This morning I ran my very first 5K.
It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years, but I never felt ready. The boy was a runner, and he encouraged me all summer to step up my training and run on Labor Day. And then a month ago, well, faithful readers know what happened there.
I can say this now, post-race, but I hardly ran at all in August. Maybe a half-dozen times. Running just reminded me of him, and I didn’t want to be reminded of him. And the few times I did run, I never got around to running outside. To say I was ill-prepared would be an understatement. But my dear friend Angie so wanted me to try, and I didn’t want to disappoint her, so she, along with her husband and son, picked me up at 7:15 this morning and we drove to the race site.
I tried to not pay too much attention to the other runners milling around, because I’m sure I would have been intimidated and quit before I started. Angie reminded me that she was there for me, not for her, and I was not to apologize for moving slowly or taking walk breaks. We had decided, pre-race, to run 3 minutes, walk 1 minute, and with a couple of exceptions, we stuck to that pace.
She cheered me on the entire way, telling me I was doing great (even though I know I wasn’t) and runners who passed us would shout out cheers of encouragement as well. When we got to the 2 mile mark, I really wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it the last 1.1 miles.
Do you KNOW how long a mile is? It is looooooooong.
But Angie kept right by my side, and as we approached the finish line, the people who had finished AGES before us had lined the trail, screaming and cheering and shouting “finish strong!” to all of us slowpokes. And as I crossed the finish line (6:30 faster than the last time I ran the same distance), I almost cried.
A volunteer handed us bottles of water, and the president of the Omaha Running Club handed us each a single carnation. We walked around for a few minutes until my breathing returned to normal.
And now that I’ve done one, I’m sure I’ll be peer-pressured into doing another one, so I need to be a bit more serious about prepping for whenever that race happens to be. Maybe December.
As for Angie, well, she’s about the best friend a girl could ask for. I would have finished the 5K without her, but I wouldn’t have beaten my previous time, and I wouldn’t feel as accomplished.
I still can’t believe I ran a 5K this morning. I was slow, but not the slowest, but most important, I finished.