I did it! I ran my first race! Well, maybe jog-walked is a more accurate word, but I finished it!
On the eve of my first race, I attended an all day convention in the local area and came home at dinner time. Normally, the night before a race, my husband (who has ran multiple marathons) eats a spaghetti dinner. He always eats boxed pasta with sauce from a jar, so he knows that he won’t eat anything to upset his stomach. The carbs help with energy, too. However, when I arrived home, there was no pasta for dinner on the eve of my first race. I tried to play it safe with some of the children’s mac and cheese and some veggies. Then, I prepared for the next day by laying out my clothes complete with a secured bib and timer on the shoe. My phone was charged and playlist was ready, so I showered and tried to get to bed early.
On the day of my first race, my alarm clock buzzed at 5:00AM. I got dressed and ready with some time to spare, so I read a quick devotional and had some breakfast. Ezekiel toast, peanut butter and a banana sounded healthy and full of the good fuel that was needed. My friend cautioned me to not drink too much water, so I only drank one glass before I left.
At 6:00AM, my neighbors and I loaded the car and left for the race. It was then that I started to get a little nervous. My neighbors had run races before and I had only walked a 5K pre-babies (so many years ago). I had some obstacles completing the training (blog post coming soon), so my goal was to finish the race in under an hour – which is essentially fast walking.
After we parked and got out of the car, we discovered it was still brisk outside. So, I was very glad that I put my tank top on under a long sleeve shirt and wore pants. We walked to the race area; stopped at the port-a-potties (yuck) and made our way to the starting line. The half marathon started at 7:00AM and the 5K began at 7:20AM. Between the two start times is when my nerves were the strongest. When the race finally started, the herd was at a slow jog. It was easy to keep up with them, but then people started to break out in faster running. Some people walked, so I found myself weaving in and out of the big groups of people. Then, I thought it might be best to save my energy instead of weaving and just walked until the groups were spread out enough that there was space to easily move. I felt that it could also serve as a nice warm up as no one was really stretching before the race.
When there was enough space, I began jogging again. My playlist was cranking and I was enjoying the crisp, sunny day. Before I knew it, I saw the one mile mark. I told myself that I could walk to get water; drink it and then start running again, which was exactly what I did. I drank a glass of water and what appeared to be fizzy Gatorade. However, whatever it was upset my stomach. So, I stuck with water (and Performance when I got home).
After my little walk and drink break, I found it helpful to find a few other runners who appeared to be going my pace. I tried to stay with them, so I could set my pace. I did allow myself to walk uphill for the small hill and enjoyed jogging down the hills. I felt like a little kid again doing that! When I saw the second mile water station, I started walking. It was here where I started to feel tired and tight in my calves. However, one of the teen volunteers handing out water said something that gave me the strength to go on. She said, “believe in yourself”. Those three little words spoke to me and changed my focus on what was hurting to how far I have come and how proud I should be that I was jogging this thing!
After those words of encouragement, I found a new pace setting friend and was jogging again. At what I am assuming was mile 2 1/2, where it started to get tough again, I slowed to a fast walk. Then, a little child was holding a sign that said, “touch here for power” with a big, brightly colored star. Everyone was touching it and it brought a smile to my face. So, off to jogging I went again.
Towards the end of the race a group of four little children were holding out their hands, giving high fives and saying, “you are almost there”.
I’m not sure if it was the speaker from the Shaklee convention talking about the importance of mindset and mantras or the energy of the race, but I found a way to jog for most of my first race!
Thankfully, I saw my friends and the home stretch. They snapped some pictures (thank you, Jenny)! I continued jogging until I crossed the finish line breaking my goal time at 41:18.
I definitely didn’t come in first place (like my daughter wanted), but I did it! The finish line is a beautiful thing!
The medals are beautiful and will be a great reminder of this accomplishment.
And the treats at the end almost make the race worth it!
Have you ran a race? What are your best tips or most memorable stories? I’d love to hear it in the comments below.
Are you thinking about running a race? You can read more about my thoughts on it and how I prepared (coming soon).
Congratulations Stephanie! You did a great job and I loved reading your story. Thank you for sharing at the Sunday Fitness & Food Link-Up 🙂