Why did you sign up to do this race?
I honestly was sitting on the couch one day and saw a girl I had gone to high school with post a picture about just finishing a half marathon and the joy and excitement on her face was so intense. I just started thinking, how empowering and thrilling to set out to do this and get the satisfaction of physically crossing the finish line. I was just at a point where I needed a win.
I needed to cross a finish line and prove to myself I could do what I set out to do. I typically have a history of being a procrastinator/self-saboteur. So I just decided no matter what I was going to do this race, I really just wanted to impress the hell out of myself.
How did you feel once you crossed the finish line?
HELLA PROUD! I knew that things would be different. All those times in the past, where I had planned on losing weight and failed or broke promises to myself — I crossed that finish line and all of those were gone. I had set out to do something alone that I had never done before. I had no one else to rely on to get my a$$ across the line and it was such a great feeling. I proved to myself that I can do hard things and that all of my goals are absolutely possible.
What would you say was the hardest challenge in this race?
I would say keeping myself in the right mindset was tough. You start to feel the group ahead of you pull away and you laugh at first because the last person ahead of you is a lady walking her dog. But, then I could feel thoughts creep in. Like “Oh shoot, I have to hurry up – people are going to have to wait for me at the finish line.” Or “I can’t be too far behind — people will laugh and assume I’m so far behind because I’m fat.”
I had to constantly remind myself, this was my first 5k and I was out at 8:00 am on a Saturday doing something for ME, well me and Alzheimer’s of course. But I wasn’t going to let anyone else’s thoughts or opinions stop me from having a great time. I had to remind myself I was worth waiting for and that my value was not calculated by my race time – that was just a starting point.
What was the most rewarding thing about completing this run?
I think just realizing that drive inside me for change finally outweighed my desire for comfort. I feel like I just owned it and it was liberating to not give a sh!t how bad my time was going to be. Oh and of course, being able to make it across the finish line without the ambulance on standby having to jump in!
Was there anything or anyone in particular that helped you throughout your training?
When I was almost to the end, a nice runner and her volunteer daughters waited for me at a checkpoint so that I didn’t have to finish alone. It was so kind of them and it didn’t make me feel embarrassed or ashamed. I just felt glad to have someone to talk to. They let me cross the finish by myself and it’s kind of like, you’re doing this by yourself, independently, but you’re not alone. Shout out to Terri and her daughters!
Any final words of encouragement and thoughts you’d like to share?
I’m happy and grateful to have been in last place. I kind of love how symbolic these races are. You’re out there trying to beat you. You’re out there just hitting the self-improvement, hard.
I dig it. I think I got the itch, maybe I’ll sign up for a Half Marathon or Marathon one day… of course, once I let my blisters heal.
You can connect with Sara on her YouTube page: Sara Erwin