around and get photos of her running. A week before the race, my girlfriend tells me her friend decided not to run it, and so what do i do?! I’m the 300lb/21stone/136kilo boyfriend who turns on his hero brain and says, “Well… I’ll run it with you.”
Now, keep in mind, I have not run anything since high school and that was running between bases (baseball). I had exactly a WEEK to train for a race I never thought I would be able to do. So everyday I would run/walk around the neighborhood, my girlfriend pushing me to do my best. The day before the race we head to the “Loop” (Downtown Chicago) to go to the Fitness Expo to get our bibs and packets. We didn’t stay long because my girlfriend said we needed to go to the high school track to train. We ran circles till my legs couldn’t take it anymore but I was really excited for the race.
I wake up fully excited and a little apprehensive of whats to come. but I get my mindset in the right place to look forward to something I never thought I would be doing. We head downtown and there are thousands of people and it just pumps me up! then the thoughts start sneaking into my brain about “will I finish?”, “will I collapse?”, “Will these snow plows motivate me as they bring up the rear?”….
But no, I simply take in all the excitement and environment as my girlfriend gets me warmed up by stretching and jogging around Buckingham fountain before we start.
JUST BEFORE START…
It is gray skies and sprinkling a little bit but the race starts for the Elites and then wave after wave it gets closer to our start. I turn around and see a huge amount of people and think, I just may be able to finish this thing.
Horn sounds and we are off!
I start of with a decent pace to make sure I can run as much of the course as possible. We run through the awesome city of Chicago on the streets where Batman was filmed! I am STOKED!…
I make it to mile 2 and we turn down State street, one of the longer stretches of the course and so many people cheering us on, you can’t help but get into it and the cheering certainly helps push you through the race giving you that boost of adrenaline and motivation. I am not running fast and at times taking small walk breaks… all while my girlfriend is giving me the motivation and inspiration needed to make it. Every now and then, I turn around to see a huge group of runners still behind me. This gives me a small boost in confidence as I thought for sure I would come in dead last or be carried off by EMT’s.
We make it to mile 3 and the brain starts playing tricks on me. I have slight pain in my knees and legs wanting to walk the rest of the race but I wasn’t going to let myself down. I get to the first aid station and take a cup of Gatorade and then water. I enjoyed every bit of that small drink. I feel my feet sticking to the ground where the sticky Gatorade is and still hearing the cheers from the onlookers continues to give me a boost.
I see the 4 mile mark! More people, my girlfriend continues to support and motivate me through this race. The sun comes out and the crowds get louder…
I find a new step in my run and the pain lessens, or my brain stopped fighting me and started getting into this damn race. But I am not stopping as much and there are still a ton of people behind me. We round the corner up the final 2 turns and there it is.
The finish line is in sight! My girlfriend runs ahead of me to capture me crossing the suffer fest I am in but in the time alone, I see the other finishers with their medals and they are standing on the sides cheering us on. As I get closer and closer to the finish, I am overwhelmed with emotion that I actually did it. I ran… I ran an 8K… I FINISHED an 8K. My first run EVER!
I want to thank my girlfriend for her dedication to me crossing the finish line and believing in me, I want to thank my mother who supported me and wished me the best of luck from afar… Trust me, you were with me through the whole thing.
I love you all!
Now, time to find the next race to run. I caught the bug.
Oh, if you were wondering, here are my results:
Finished in 1 hour, 7 minutes and 6 seconds
Out of 20,005 runners, I placed 17,883rd place. CERTAINLY not last.
Out of 1,018 in my age class, I placed 967th.
Not bad for my first ever run.