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The race began and the whole pack slowly moved forward, like a casual Black Friday crowd (if there was such a thing). The faster people weaved around the slower people making their way towards the front, while the slower people began to fall back. I felt pretty good at first. But it wasn’t long before I felt my body say “Whoa, girl, what are we doing?!” I told myself to keep moving! Pretend you’re in the Hunger Games and if you stop you’re toast! So my legs kept trudging forward. My heartbeat accelerated and my feet felt like cement blocks rather than feathers. “A little farther,” I murmured, “Just a bit farther.” Finally, I told myself it would be okay to take a quick walk break and try to jog again. I wasn’t sure how far I made it. A mile? Maybe less. The trail wasn’t marked. I walked for a bit, picked an object in the distance and made that my restart goal.
When I hit my mark I began jogging again. Within moments I felt a sharp pain to the left of my kneecap. Unfortunately, this wasn’t new. A month prior to the race my husband and I were in Iowa canvassing for Bernie Sanders. We spent several days walking all over Des Moines talking to voters. My knee started hurting on day 1 of that journey. I couldn’t walk up stairs without bracing myself against the railing. I asked Jordan about it after our trip and he said it was probably an IT band injury, which occurs when you overuse the muscle. But in the month to come, I stopped feeling the pain and thought it had completely healed. It never hurt when I used my elliptical. Something about running flared it up again and I knew the pain instantly.
I made it a couple minutes before I knew I had to stop and walk again. Pushing an injury would only cause more issues down the road. I tried to start jogging again several more times throughout the course but the distance I could jog grew shorter each time before finally I knew it was over. Jared and Jordan had doubled back partway through the course to watch for me and cheer. I felt embarrassed when they saw me walking — not that there’s any shame in walking, but in that moment they would see that I hadn’t met my goal.
My husband walked beside me to finish the course. I was so disappointed and frustrated that tears welled in my eyes. I knew I could’ve done better if my knee had only cooperated. I wouldn’t have been able to jog the entire race, but I could’ve done more. I wasn’t even out of breath at the finish line. I felt I didn’t deserve the support that my husband and Jordan provided. But they didn’t let up. They refused to let me feel dishonorable.
Jordan won first place in his age group so he was awarded a medal! Proud moment!
The more I thought about the day the better I felt. Regardless of my expectations, the goal was to complete a 5K. I didn’t meet my goal of jogging the entire time, but that’s okay. It was a good experience filled with great people. Strangers came up to talk to us before and after the race. Everyone was so kind and supportive of one another. And I wasn’t wearing any headphones so I enjoyed listening to the people around me share stories with their loved ones. Some were walking, others were jogging, some had children, and a couple even had dogs. Everyone along the way was completing a different race. We shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. These races are meant to be a fun, shared experience as we celebrate the ability to move. Jordan and I ran the race together, but differently. I learned that we are each on our own journey.
Jordan and I doing our FBG power poses. Photo: Jared Wight
Since that day I decided I want to try another 5K and train properly this time. But first, I need to heal my IT band injury. Jordan sent me a great article on strengthening the muscles to support that. We’re looking at a race a couple months away from now. I’m setting another FBG goal — beginning now!
What FBG goals are you setting? — Katie