Wow...what a day for a first race! I had a GREAT night of sleep last night, after several encouraging texts from some of my runner friends and non-runner friends alike. Woke up around 6am and, per trainer's orders, ate immediately. Had a nice strawberry banana blueberry yogurt smoothie, cup of coffee and a Luna Bar. Just a few sips of water to get my vitamin down.
Around 7am, the texts and e-mails started pouring in from amazing friends, co-workers, SparkBuddies and trainer. I was nervous, but excited and just so touched that so many were thinking of me and cheering for me. And then...I went outside to leave and found my van had been attacked by one of my derby buddies, Thigh Candy. Oy...that sweet, sweet girl! There was a card and a dozen roses on my windshield and a bunch of star balloons tied to the side mirror. And...well...this...
2 Sweet, Candy!!!
Got in the car and was one of the first people at the field house. Haha. That was a long couple of hours, but had some friends with booths there so I chatted them up a bit, used the restroom and all that good stuff. Did a little warm-up and got into my zen place. About 10 minutes before the race, my mother-in-law, husband, oldest daughter and little guy showed up. That was a surprise and pretty nice to see them.
Before the race started, I got to chat a bit with Tara from Biggest Loser (Season 7?). She was really sweet and really down to earth, not at all like you'd think a TV star would be. I kind of expected her to have an entourage, but nope. She was just hanging out by the starting line and nobody was talking to her, so I asked her about her Iron Man and she played with my kids a bit. That was surreal. We talked about workouts and food and such. She was really great. Here's a shot of Tara:
I know, you guys are like...WHO CARES? GET TO THE RACE! Haha.
OK, so starting line...and we're off. There were really only about 30 people running this 5k so it was a really nice, small group. We started out and I was already in the rear...but I knew going in that I wouldn't be as fast as most people, so it didn't really bother me. I just hung out in the back, thinking, "I'll make this up later...gotta get in the zone."
Well...no time to get in the zone because the very first thing on this course was a MASSIVE hill. I have not trained on hills AT ALL. I've READ about them and the form you are supposed to use when you run up and down them...but reading and doing are two very different things. Needless to say, I walked that first hill...as did many of the runners. Listen...that thing was LONG. About halfway up, I decided to name it because it was just so treacherous. I dis-affectionately dubbed it "Murder Mountain".
Once I got past that hill, running felt SO good. Until...the next hill. Yes. And the next. And the next. Look, I didn't know there was a mountain range in the middle of Bloomington, Indiana!
So, I walked all the hills because I really wasn't willing to risk injury. I figured, "Well, my time will suffer, but who cares? At least I'll finish."
On the downhills and straight-aways, I was able to run and that was really nice. Honestly, it was 93 degrees and it wasn't until the last half mile or so that I really began to feel the heat. Luckily, they decided to throw some water stations onto the course RIGHT where I needed it...wow, that stuff felt good and helped me keep going.
Finally, I could see the stadium (finish line was across the parking lot). But, you know...wouldn't be right unless there was ONE LAST HILL right before the finish line. It was a smaller one...but still.
The last 0.1 miles, of course I ran. And Tara ran with me. That was pretty awesome. She took me all the way to the finish line.
So, I came out with a final time of 43:35. Considering my normal training run time for the 5k on a totally flat course is 43 minutes, I was SUPER excited about this finish. I honestly thought it was going to be closer to 55 minutes. It felt so long out there.
Here is the obligatory medal photo:
All in all, this was a perfect first race. Debriefed with trainer afterwards and he asked, "How do you feel after getting such a cool medal?"
I replied, "I feel...like I can do whatever I want. I feel like I'm never going back to...all of it."
But, I think if I had to sum up how I feel...it really doesn't have much to do with the run. Honestly...I've never felt more loved than I felt today.
I'm so thankful and so blessed to have the most amazing group of friends on the planet.