At 9:00 this morning, I joined several of my coworkers for the annual law enforcement torch run as the torch went through Seminole County. This event serves as the largest fundraiser and public awareness campaign for the Special Olympics. And boy was I excited for the opportunity to participate! I knew little of what to anticipate, except to be there at 8:00 and to plan to run about 12 miles at a 10 minute/mile pace; with the crutch of having a motorcade surrounding us, plenty of fruit and water provided, and a bus we could hop on if we hit a wall we couldn’t get past. I figured it would be a great chance for me to get my feet wet with distance running. So although I was nervous, I ran full speed for it.
Me and Bonn on the bus ride on the way to our starting line in Maitland
The longest I have ran at a time, prior to today, was 8 miles. Today I woke up with the goal in mind of running with some coworkers, doing my best, and seeing how far I could get. And what do you know, I completed the entire thing. 12 miles!!! Yes, I am a little proud. And I feel a lot more confident going into a half marathon later this year, which will fall in at a distance just above what I did today at 13.1 miles.
I also met some really great people who pushed me to keep going the whole way. I found that if I stayed toward the front of the group I was more likely to keep going. The moment I fell back a little, I started to cramp and feel anxious about the run ahead, so I did my best to keep up with the front of the group.
This run was a bit later than my usual 6 am-er, but I managed. Here was my plan for energy: I had a small cup of java this morning, some almond/craisin mix and drank chocolate flavored coconut water for hydration on the way to Sanford. This worked out pretty perfectly and got me through the first part of the run easy.
We took two breaks as a group. One at 4.5 miles and another at 10 miles. On the breaks we enjoyed oranges, bananas, and water. I think I overdid my refueling at the first break: I chugged a water bottle down, had 3 orange slices, and half a banana. Yes I was starving, and my thought process was that it would provide me with sustainable energy and help with cramps. Not the case. I could have done without the banana, and I paid for it with stomach cramps for the next two miles. But the second break I held back and only had about half a bottle of water and one orange slice.
Our motercaid – so thankful for them keeping the roads safe for us!
The first break was at Burger King!
Finally got a picture of the back of our shirts at the first break
One of the girls I met today has ran multiple marathons in the past and confessed to me that she runs at 4am daily. She said it keeps her sain! How true!! She also gave me some great insight into running groups in Central Florida – which I will need to further investigate. She and I, along with about 10 others ran the whole way through and I am so proud to be apart of that group!
One of the Special Olympics Gold medalists joined us for a little as well. She is such a champion and I was so glad to see her out today. I’ve seen her walking around in the past, I believe walking is her main form of transportation because I have actually seen her around Sanford A LOT over the past 10 years or so. But I never knew that she was even involved with the Special Olympics, nevermind a medalist! How cool is that?!
These people are the real champions and shaking up the world’s perception of the things they are capable of! I am so glad that today I was able to bring at least a little light to their success and how far the Special Olympics organization has come. Keep it up guys!!
My peeps at the end of the race and ready for our BBQ lunch!!