My first 5k: Toledo Zoo Dart Frog Dash
It was hard to believe that the day I had thought about so much, worried and stressed, trained and prepared for, had finally arrived. I felt as prepared as I possibly could and didn’t sleep much the night before. I had not really ever run the whole 3.1 miles but I knew I was close and banking on the excitement of the day. I woke up at 4:30 to start getting things around and woke the kids up at 5:00 a.m. We had a surprisingly easy morning without a lot of yelling/screaming despite being at the butt crack of dawn. We picked up my sister, niece, and friend that was going with us at 5:50 and headed out. The drive itself was a full hour and half.
We pulled into the zoo at 7:30 and were one of the first ones there to my surprise. We muddled our way through the zoo to the registration area and registered the kids first. Jolene and I registered ourselves next and after we were all geared up donning our lime green shirts and bibs it was 8:00 a.m.-- Plenty of time before the race…thank goodness there was a nice play ground area for the girls to occupy themselves while I sat nervously on a bench. Looking around I was looking for a fatter than me person. God please don’t let me be the fattest person running here…. A wide variety of ages and ability for sure, but I sure didn’t see a lot of fat anywhere else. *SIGH* oh well.
Several runners were warming up, stretching, running around, walking.. I sat paralyzed because I didn’t want to pretend to be a professional runner when obviously I wasn’t. After the herd of people started walking to line up, we followed suit, not really sure where we were going or how this all worked. We kind of had an “aha” moment when we hit the residential street with the big start sign and the mob of people!! Holy cow, where did all these people come from???
I walked to the back of the crowd with my sister who was walking next to me. It surprised me that we didn’t know who was walking and who was running. I was very nervous to be trampled on by the faster runners behind me or tripping over the walkers in front of me. Before we knew it, the race had started and we were off.
It took us a while to get to cross the start line and even out the crowd. I was getting passed left and right. I tried not to care but I kept wanting to look back to see how many people were left.. I felt like it was most likely just me and my sister bringing up the rear. I did noticed I started at my best pace ever but quickly realized I could not keep that same pace for 3 miles.. NO WAY. I tried to slow down a bit so I could manage the whole route. Eight minutes into it and I felt like I found my pace and stride. As we were going down a hill, I peered to my right and runners were already coming back toward us up a hill that appeared to be at a 90 degree slope. Uh-oh.
I continued on and kind of got lost in my own thoughts until we circled the residential area and saw the big hill. Holy cow. But first the water station..oh, good! My lips were horribly dry so I snatched a cup of water but it was really full and I ended up with most of it my shirt and face, but some of it hit my lips so I was happy.
Now the hill….. I buried my head and pumped my arms and ended up passing several people. Once up the hill I thought, okay we must be getting close to done, right?? A few minutes later, I see the 2 mile sign. You have got to be kidding me. We are weaving in and around residential areas and I start seeing people with bananas and water bottles and walking the opposite directions, cheering all of us on.
Ok, we are so close right?? Entering back into the entrance of the zoo, greeters saying, “you are almost there” “keep it up”… pride swells, I feel like I am going to cross the finish line any second! Wait, turn here, now this way, past the reptile house, past the café, more signs, more people saying you are almost done.. WHERE THE HECK IS THE FINISH LINE???????
Coming around the bend, I see my two beautiful girls, niece, and friend standing there, cheering, smiling, “Mommy” I hear..
I run by them and high five them, fighting back tears and literally chocking back a sob I cross the finish line at 41:04. What a rush!!
I continue walking to cool down, found a banana station and bottle of water and head back to watch my sister coming in at 54 minutes.
After they closed down the 5k portion, the girls ran their 1K and were pleased and proud to show off their ribbons.