I woke up this morning to the sound of rain drops hitting my bedroom window. Not what I was hoping for on the morning of my first *real 5K* (I say real, because I have done a few, but I have never gone out and run one with the intention of getting the best time I could muster). Cory, being the wonderfully supportive husband that he is told me that even though he did not want to go, he would come with me. I knew that I needed to do this, rain or shine and I didn’t need to drag anyone else through the mud with me. I have a feeling that he was grateful as he rolled over in bed.
I rounded up my favorite running gear…I figured anything I could do to convince myself I was a runner would help me when I got to the track. Bonus, Under Armour really did keep me dry…for the first 15 or so minutes in the rain.
As I drove towards the starting point I realized that I had left my earbuds at home. I told myself, that’s ok…I don’t really have to run this. But I pulled into the Walgreens and paid too much for a pair of stand in earbuds, just in case I decided I was really going to do this.
As I got closer to the school the rain started to pick up, but it was ok, I could just get my T-shirt and go home. I didn’t really need to do this.
I walked up to the registration table and collected the packets for my family. My glasses were fogging up and covered in rain drops. That was annoying, but I could just go back to the car. I didn’t really need to do this.
I attached the chip to my shoe and the number on my shirt. I was ready, but I didn’t really need to do this. By the time I made it back to the track everyone was getting set to take off. I stood in the crowd behind the starting line. Ok, maybe now I had to do it…but I could always walk. I didn’t need to run.
The gun went off and the crowd started running. I picked up one foot and then the other and I started to run. I would say I was in the middle of the pack to start off and as I followed the faster runners I just told myself that I could not stop and walk until someone in front of me did, and then I could just walk. I didn’t need to do this. I jogged along and as I approached the volunteers in the yellow shirts the yelled out, “one mile down!” Wow, that wasn’t so bad. I looked down at my watch. 10 minutes 30 seconds…better then typical for me. Now I realized, I had to do this. Mile two wasn’t quite as hilly, and as I made it through the neighborhoods I watched for the yellow blobs through my rain soaked and fogged over glasses. Is that Melrose Ave. ahead? Oh good lord its almost over! I started down Melrose and I had to take a walk break and catch my breath. Another runner came up behind me and as she passed she says, “You can do it, keep going.” She was right, I could do it. I had to do it. And I ran. I passed her as we came through the parking lot to the finish line and through my breathlessness I gave her a “Thank you!” as I plowed on through to the finish line.
Previously, I have run 5K on a treadmill in 34 minutes. That was my best. My 5K outdoors was about 35 and a half. Today I finished in 33 minutes and 39 seconds (by my watch, not sure on the official race time). That may not sound like much, but to me it was pretty awesome. My best time, and I actually really enjoyed running in the rain.
I grabbed a water and walked up to the car. Cory was bringing the girls to participate in the kids 400 meter race that I had signed them up for. The girls were unsure about getting out of the car in the rain, but brave little Thea said she wanted to run. Leila was a hold out but ultimately, she decided to venture out into the rain with the rest of us. We waited for the kids race to begin. Leila and Thea stood at the blue line on the West High School track. Cory stayed next to them to cheer them on and I made my way across the field to add some encouragement after the first turn. A few boys were ahead of Leila and as the first kids approached me I started to clap and cheer them on. Up came Leila with a big beautiful smile on her face as she sped by me.
Thea was one of the littlest racers. She came around the turn and she gave me a huge grin. Her little legs were working hard and I could tell that she was already struggling. I climbed up on the track and ran along side of her. She said, “Mommy, my side hurts and they said if your side hurts you can walk.” We walked for a bit and I could see a really big puddle of water up ahead on the inner lanes of the track. ”Thea, do you want to run through the water?!” And we picked up our pace and splashed through the puddle and around the corner. The cheers started as we approached that blue line once again. We ran right up to the orange cone where Thea stopped on a dime and turned way towards her Daddy and away from the man trying to give her a congratulatory high five. That’s my girl!
I could not be more proud of both Leila and Thea. And a little proud of myself too.