And I raaaaaaan, I ran so far a-wa-ay.
And I raaaaaaan, I ran the whole damn thiiiii-iii-ing.
Yup. I actually ran the entire race this morning! I guess I got a little inspired from writing my 2010 Gasparilla 5k recap last night. I know, I know. A little late on the pickup, but I guess back in 2010 blogging wasn’t big on my 2-do list. Gasparilla was my first official 5k race, and the first time I truly felt like a runner. It wasn’t the bling (although I wore it proudly for weeks after), and it wasn’t my finish time. It was the fact that I had run the entire thing without stopping to walk until I had crossed that finish line. Remember, no matter how slow you start off, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch, so be proud of your speed, whatever it is!
I met a few people from my Beginner’s 5k Group for a pre-race dinner at Chipotle. We talked about goals, experiences and had a great time chatting up all things 5k (and dating websites, but that’s for a different post)! We parted ways with the intentions of meeting up at Al Lopez Park; rain or shine!
The alarm went off around 6, but I physically didn’t get out of bed until 6:30. Luckily, we don’t live far from the park, so we made it there only a few minutes passed the time I had scheduled everyone to meet. Eight members of the 5k group committed to doing the race, and all 8 of us showed up ready to cross that finish line! Alyssa, Anna, Brian, Jennifer, Kaley, Nicole, Sarah, and I spent the 45 minutes before the race stretching, warming up and just enjoying the rain-free morning (the first in 4 days!). Some members of the group had never completed a 5k prior to this morning’s race and some of us had a few under our belt already. Even with those differences, we were all there for the same purpose- to say that we did it, to improve our health, and to inspire others into realizing that they can do it too!
We lined up at the (very) small finish line and waited for the gun airhorn. The race only had about 300-400 participants which made for a really nice experience. No major crowds, lots of space on the course, and awesome goodie bags (hello yummy!).
We all started off strong, but eventually I stopped focusing on the group and started concentrating on MY race. I lined up the morning’s goals in my mind and focused on my game plan:
Goal 1- finish (this is ALWAYS goal 1 for me in any race.)
Goal 2- pay attention to my form, my footing, and breathing (and give those Asics out for a real spin!)
Goal 3- cross the finish line in time to cheer on at least 1 of the group members. I feel like I’m always on the other end of the cheering (although there’s nothing wrong with being dead last, I wanted to experience being able to do the cheering for once!)
I had a tinge of calf tightness as I rolled into mile 1, but by mile 1.5, I was loose, feeling good and had a pretty good pace. Occasionally I’d catch up with Brian (who I can hear snoring as I type this) 😉 and then he’d push a little harder and gain some speed, pretty much leaving me in the dust until the next time. I lost sight of most of the girls along the way, but at around mile 2, a woman caught up to my side and began chatting it up about what a great job I was doing, how many races had I done, etc. etc. She literally stayed by my side until the last quarter mile and we talked about everything from Weight Watchers to dog parks- basically keeping my mind occupied through the last leg and really pushing me to finish strong! I don’t know why I always end up talking to people, but sometimes the “luck” comes in handy!
As I crossed the finish line, I had an enormous smile on my face. Not because of my finish time (which wasn’t a PR, but that wasn’t today’s goal anyway), but because I met every single one of my goals:
I finished, I really listened to my body, and I cheered 2 of my meetup members across their own finish lines.
What an amazing group of people! I’m so proud of each and every one of them. Creating this 5k group has created opportunities for new friendships, has given me a way to monitor and motivate me into new fitness adventures, and most important of all, it has been an inspiration to so many people who thought they would never be able to call themselves a 5k finisher!
So- NOW will you be joining us? Don’t put YOUR wellness, YOUR goals and YOUR life on hold any longer. Come and see what we’re all about! 🙂