I’m a rider on the 2018 Texas 4000 team, and I’ll be biking from Austin, TX to Anchorage, Alaska next summer to fight cancer. Check out my rider page here to learn more about why I ride, and please consider making a donation if you are able to. Thank you!
My stomach was feeling pretty queasy. There were still 12 more hours until the 5K test, but nervousness had decided to set in early as soon as all my commitments on Friday were completed and I had nothing left between me and the dreaded test.
Fast forward about three hours, and I had forced myself to lie down in bed. I ended up getting some pretty bad quality sleep as I woke up every hour at first and then every 5 minutes (or so it seemed), worried each time that I had somehow overslept.
I finally woke up around 5:15 am and took off into the darkness toward the park where the test would be held. Anyone looking out the windows of their apartment in West Campus probably would have seen a pretty strange person randomly power posing and lipsyncing to music (“Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson, “Just Like Fire” by Pink, etc.) while walking.
It was a little after 6:15 when we circled up for our first ride dedication circle.
I think this is considered a pretty big first; there’s so much footage of ride dedication circles in all the Texas 4000 YouTube videos. Yet it somehow didn’t feel too different from the ride dedications with which we have started every Monday meeting since January. And in that moment, it finally hit me that it has already been 8 months since we’ve begun this journey together.
After a few moments, we broke out of the circle, and our fitness coordinators began calling out names. My group was starting 2 minutes in, meaning that I needed to hear a time less than 42 to indicate that I had passed.
Whenever I crossed paths with people during the run, we were always so supportive of each other, giving thumbs-ups and smiles. Other than that, I just regularly checked my running app, to help with pacing, and focused on my music in an attempt to zone out my loud breathing, the vocalization of how much my body was screaming at me to just stop running – you’ll never make it in time, you always fall short – and just get some much needed oxygen.
I was slowing down to a walk with less than a kilometer left to go when I approached the very last hill before the finish line and saw a group of teammates gathered at the top. I don’t even remember who all was present, but their shouts of “YOU’RE ALMOST THERE!” were just enough to get me to push onward and not stop.
And as I approached Smith and another group of teammates gathered at the finish line, I took out my earbuds and ran as fast as I could.
I woke up at 11 today after some much needed rest, and my legs are pretty sore. But most of all, I’m so proud of myself and of all my teammates who pushed themselves yesterday morning before the sun was even up.
First of many tiring Saturdays!
Special shout out to the two friends to whom I’ve complained a lot about running. Y’all have been so supportive in the past month, and I appreciate it. (I hope that the pictures of the early morning skies were good enough compensation for dealing with it all!)