Monday, February 11, 2013
On Saturday I ran in my 1st official 5K race. Not a" lets run 3.2 miles on the treadmill" race. Not a virtual race. An actual get up at 5:30 to get to there by 7:30 to run with 12,000 other people and get an official time race. It was scary to think about. I was nervous the whole way there. Wondering what if I come in last in my age division? Would people think I am too big to be running? Too heavy? Too slow?? Do I look silly running? Will people notice how my butt jiggles? And of course, could I maintain my new record time I achieved last week on the treadmill?
It was FABULOUS! Walking up I noticed a whole lot of people just like me. Some much heavier than I am, some my size. Many older and many much younger. By the time we reached the start, the music had me wired up to start. Being one of the last corrals to start meant we had a bit of time to relax and get the jitters out. The atmosphere was infectious and my normally stoic friend who ran with me started doing this funky Elaine type dance to the music which inspired everyone around her to do the same. Before we knew it we were to the front and the crowd ahead starting moving forward. First slowly then faster until we were off running ourselves.
Yes there were moments like all of my runs where all I could think was how much I HATE this running thing. And like all of my runs I settled into a nice pace, then a bit of boredom and a feeling that I was ready to be done set in making me pick up the pace a bit. Soon I could feel the end of race up ahead. Seeing the finish line I gave it one more push and crossed the line at full pace. It was exhilarating to be done.
I ran 9 minutes faster than my previous race, with a time 15 minutes faster than my pace at the beginning of January. I knew at my first mile my pace was good, but I had no idea I could keep it up for the entire distance. I was proud, proud, proud of myself. But I also learned some very important lessons along the way that morning.
I had better times than many people who appeared more fit than me. I had slower times than many who appeared less fit. I don't look weird running, or at least any more weird than most people. And everybody's butt jiggles. There was no reason for me to be embarrassed to be there, scared of my time (no one knows anyway because of the way the timing is done), or ashamed of my effort.
I know there are a lot of people out there who want to run that first 5K but let those fears hold them back. Let me say as countless others have said here before me, you can do this. You deserve to be there at that starting line with everyone else. You deserve that feeling of exhilaration and self pride you get when you finish. You do! You have nothing to be ashamed of or afraid of. For out of those 12,000 runners, there is someone there just like you. Maybe it is me. Maybe it is some like me. Whoever it is, rest assured that their butt jiggles when they run too.