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Year of You is just the start of life-long race
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Jeanette Balmut has been selected to participate in the Year of You, a fitness challenge hosted by The Manteca Bulletin, CalFit Manteca and CORE Athletic Performance. Balmut is keeping a weekly journal, highlighting the strides and struggles of her fitness journey. 

Day 351  

Happy Monday, it’s the last two weeks of this journey.  This week is going to be a big one.  At the end of it I will be running my first 15K.  It’s all I can think about.  I am terrified.  I know I will get through it, it’s just at what pace and how will I finish?  Strong?  Barely?  We will see.

Back to the grind….first “normal” week back after the holidays. Looking forward to it honestly.  Regular meals, times, etc.  I get to work an hour early and eat my flak seed, oats, and grains for breakfast (it’s all measured.  I eat a half cup).  Two hours later I have my 80 calorie yogurt and then at lunch I have my chicken salad.  All is good.

I leave work and meet my daughter at Kaiser.  It’s a two hour wait!  We are in the office until after 4:15 so I am racing to get home to meet Javi for my regular workout.  I race home, change and out the door.  I arrive to Javi having the back room all set up for me.  Ropes, boxes, weights, the works.  We start.  I do 100 jumping jacks, move on to jump squats, then box squats with kettlebells then clean and jerks, ropes, and so on.  I complete the “first round” and I am profusely sweating….not normal sweating but downpour.  I start the second round and I start to see spots, get lightheaded, I think to myself “I’m going to vomit”…I try, I really do, to keep going…I can’t.  Like really, I can’t.  I sit and try to gather my composure. No luck.  Javi is not happy with me.  I’m sure it’s a combination of no food for past 5 hours, no water, not prepared and the fact that yesterday I ran over six miles.  I end up quitting….yes you heard me…QUITTING, and going home.  I fall into my recliner and thing I am going to faint.  It was the worst feeling ever.  I was so mad at myself.  My family kept reassuring me that I can have days like this, its ok and I will be back!

Day 352 

I am back.  Bright and early and at the gym before 5 a.m.  I do a hard cardio and call that my make up for last night!

I have to go early because tonight we are having our pictures taken for the Mr. and Mrs. Manteca Competition (Mike and I will be competing on January 31, 6 p.m. at the Senior Center….please come and support us)…We have our pictures taken by Leonard Photography and honestly, it’s the first time in many, many years that I am willing to actually sit down with my family and have a professional picture taken.  It feels so good!

Day 353  

Hump day, and half way through the week…one day closer to the big run.  

It’s make up with Javi day.  He tells me to come prepared with my boxing gloves….here we go!

I arrive, do a mile warm up and then we hit the back room and start our workout.  He has me warm up on the bag (boxing) and then we switch to a high intensity cardio circuit.  OH MY GOODNESS.  He had me doing things I could never have imagined doing.  I did weights, ropes, boxes, the works. I did a round of circuit and then back to boxing.  I never thought I would like boxing…I LOVE IT.  It’s such a workout but still so fun.  As I am in the middle of it, my family comes in and decides to watch.  My daughter records it.  I’m feeling good….great really!  I am thinking I am this tough, awesome, lightning fast, agile athlete……  After I finish my husband is full of compliments, tells me I looked amazing and I did so good.  I am full of smiles, dripping with sweat and all worked up.  They leave and I hit the treadmill.  I decide to see the video Myklyn posted.  WHAT?  She posted it in slow motion, right?  It has to be in slow motion….that’s not me?  I am stealth and “floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee”…..right?  NO, I am not!  It had to be the most humiliating thing to see.  I am none of those things.  UGH, I am slow and nothing like a butterfly!

Day 354 thru Day 356

The next two days I am just doing cardio and preparing for my race.  I am nervous and excited and hoping I am preparing my body the right way.  The food intact the water intact, hydrating etc.  We will be leaving on Saturday for San Francisco to enjoy the night before the big race.

