yesterday, at roughly 3 pm, i got an invitation to run a 5k along the lakefront. my first race! in 4 hours.
"but i am so unprepared! i probably don't even have clean clothes!" i sure didn't, and i sure didn't have weather-appropriate clothes for the sweltering heat we've been suffering lately. i don't even own a pair of shorts. (or a cute running skirt. i gotta get one of those! so cute!) but i figured if i was going to do it, i might as well get tricked into it at the last minute, or i might never get around to it.
i had run about 2.75 miles the day before with my good friend Katie, in about 85-90 degree weather, mostly in the hot sun and wicked humidity. i figured i had run a 5k accidentally by myself one lovely Saturday, and this icky run only supported the idea that i could probably pull it off. The Hubs was SUPER supportive. he even came home, drove me to my friend Meagan's house to meet her on time to register for the race, crashed his computer and lost lots of important documents in the hurry to get out the door, stood around surrounded by bugs while we ran, awkwardly managed not to be the center of attention, and even remembered the camera when i had forgotten it! srsly guys, he is such a keeper. ♥
anyway! it was awesome! i ran really, really slowly. more slowly than usual even for me, more slowly than about half the participants over the age of 75, but i did it! and i felt pretty good about running the whole thing. even The Hill. even as i watched lots of people my age stop and walk along the way. even as side stitch kicked in at mile one, and i almost saw the whole thing slip away from me.
there was one woman along the route who was volunteering and cheering for us as we ran. she kept saying as people passed, "you're runners. that's what you are now." and as much as i am usually the one rolling my eyes at syrupy comments like that, this one really hit me. maybe it was the lack of oxygen getting to my brain, but that was so encouraging to hear. i was doing it! officially!
my friend Meagan, who spurred me on to race, even with so little notice, ran with me all the way. she, who has run marathons and triathlons and skis the top part of the mountain where the real lifts don't even go, stuck by my side the whole way. sharing stories about bad dates and awkward folks, keeping my mind occupied and my feet plodding along. and eventually the side stitch faded, The Hill was behind us, and it was all over! and i felt amazing! and i may have placed 600th out of 700-something, but now i have a time to beat! 34:02, to be exact.
"this is how it all starts," our friend Travis said to me as we got ready for the race. turns out he's right, i'm totally hooked! and i've already recruited a small army of first-timers and fellow runners to join me next time. i might even give them a whole day's notice first. :)