Hi guys! Today I want to tell you guys about something I have not yet talked about on the blog...my first race.
Running and I have had an on and off relationship for several years, starting with the 2 miles I used to "jog" to my grandmother's house and back. We broke up several times, but I always went back.
I loved the feeling I first got when I started running, that my body was in motion, feet pounding the pavement and ponytail flying in the breeze. I knew I wasn't fast, but running felt GOOD. Even more than the memory of when I first discovered running, the memory of the first race I ever signed up for will be something I never forget.
This particular stint of running I had started in the hopes of losing weight. I didn't train consistently, but I knew that running a race was the next step to becoming what I imagined was a real runner. So I hopped on coolrunning.com and searched for races in my area that I could do (meaning 5ks) and stumbled across the Nantasket Road Race. It was 4 miles, which was more than I had done up until that point, but I figured, what the hell? I can do it.
I remember being so nervous when I woke up that morning that I wouldn't do well, that I would have to walk the whole way, or that I would die along the side of the course. Despite my overwhelming fear, I hydrated well, had a small but nutrient rich breakfast, and I was ready to go!
I lined up with all of the other runners (mind you this was a small local race, so no elites here, only regular joes) and instantly felt LEGIT. Like I had ARRIVED. This was my moment. I was going to RUN A RACE.
Over the course of the 4 miles, I learned so many rookie mistakes that I had made. First, I had overhydrated AND forgot to go to the bathroom before the race started. I may or may not have peed myself a little over that four miles. Second, I did no scouting of the course beforehand. There were a LOT of hills over that 4 miles, which I hadn't trained at all for and nearly did me in. On top of all that, apparently I also forgot to charge my iPod (I rocked the 1st generation iPod classic back then, practically an antique now) and I was used to running with tunes.
The one thing that saved me was a mother and daughter running the race together. The daughter was about ten years old and was clearly struggling the same way I was. Throughout the whole last mile and a half, the mother encouraged us both to keep going. We stopped and walked the hills a little, but we kept going. Finally, with a half mile left to go, I decided to give it everything I had. And this, my friends, is the moment that made this race so special to me.
During the sprint to the finish, I passed the high school soccer team. The whole team. I beat an entire soccer team of boys to the finish line of a road race. Even though my finishing time was not the greatest (45:54), I was still enormously proud of myself. My passing the boys illicited cheers from the waiting crowd at the finish line. I would like to say that I stopped to hear the words of affirmation from the crowd, but instead I kept on running...straight to the bathroom.
What was your first race experience like?