No expectations, no worries.
Since this race was literally one-week post break-up with J, I was still a huge emotional mess. I knew that wouldn’t stop me from physically running this race, but I also didn’t care about it. AT. ALL. Literally, it was the furthest thing from my mind. But, a commitment is a commitment and I don’t ever leave those unattended. From the lack of sleep and appetite to the emotional heartache I was dealing with, trying to comprehend a real race was truly just not something I could emotionally burn calories on. Not to mention, we were supposed to run this race together with Lil 🙁
I picked up all of our bibs, I’m not heartless – Lil, Js, and mine. They held the packet pick-up at Raley Field, where the race would be held too. It was the easiest packet pick-up I’ve dealt with in a long time. Parking was ample and it was a short walk to the front of the stadium. I can appreciate how they took the time to add signage and make sure packet pick-up was cute. I grabbed all three bibs and then grabbed our t-shirts. Also, I scored with a handful of BOGO coupons for Chipotle. I only eat there with coupons and they had so many, they were asking us to take as many as we wanted. Sure, I’m always game for a deal! They had a cute backdrop to take pics, but I was solo (and sad) so I passed…I know weird right 😉 They also had the Giant Race swag tent up, but that stuff is beyond pricey for what it is, so I just glanced and then left. Again, this was all done on auto-pilot, not really thinking much about running.
As I was doing with a lot of things, I just embraced the moment and went with it. Thankfully, Lil came into town that AM and we went to the race together. J didn’t end up running it for his own reasons and I couldn’t get anyone to use the bib (don’t judge, I’d rather someone do the race that no one, especially when I paid for it)! Lil knew where my mind and heart were at, so even though I didn’t need too, I told her that I was just running for fun and I wasn’t sure how my body would hold up. Of course, as usual, she stayed with me the entire race. I literally wasn’t eating much and barely sleeping at this point, the depression/anxiety was thick. As usual, being her amazing self, Lil said she understood and we’d just run for fun. And we did exactly that. Ran for fun.
And just so I can complain about it AGAIN, this race offers two distances: 5k or 10k, but you can also relay the 10k if you want. However, the 10k is a double loop of the 5k and costs a ridiculous amount, which is why we always do the 5k. I can’t imagine paying more money to run the same loop AGAIN! Or having to wait while Lil runs her 5k, then I run mine. Seems dumb, so we just run the 5k together and call it a day. I really think they need to rethink this race layout. It’s a waste of money and time, but some humans must enjoy it — because they keep planning it this way!
Almost late to the start, per the usu, I had to get my traditional pre-race pic. No jumping this time, just a quick pic in front of the start line. As we did this, it was time for the National Anthem, so we stood right where we were, put our hand on our chest, and sang along. Once that was done we hustled to get to the correct side of the starting line. But, alas, the staff got smart and they barricaded the shoot pretty far back. And not with your normal type of barricade, it was all weird and we couldn’t squeeze ourselves through it or over it, without making complete fools of ourselves. So, we waited patiently with everyone else and made our way through the shoot. Stretching as we were walking, since the gun went off.
SACRAMENTO! Ugh, stop going to the very front if you are going to walk! EVERYONE! Ugh, stop going to the front of a race if you are going to walk!
Okay, now that I got that off my chest, it was a slow start, to say the least. Not that this is news to me or Lil! This run was cathartic, to say the least. Face-to-face time with Lil talking about everything happening in life lately, mostly about the break-up, was cathartic. The endorphins and the release of the words was something so necessary and perfect, my body was at ease during the entire run. Despite not truly functioning at full capacity, it was holding its own pretty well. I ignored my watch and just ran. Focused on talking and running strong. We debated if they changed the course this year, which I think they did a little. We quickly remembered the small little inclines near the water and the random, silly signs they put up to make you smile.
We dodged people, weaved around, and made our tangents much longer than necessary — but every step and stride was done with strength and clarity. We laughed a lot, despite me feeling sad. I had a huge cloud over me, remembering that runs are something J and I shared and now we no longer get too. Despite being really sad about this, Lil made sure to keep me talking and focused on running, despite the pit in my stomach and the ache in my heart. Knowing that J and I won’t get to run together was something I guess I took for granted at this point and being faced with a race that we were supposed to run together, was just another reminder of the big change occurring in my life at the time (this was a month ago, I’m much better now).
We ran the last 0.1 mi, up the slight incline toward the back part of Raley Field stadium, through the scoreboard, and onto the field to a really strong finish. Of course, Lil sped it up, so I did too. I’m sure her time was better than mine, that little shit! Anywho, it wasn’t too crowded so we could leisurely walk and snap some pics without getting yelled at to move it along. We sauntered around the warning track, grabbed a water and our medals from the cutest little kids. After enough selfies and pics by others, we made our way up the stairs to the concourse, toward right field where all the post-race fun typically is.
Total Distance – 3.14 Miles
We couldn’t remember if we got bobbleheads for this race, but we went to look, just to double check. We sure didn’t earn one for this race. We are so accustomed to receiving them, post Giant Races, we just assumed. Silly us 😉 We did get in line for some of the post-race food, but we ended up just grabbing a handful of the mini-protein bars, passing on the fresh fruit and dairy options available. We took a few more pics in photo booth type situations and then we decided to meet up with Mama Bear for some delicious breakfast.
We made our way over to Cafeteria 15L, where we shared a lovely post-race brunch. Poppa Bear was working, so it was just the gals. I was completely happy and surprised my body was able to keep a decent pace and even get a sub-30 for the run! I couldn’t tell you the last time I ran prior to this, it had been awhile! I didn’t have any expectations, other than to finish, and I surprised myself. It was a nice little surprise, despite a dreary emotional time. Although I know I won’t get to race OR run with J anymore, I can reflect and appreciate all the miles we did log together over the years — races or just for fun. It was how we bonded (after soccer) and something that will always make me think of him. It’s not something that defined our relationship, but it is something that I know was always good about our relationship and I can keep those memories there. Now, Lil is back to being my all-time running partner, whom I will continue to finagle into racing/running with me!
Life may throw you curveballs, but sometimes you just smash them, not run away from them…