Today I ran my first race, a 4-miler. Well, it was actually a Fun Run, but I guess you could call it either one. I call it a race because it makes me feel more legit.
I didn’t sleep too well last night because I was at first too excited to sleep, but then as I lay awake and thought of the race I began to be more worried than excited. What if I was the last person to finish? What if I couldn’t even finish at all? What if I hated every second of it?
Well, I can tell you that none of those things happened. I finished in 66th place, I did indeed finish the full four miles, and I loved it. So there.
I awoke at 5:16 this morning and got dressed, brushed my teeth and the like. Then I had a breakfast of a hard-boiled egg and a piece of bread with peanut butter (sort of a big deal, seeing as I never eat bread, but I needed the carbs. Not entirely unlike Michael Scott and his fettuccine alfredo--only his didn’t end well.) and then we
were on our way.
We hung out at the starting line for a while because the race didn’t start until 7:45. So we took a long time to stretch out and warm up, and then we watched my little sister run the kids’ Mad Dash (a loop around the parking lot, so cute!) and she rocked it.
Then came time to line up. My brother, Jake, and I found ourselves at about the middle of the pack, which was more or less where I stayed for the duration of the race (he went on to smash the race and finish in 14th place) and we began to run.
I took the first mile nice and slow to get warmed up; the wind was blowing at my back and I felt good. The sky was full of thick, grey clouds and I knew it could rain at any second.
It did–somewhere in my second mile it began to sprinkle, and it never did rain any harder than that. It was more of a mist than a rain, really, but it felt good on my face.
By now I was starting to tire. I was really dragging. My chest was aching and my legs burned, but I kept going–albeit rather slowly. Soon mile 3 was out of the way and I had only one more left.
The rain had since stopped and I was pretty hot and sweaty, but I got an ice cold refill on my water bottle at the turnaround and that helped. With just under a half mile to go, my brother came back around (he’d already finished) to run the last bit with me, and when we started closing in on the finish line I summoned every last bit of energy I had and sprinted it.
Finishing felt so good. I threw my hands in the air, took a deep breath, and gave a shout of victory. I think it went something like “It smells like cow manure here!” I donned my finisher’s medal (a strand of bright pink mardi gras beads) and grabbed a fresh bottle of water before heading to the pavilion to hang out and eat some of the fruit that had been provided for the participants.
After the race we went and stuffed our faces with eggs and toast and corned beef hash and chocolate milk–oh, glorious chocolate milk!–and headed home.
So how do I feel? Great! I feel like I could do it all over again right now. Well, I do have a bit of an ache in my right knee, but that happens all the time so I’m not too worried about it.
Ask me how I feel again tomorrow morning and my answer will probably be a lot different, though.
What about my performance? To be honest, I’m not thrilled. I mean, four miles in 56 minutes is really not very fast at all. But I’m not going to beat myself up over it, because this was my first race and the fact that I did it at all is enough for now.
Today’s goal was just to finish. But my next goal will be to improve. I have another 4-miler a week from today, and my goal will be to run that one in 55 or less. I don’t care if it kills me, I’m going to run my next race at least one minute faster than I ran this one. Mark my words.
That being said, this Fun Run really lived up to its name. I got out there, pushed myself, tried something new, and had a good time. And that’s what it’s about.