Dead Last

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Today I met my worst enemy… Cold rain. I have asthma, which usually doesn’t affect me. Yet, I was reminded of my condition when I couldn’t get my breathing under control in the 5.5k race today. I panicked. I realized that I did not bring my inhaler with me. It’s probably been a year or two since I have actually needed to use it. My asthma only flares up when I am physically active because I am so very out of shape. Today would have been a smart day to carry, but I forgot.

I am unsure why I would forget to carry my inhaler. Asthma has been one of the very reasons why I have avoided running for so long. The truth is, that it’s just an excuse for me. Running obviously takes discipline and it’s not a discipline that I have ever been interested in developing. I have not truly had an asthma problem since I began jogging and it did not actually become an emergency today. I just found my run frustrating and anxiety producing. This has been the opposite of most of my running experiences thus far. So, I regretfully report that I did NOT have fun running today. I did, however, enjoy the company and the event. 

The race I competed in today was the Augusta Raurica run, just outside of Basel. The race began and ended at a Roman amphitheatre from BC. The town was founded around 44 BC and the ruins are left from the largest Roman settlement north of the Alps. So, the location was a lot of fun. This context explains why the medal we received looks like a Roman coin.

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The people I participated with are good friends of mine who have become my cheerleaders in my effort to get healthy. My roommate, Rachel, has been running with our friend Katrina for about a year and a half now. She has accomplished many great challenges. My friend, Allison, hasn’t been running in Germany as long but she too has completed some great challenges. These three beautiful women may not be the athletic type, but they are running machines. They inspire me and encourage me to keep going, even when things become tough or painful. I’ve been able to look at their example and commit to doing better, myself.  

Today I ran beside Allison for about 2 minutes. I couldn’t keep up after that because I was running at a very slow pace. The hills that approached quickly slowed me down even further. So, I ran most of this race by myself. Not too far in front of me, I could see the back of Allison’s head. In my peripheral vision, I could see an old man sneaking up behind me. I traded positions with this man about 3 times before I finally let him pass. At that point, I was alone and I was glad. I’ve gotten used to running alone, so I was relieved to have space again. What I DIDN’T like was the man that quickly approached me on a bicycle. It became clear to me that he was the official at the end of the running crowd. Nobody else was behind me. 

I was defeated. I was having trouble breathing, I was alone, and I was being followed by a German on a bike. There was very little to motivate me to ascend the hills. I wanted to stop on many occasions. I really just wanted to be done. Yet, I didn’t allow myself to give up. I kept going and I NEVER stopped. 

In the end, I finished dead last. I placed 26, with a time of 48 minutes. There weren’t many runners, it’s true. If I wanted to, I could have probably announced that I achieved the 26th place and people might have been impressed. I’m actually pretty proud of myself though. I never had an interest in running before and I never thought that I would do something like this. I know that a 5k race isn’t a big deal for most people, but it was a big deal for me. 

My roommate says that this is just the beginning. I sincerely hope she is right. 

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