My First Race Back.

My First Race Back-
I hugged my dad, kissed Trevor goodbye and made my way to my corral. My palms were sweaty, my heart was racing, and my legs were quivering. With tears in my eyes, I stood at the starting line for the NYRR Retro Race, this would be the first race back after recovering from my bilateral mastectomy surgery. I was feeling such a mixture of emotions standing at the starting line. A mixture of happiness, nervousness, and anxiousness. 

The man next to me saw I was getting emotional and said, "it's just a race". What he didn't know was what I had just been through. Yes, it was just a race, but a race that would determine  my new normal with my new breasts(or so I thought). It would also determine my baseline racing time. 

I put my hand over my pounding heart for the national anthem, got my Garmin ready, and then next thing I knew, I was on my way. 

The heart break set in around mile 3.5 and I knew I wasn't going to be able to finish the race. Trying to run at my pre-mastectomy pace, I had started too fast, and going up Central Park's Cat Hill I thought my chest was going to explode. I could feel the incisions from where my muscle was cut. I stopped, got medical help, and was taken by ambulance back to the medical tent. 

I tell you this not to scare you, but to be real and honest about my journey. That race wasn't a failure, although it felt like it at the time. That race was a learning experience.  That race would not be the last time I would experience that pain. It's currently nowhere near as bad, and now I know what to do in order to lessen it and/or make it go away. I wanted everyone to see this video, because I want to show you that I went from not being able to finish a 5-mile race to finishing the NYC Marathon and qualifying for Boston, in less than 5 months.

So, my point is, I felt like SHIT the first time I went out there, but that first run was not indicative of what I was capable of doing and where I was going. 

Keep going. Keep believing in yourself. 

Caroline Plank