Good Afternoon New Runners!
In this edition of Friday Flashback, I want to take you to my first race. It was a small Halloween 5K right in my neighborhood that started at 5pm on a Saturday. Sounds like an easy, fun race for a first timer, right? Except that I was a nervous wreck! From where to park, to getting my bib and checking in, to hoping I didn’t get lost on the course, everything that could possibly go wrong ran through my head…all….day….long.
My husband had to work and my parents, always very supportive, were away on a trip. Thank God for my sister in-law. She and my nephew came over and we all went over to the race, along with my little munchkin. The kids participated in a one mile “fun run” that took place right before the race.
Parking was a cinch, they had volunteers directing runners on where to park. Finding where to pick up the bibs was easy (it was well marked) and finding where to wait until the start was simple. The start was well marked as was the entire course. In short, almost all of my fears were completely unfounded.
The start of the race I got a little emotional (I couldn’t believe that less than 5 months before I couldn’t run a mile and now I was embarking on a race to run 3!) but once the race got started I settled down and got into the run. The course was an out and in course so right around the mile and a half mark, the top finishers had already made the turn and were heading back. I was blown away by their speed…it was so cool to see! Seeing the amazing top finisher women, who were beating lots of men, really inspired me!
Speaking of inspired, some of the most inspiring scenes did not happen with the top finishers. One of the most vivid memories was a very pregnant mom (7 months or so at least) dressed as Super Woman running with her three year old, dressed as Super Grover. They ran/walked the entire course, finishing last but anyone who saw the two of the running, well, they were absolutely top finishers in heart.
When nerves got the best of me, I pictured myself on my usual running route, just doing another run. That really helped calm me down and I was able to really get into a good groove. The other people around me didn’t intimidate me so much, but I did a slightly rookie move and was reluctant to pass people. This was foolish on my part, I should have passed (politely of course) especially when people were running two or three wide and going much slower than I would have liked. Never forget it is a race!!
I finished with a very respectable time and was super proud of my accomplishment. I wore my medal for the rest of the evening, even surprising my husband at work to show him.
So sign up for that race! You will be nervous and that is OK! Everyone is to some extent, but just remember to go at your own pace and to have FUN! Smile at your fellow runners and don’t be shy to say great job or looking strong!
Enjoy the Run!
Do you have any race memories? Any great suggestions?