Be free-floating, allowing the situation to surround you, and be in it. Take in the full surroundings, including the temperature of the water.
This may bring incredible clarity, presence and focus. This is what is means to be a jellyfish.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Jingle Bells ~ the Jingle Bell Run

Well I did it. I ran in my first public race - for a good cause. The Arthritis Foundation's Jingle Bell 5K Run.

When I heard of this 5K run, I thought 'that really isn't much further than my usual route' so I thought this was quite do-able. I wouldn't say I have been working up to this, in fact it was a spur of the moment decision to enter. I never really thought of running with a huge group of people with bells on my shoes.  I only discovered a few days before the exact distance I had been running, well and walking mixed in. It was right at 2 miles. A 5K is 3.14 miles. I was nervous - would that extra mile really do me in? Just one more mile really, not bad, right? 

A very festive walker!
My 'festive' feet, 
complete with bells
and number.
My Festive Ears
So I joined, and day of race got my Christmas Spirit going. I wasn't the only one - in fact I was dressed rather conservatively. Just my festive feet and Santa Hat. Oh yes, and candy cane earrings.

Dressed and ready to go, I started getting more and more nervous. I had my trusty walk-man, convinced that this was the thing that would get me through without killing myself. Just keep pace with the music, and I would be fine.

Outside before we all lined up to start, I overheard some runners talking about the course.
'Whaaa?? hills??'
'I ran this course the past 2 years', one said. His friend said, 'Oh yes, didn't you finish in 18 minutes or something like that?' He said, 'Yeah, but that last hill is a real doozy, I ran up that one last year asking the people on the sidelines 'we are almost done, right?' '

'Remember, keep
your own pace....'
My jaw dropped. A runner that can do 3.14 miles in 18 minutes was saying the last hill, the hill you have to take at THE END of the race, was a hard one? 'GREAT! I am in trouble', I thought. 

So I was adding a full plus mile to my normal routine, PLUS a killer hill. 'Wait a minute', I thought seeing the map of the route complete with a topography graph at the bottom, 'those are ALL HILLS?'

My Daughter had bells
around her neck
Thank goodness my daughter was there, also with bells on, to cheer me on and comfort me.   'Mom, think of where we are ~ you thought there WOULDN'T be hills?' Yes, she was right. I was in denial really, living in  he middle of the mountains, thinking it would be a nice flat run. Well there was no turning back now. I just kept telling myself, 'keep your own pace and you will be fine! You can do this, just keep your own pace.' 

The Starting Line
So off we all went ` it was a strange start, I felt. Just a huge crowd all taking off at once, some slower than others (me), old and young, and lots of kids. I had my headphones in, music going, my nerves were now running too. I was running my usual pace, I thought. 

Off we go!
But I was getting passed left and right! Young, old, in between, they all were flying by me! My mind, racing, thinking that I better not join the crazy's that were sprinting now. But I doubted myself. How SLOW WAS I running? 'This is my normal pace', I thought, the music helps me keep pace. My mind wouldn't stop, I kept thinking,'but am I REALLY that slow of a runner?' Oh, stop!', I said, 'Run your pace and you can finish'. But this was hard! 
I was working hard to just keep my normal pace. Nerves. All nerves. I remembered that the beginning is usually hard on my normal daily runs too. It doesn't start feeling easier until at least the 2nd or 3rd song, so I comforted myself that I would be fine. 

So I kept on, comforted in the thought that my groove would soon kick in. When the 3rd song was starting I thought, yeah I am good now, falling into a comfortable place. 
But wouldn't you know it - HILL. Crap. Ok, more mental talking to myself now. 'Just keep the pace up the hill, and when you reach the top you will slowly recover as you take it your own pace.' So run up the hill I did, breathing heavy, going pretty slow, but still running. And wouldn't you know I did end up passing many of those folks that passed me at the beginning. Yay me! But dangit why is there a shooting pain in my shoulder?!?  

So I tried to keep pace and recover for a bit at the top of that hill, but before I could fully get rid of that pain, another hill. And so it went. I had to walk a wee bit, but I walked fast. When I ran again, I just ached for that 2.2 mile water station. Wouldn't you know it, the mile 2 marker was another hill. So I walked into the water station, and grabbed a cup of water thanks to a wonderful family that was handing it out, but could hardly drink it because I was trying to still walk fast and breathing so hard it was difficult to drink. But I did as best I could, and I still felt bad throwing the cup on the ground, but that is what you do...

Once finished with the water, I knew I was in the home stretch now, so back to running. It was uphill, a nice long hill, but I kept running. Then I see my daughter who had run down the course to cheer me on! She rocks. Snapping pics, and running along side me, seeing her gave me energy I didn't think I had. 'You can really do this', she assured me, 'You are almost done!'

The end was near - but wait - that is a steep hill to the finish, dammit. This hill wasn't a long one thank goodness, and it was to the finish, so I started to sprint! I gave it all I had and realized that I can do this! YAY the finish! 
To the finish I ran, 34:10 the clock said! I did it in less time than I thought I would! Not bad. 

Tired, but proud.
Yes I want to do another.
I couldn't help feeling like I could have done a little better. I could have started sprinting sooner at the end there, maybe I could have run more instead of walk up those 2 hills. Maybe this, maybe that, oh who was I kidding? I DID it, and did it in a better time that I thought I would. This feeling of should have done better, well I can save that for the next race, and actually do better. 

Jingle All the Way!
Because I do want to run another race. It is a great way to push yourself, a great way to measure your abilities This one rewarded me with little bells to wear on my shoes, (I am definitely keeping them on my shoes you know....) and I got a nice tee shirt too. Not to mention the satisfaction of knowing I can run 3 miles. Something I could have never accomplished last year. All in all, not bad. AND the Arthritis Foundation raised a good bit. All in all, pretty GOOD. Jingle all the way!


  1. Thanks for the commentary - really reminds me of when I had to run. Start out slow, let those guys pass you, keep your own pace, and you'll probably pass a lot of them along the way. As long as you use the run to better yourself rather than compete with other people, you're doing fine.
    Great job! Can't wait to hear about the next one.

  2. awesome job Rebecca!...great pics and makes my bell jingle just reading this one!


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