Marblehead Beach-to-Beach 5K Recap: One Year Later

If you asked me exactly 1 year ago where I think I’d be today, some of my answers probably would’ve included: “Hopefully engaged,” “hopelessly in love with the same guy I am now” and “planning my wedding.”

Silly 22-year-old me.

A year ago, I thought my life was perfect.  I was exactly where I wanted to be, with exactly who I wanted to be with, and I thought I was done changing, done growing.  My life was set: engaged at 23, career take-off at 24, married at 25, kids by 29.  It was what I wanted and I remember thinking “Thank God my life is not complicated.”

How quickly things change.

A year ago, I was incredible naive.  I lived in (what I thought was) a very safe and secure bubble and very little could deter me from (what I thought) I wanted.  I had a great boyfriend, I was about to start graduate school and despite the loans I was accumulating, I felt like I was right where I was supposed to be with my life.

Wrong again…. Anyone sensing a pattern here?

In March 2011, I decided that I needed a new challenge in my life and I started running.  I took on the Couch to 5K plan full force and though running was and is never something that is easy for me, I stuck with it.  On Saturday, March 15, 2011, I ran my first ever road race, the Marblehead Beach-to-Beach 5K with a time of 33:38.  It was incredibly difficult but one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.

Marblehead 2011!

So, let’s talk about this year’s run, shall we?

I didn’t sleep well Friday night.  After deciding against going out with my friends, I went to bed later than I probably should have and proceeded to toss and turn all night from nightmares.  Those are always fun.  I woke up late and my head not anywhere in the game (not even in the arena…)  I ate my 2 pieces of toast with peanut butter and headed to Marblehead a little after 8am.

I was nervous.  I didn’t have my Garmin and knew I’d have to run the whole race by feel alone, something I’ve never done.  (Side note: it was kind of awesome to not to be glancing at my wrist every 5 seconds…)  I knew I wanted another PR.  After last month’s race, I could feel my fiesty competitive side fired up for anything better than 31:44.

Lucky number 258!

It was a lot warmer than it was last year but the beginning of the course is pretty shady as it winds through a beautiful neighborhood right on the water.  It wasn’t until I hit the Marblehead Neck Causeway just after the first mile marker that the sun was more intense and I was thankful for the water stop that was set up at the end of the road.

I don’t remember the race being this fast last year, but all of a sudden, I was past mile 2, rounding the neck neighborhood and coming back up the causeway towards the finish line.  Right at the end, I pushed, hard.  I finished in 31:20, a 24 second PR from last month’s 5K as well as beating my previous time for this race by 2 minutes and 38 seconds.  If I hadn’t been so tired at the end, I would’ve done cartwheels from the sheer joy of it all.

Marblehead 2012! (Usual pre-race fake smile..)

If you had told me a year ago that today my whole life would be different, I definitely would not have believed you.  If you told me there is an terrifyingly exciting life outside of my bubble, I would’ve thought you were crazy.  Am I the same person I was when I ran Marblehead the first time?  Absolutely not.  Will I ever be that person again?  Absolutely not.  Am I okay with that?  Yes.

Am I happy?  I’m getting there.

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