We head to San Francisco and check into our hotel at Union Square.  We stop at the first place and have a drink and a WATER and then move on to the next.  We walk a few blocks and decide to go to the Cheesecake Factory.  We hang out at the bar, we meet everyone, we tell them all about the race, we drink, we share an appetizer and then about an hour and a half later we are sat for dinner.  My friend and I look at the menu and realize we will never be able to eat our own meal so we decide to share a plate of chicken enchiladas with black beans.  Perfect amount!  Do we leave then? Oh heck no…we are, after all at the Cheesecake Factory.  We both order a slice and after less than half we are beyond stuffed and can’t finish it.  It was amazing but so rich and neither of us are used to eating like that anymore so we call it a night and head back.  Still drinking LOTS of water.

Day 357 

Today is the day….its RACE day.  I have been working for this for months.  I am excited and nervous and wondering if I will be able to succeed.  

We are up by 5:30 a.m. and ready for the day by 6:15. We stop at Starbucks and get an oatmeal and coffee and head to the shuttle.  We arrive about two hours before the race.  I drink the coffee (large) and then a bottle of water with hydrating drops in it (this might have been a mistake) and then check our gear and head to the starting gate….and we wait.  And wait…and wait.  OMG now I have to pee so bad I can’t think of anything else.  There are no bathrooms anywhere.  We wait till our corral is called and we begin.  I’m excited, feeling good but I just have to go to the bathroom so bad I can’t concentrate.  Off we go!

Immediately after the starting gate there is the first HILL.  It’s not bad and there are so many people (over 12,000) that you can’t run anyways so we just get started.  We are feet to feet and literally packed in like cattle, we are hoping it will thin out soon….it does….at about mile one, we are able to pick up our pace.  I’m running alongside my friend and we have set an 11 minute pace. Good for both of us.  We are feeling great and I am doing everything I can to NOT think about how bad I have to go to the bathroom.  At each port-a-potty station there are lines and lines of people so I just keep going.  Running great, feeling great and keeping a great pace.  No stopping!  We travel through the tranquil Golden Gate Park and at this point it’s mostly flat with a slight decline.  We head out to the highway and see the beautiful ocean. Its sunny and cool and crisp and the perfect weather.  I am now in full blown panic mode.  I MUST find a bathroom soon.  I’m really getting nervous.  I’m also pissed.  I wanted my race to go smooth and no issues, this was not one I could have predicted.  Coming up to mile four, we are still keeping a great pace and not stopping.  I see up ahead the next station and a huge long line.  There is nothing I can do, I have to stop.  Thank goodness I did, I would not have lasted much longer.  My friend and I have to split up at this point and I turn my race tracker devise to pause and get in line.  It takes a little over nine minutes to get through the line and back to racing.  I am beyond bummed but I get right back on track.  I am passing a lot of people and feeling good about it.  I spot my sister and she is already down to the end and heading back in the opposite direction.  Good for her, she is killing it!  I never see any of my friends again.  I assume they are way in front of me with my stop.  I take a quick selfie of me in front of the ocean and just keep going.  I am hitting mile five, then six, then seven….feeling good, not stopping and thinking “I got this”.  Then the hills start.  UGH, I had heard we would have hills, but I really wasn’t prepared for this.  It was much longer than expected.  I made it to mile 7.33 before I finally dropped out of jogging mode and changed to a fast walk.  I am still walking at a pace comparable to my jog speed but I am going up a hill.  I am passing people, most people, but there is no chance I can run at this point.  I keep thinking it will level out, it doesn’t!  

 At mile 8.66 my sister texts me and tells me she is done!  She asks me where I am and I tell her, she reminds me to keep going and I am almost there and to turn my own race tracker off at the finish line. 

At this point I start to well up with tears.  I try to control them but it’s at this moment that I realize just how far I have come.  What I have accomplished during this year.  How proud of myself I truly am.  If you would have asked me a year ago if I could ever imagined myself running a 15K race in Golden Gate Park you all know my answer would have been NEVER.  Never could I have thought that I could do this —.or even want to do this.  I hold back my tears and I cross the finish line.  I DID IT, I really did it. And\I’m going to do it again.  It was such a feeling of accomplishment and pure joy.  Our goal was to complete the race within two and a half hours.  We slaughtered that time.  I finished at 1:59 — less than two hours! Thank you to my friends and sister for being there for me. Thank you for my family for their support, thank you for my amazing trainer that has helped me every step of the way.  But most of all thank you to Manteca Bulletin and Cal Fit for giving me this opportunity.  I know without a doubt I could not have had a year like this without this competition.  It was so needed and I am so very thankful for this outcome!