Monday, October 29, 2007


As I sat on the ferry to Mackinaw Island I couldn’t help but feel a little nervous, it was only two hours before the start of my first running race (track in high school doesn’t count). It automatically made me think back to my first motocross race. Of course only being 8 at the time I don’t remember much about it. But I do remember being extremely nervous and feeling like I might pee my pants, and just thinking about that day brings back the butterflies. I have been nervous for plenty of races since then but I haven’t felt that roller coaster drop of nervousness in my stomach since those early days. Thinking about my new challenge ahead of me though just for a second I thought I felt a tingling in my stomach. But on second thought it must have been motion sickness from the boat rocking back and forth on the waves.

Like I said I have never participated in anything like this before, but my older brother Terry did a couple of 5Ks before so knew a little about sign up and the whole process. We got our numbers and then waited for everything to start. My younger brother Ben and Krystal (Terry’s girlfriend) were going to run the 5.7 mile, while Terry and I did the half marathon (13.1 miles). Unlike a motocross race where I can sit inside my motor home in between motos to keep warm, here we had to stand outside. As I said the race was held on Mackinaw Island where they don’t allow any motorized vehicles, the only transportation being bicycles, horses or like today feet. And I know I have been complaining about the weather in Northern Michigan lately but today was the worst yet. I heard it was only 36 degrees out and did I mention it was raining? I am a major wimp when it comes to cold and I am not afraid to admit it. I was actually shaking I was shivering so much before the race and didn’t know how others were dressed in shorts and short sleeves. I had on long spandex pants with wind breakers on over top and a long sleeve under armor shirt with a super thick running jacket on over top of that and a head band to keep my ears warm. I have seen people ski in less, but I still couldn’t get warm.

Now I didn’t go into this race with very high expectations, I just wanted to finish and not get last. If I could beat my brother, that would be pretty awesome too. I mostly just wanted a learning experience and I got it. I knew when I over heard other runners in line for the bathroom before the race talk about running the Chicago marathon that there were some people there a lot more serious about running than me. I have never been much of a runner. I was always an active child running and playing, but I remember the one time a year when we had to run the mile in gym I thought I was going to die. In JR high and High school I ran track but was a sprinter and hurdler. I obviously started running more to train for motocross but usually just ran my block, of course being in the country my block is 2 ½ miles long. It wasn’t until I went to France in ’05 and trained with Pierrick Paget that I started (ok more like forced) to run further and actually enjoy running.

But today there wasn’t much enjoyment, it was cold and wet and because I was shaking so badly I couldn’t warm my muscles up properly and I threw my back out by mile three. It sounds pathetic I know, only old out of shape people are supposed to throw their backs out. But I think I learned something else this weekend, the “shape” of a person doesn’t necessarily determine the shape they are in. Our society puts so much pressure on people to be stick thin and that’s supposed to mean healthy. But I got passed by some ladies who should not have been wearing spandex and I realized size doesn’t mean anything. Now thick, skinny, old or young it didn’t matter I am competitive and I didn’t like getting passed by anyone. But I had to remind myself that though I am in great shape for riding, running is completely different. And most people in my age group are a lot more serious about running and have been training properly for it. If I got any of these people on a track it would be a different story.

However I am glad to say I ran the whole thing, and there were quite a few people walking by the end. And I finished 14th in my age group out of 25, in 2 hours and 16 minutes. Not really that good but I didn’t get last and I did beat Terry so I achieved my goals. Next time I will be more prepared and will know what I am up against. I have been super competitive my whole life, I hate losing and while this is great for racing it has also held me back from trying new things. But I have made a resolution to broaden my horizons, while motocross is my life I should have other interest and hobbies. So I am going to keep on running even if at mile twelve I thought it was the worst thing I have done and hopefully someday I will finish a full marathon. I also have my first belt test next month in Karate and Ju Jitsu, which I am super nervous for. I have been racing for so long that it is kind of exciting to not be a “veteran” anymore and try things out for the first time. But as for right now I am headed to the chiropractor to get my old back put back into place. I can barely walk right now let alone run, ride or throw a round house kick.
(Pictured from left to right, Krystal, Terry, Ben and me)


Anonymous said...

Hey Sarah -

Good job on your marathon! You did awesome, can't wait to see you in Texas!

Lauren #52

Anonymous said...

Great job, i know how you feel about being cold and wet and trying to perform. It is very hard to get your muscles warmed up properly. I also found out that training for motocross isn't very good for other sports, i raced mt. bikes and also ran, and each sport seems to use completely different muscles. Oh well, keeps things interesting. Keep up the great job and good luck with your racing.

SleekPelt said...

Nice job, Sarah!

Anonymous said...

good job Sarah :)
Moooo :) LOL

Anonymous said...

Good job - I am happy you did so good in your first running race. I am almost 6 and just had my first MX race a few weeks ago. I even won a trophy!! I am your #1 MX fan. My bike has a #4 on it like yours and it is blue too. It is a PW50. Good luck next year, Jillian #4

jessi said...

YAAAAAAAAAHHHHH. I am so pumped to read all about your run. I am so proud of you and look forward to running together. I remember the days you would ride your bike beside me in Georgia. Maybe I will be the one following you now?

Anonymous said...

I'm not a pansy. Your brother never calls me. Just call whenever you or beefcake feel like riding. Just so you know I think Terry is scared of me, he wouldn't even bring his bike to Alpena.