Greenway Challenge

This past weekend was the Greenway Challenge , and I ran a leg as part of the WXLO team. 4.25 miles through Worcester and Millbury was what I faced at 9am. I signed up for this back in July, when I wasn’t running regularly and I hadn’t run more than 3 miles. I didn’t actually start running regularly until I got back from Scotland in August.

The route was released at the beginning of the month. My leg started at the new Walmart off of 146, and finished up just up the street from the MEMC in Millbury. The first Saturday I went to try it I nearly had a heart attack as I saw the Walmart, then continued to drive what felt like forever to the finish line. Needless to say my first attempt was less than great. I huffed, I puffed, and my mind couldn’t pry away from ‘how much longer? I’m tired. I need to stop. I’ll never make it. I suck.’ And stop I did…like, three times. I was nearly in tears as I trudged up the road finally approaching the end. Visions of letting my team down swirled through my brain and I went home discouraged. I didn’t run the rest of the week.

The next Saturday I gave it another go. Sean was kind enough to drop me at the start and wait for me at the finish. I set out, feeling hopeful. I now knew the route so it couldn’t seem as bad could it? I reached the place I stopped the first time, and I felt good. Not tired, not huffing and puffing, and on I went. And on, and on, and on. I saw the end of the bike path and I knew I had it in the bag. I would finish. I would run further than I’ve ever run before.

And I felt elated. As I reached the home stretch I could feel a smile spread across my face, and I felt – for the first time in my life – a runner’s high.

I felt so good, I decided to join my friend to run it again two days later. I had another great run, despite the swarms of bugs we were beating away every 20 feet.

Saturday arrived and I felt pumped. Visions of exceeding my own expectations danced through my head. I had done it twice in the past week, what was one more time?

Only I didn’t factor in the weather.

Saturday morning was hot and humid, as in, I was sweating just standing around at the starting line. Off we went, all 69 runners, and it didn’t take long til I felt like I’d been kicked back to my very first practice run. I let my mind take over and let it beat myself up to the verge of tears at times. Needless to say I am not proud of my performance. But I was NOT last.

I was second to last.

I beat a guy.

Which makes me feel slightly better.

But as soon as I passed off the baton (aka sweaty slap bracelet) to our biker, I felt better. I had done it, I was part of this race, and my team mates congratulated me on a job well done. We loaded up in the car and were off to the next transition leg – bike to paddle. Watching the lead teams come in, pass off the bracelet, race for their boats and jog down to the water to launch was enthralling. So much adrenaline flowing through the crowd that my energy was quickly rejuvenated. I was already psyched to compete next year, and redeem myself.

Unfortunately I had to leave early to head to a wedding, but our team finished in 6 hrs 25 min total, and I had a great time nonetheless. It’s given me the motivation to keep working hard at my running over the next year so I’ll be prepared for anything.

The motivation will have to wait a few days to run again. My body still feels like it was hit by a bus.

Next race: Hot Chocolate Run in December

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