My first 5K is now a thing of the past and I had a fantastic time. It was hard, don’t get me wrong, but it was rewarding and fun and I’m so glad I did it. Starting out with good friends like Jo-Ann, Manise, and Helen, as well as fellow Kiwanians Charlie and Susan had me on a high from the minute we got to the parking lot. And having Dale and my dear friend Anne there as my cheering squad, plus knowing all of you were cheering me on from your seats at home, really motivated me to do my absolute best.
I had some goals going into the race and the most important one was to finish. After that I was hoping to not finish last. And to maybe finish in less than 50 minutes. I knew I wouldn’t be able to run the entire length of the course (even though I had secret fantasies that had me doing just that) but I hoped I’d be able to at least run half and walk half.
Here comes the best part of this post:
I met all my goals. I finished, of course, and my time was 44:24, almost 6 minutes under my goal of 50:00. My pace was 14:19/M, a personal best for me. I walked about half the race and, although I was slightly disappointed that I didn’t run more, I knew it was for the best given the high humidity of the day. The course wasn’t difficult and I made up my mind before I started that I would walk the hills and inclines, knowing that I’d get out of breath if I tackled those running. I was smart and practical and it worked out well for me. I will say that parts of the course were a little bit lonely for me. We had all separated into our own paces and I was near the back and sort of alone. There weren’t a lot of people cheering from the sidelines and I wasn’t listening to music and, while my commitment never wavered, I definitely felt a little isolated. Once I hit that last mile, though, I felt much better. I knew I was going to finish and I knew my time was going to be better than I had anticipated. I had planned on running that whole last mile but the heat and humidity made me realize I didn’t have it in me so I walked until I was about a half mile from the finish line. I saw my friend Anne and then I saw Dale and I heard someone (I realized afterwards that it was Manise) screaming my name and telling me I could do it and – even though I was sweaty and tired and hot – I put everything I had into those last few yards.
It felt awesome. Okay, mostly it felt awesome to stop but still, awesome is the appropriate word.
Helen and Jo-Ann were just a few minutes behind me and once we all finished and drank some water and cooled down a bit the really fun part started. We swapped stories about the things that happened along the race route. We talked about the houses we saw and the little kid who was all alone in front of his house clapping for every runner. We shared what it felt like when the winner of the 10K went by all of us so fast we caught a breeze as he passed. We told each other about our own personal failures and triumphs. And we pledged to do better next time.
And of course there’s going to be a next time. If all goes according to schedule I will be running a race right here in my home town on October 14th. And by then I will have completed the Couch25K program which will help build my endurance and stamina. Even with those goals in mind, though, I’m still pretty proud of myself for completing this race, especially when I remember how far I have come. On May 22nd I couldn’t run for 30 seconds and on September 8th I ran the better part of 5K.
Thank you to Dale for taking all of these photos. And thanks to all of you for the support, for cheering me on, for encouraging me with your comments and emails, and for being the best readers a blogger could ever ask for.