I have always been a person who loved the fine arts, music, and theatre, but I have never been one to be very confident in my athletic abilities. Perhaps my insecurity with sports and my thoughts on me being a “nonsporty” person is related to my scars from being picked last for the team in high school P.E., or maybe it relates to actually being nervous and a bit fearful of balls after I was hit with a softball when I played in third grade, if my memory serves me correctly. Regardless, today was a milestone for me. While some would never even note this as being significant, I really do: today I started and finished my first ever 5K. Yes, I was a walker. I felt like I masqueraded as a runner, though, as the 5K I walked seemed to have a larger number of runners than walkers, and the process of it seemed very similar to me. Here are some reflections from my FIRST EVER 5K.
*Please note that I am saying “today” in a loose connotation, because I started this blog before mid-night, but it will not be posted until technically the next day. Thus, “today” refers to Saturday October 13.
I woke up at 4:30 am. I am not a morning person. I couldn’t sleep, and was tossing and turning till at least 6:30 am. At least I got to bed early, in excited anticipation for the 5K. My sporty outfit was even ready, and the planner that I am had organized my tote bag full of things that I wondered if I would need: things like hand sanitizer (always a good idea; especially with port-a-potties and flu season), my sporty wrist band with my license and health insurance card, tic-tacs, a camera, hair tie, and other items.
I got up, wondering how much breakfast to eat, and I enjoyed my blueberry Greek yogurt that I am a huge fan of as late, plus a small muffin and a cappuccino. I was concerned about my energy level, especially with the lack of sleep, and so I actually made a cocoa, too. Probably not a good idea if I was a runner, but as a walker, I felt fine with that choice.
I got ready, pondering about being up that early on a Saturday morning. The sky looked ominously cloudy, and with 30-50% chance of rain/storms around the time of the 5K. I wondered how you walk/run a 5K in pouring rain, and if the 5K would be called off if there were thunderstorms? (Author’s Note: Amazingly, the rain held off until after the 5K was over and the medal ceremony was completed.)
I met up with my friend Melissa. She is awesome, and she is the friend who convinced me to walk the 5K, rather than the 1 mile option that was a new option this year. I want to back up and say that my church actually put on the 5K, and it was our 4th annual 5K. I had never been in any capacity (runner, walker, volunteer, or observer), because of logistics and other reasons, but mainly due to being out-of-town for friend weddings or having family in town every year on the date of the 5K. I have never been to a 5K or done a 5K, so it was totally new experience for me. I am pretty sure that I am the first family member to have ever done a 5K (run or walk) out of my Mom, Dad, sister, and brother. However, in my extended family, my cousin, Bob, used to run cross-country, and I believe that his sister, Amy, ran a mini-marathon recently.
Melissa and I picked up her friend, Stephen, from her church, who was running the 5K, and we were off to Crystal Lake Park, the pretty park where the 5K was held. I was glad that we got one of the last 2 spots in the parking lot by the pavilion where we were to go. While we had registered ahead, we still needed to check in and get our race numbers. I was excited to get my number, and the race t-shirt was one of my new favorite colors, a pretty electric blue. We got a gift bag with various items. I am a gift person, so that was fun for me. I especially liked the blue “Reezig Reebok” bracelet. Reebok was a race sponsor for this 5K for the first time. I think that is really great.
It was neat to see all the people teaming around in race clothes, and all the volunteers from my church. There was a good turn-out, in spite of the fact that I think word hasn’t fully gotten out in my community about the 5K yet. I had hoped that some of my co-workers would run or walk the 5K (a good number of people where I work are runners or walk 5K’s regularly), but with the 5K having church-ties and being a fundraiser for a local pregnancy resource center, I figured that may be an issue for some people, which I understand. I noticed it was nice to see a diversity of ages with the runners and walkers. I believe that the 1 mile fun run/walk even had a 5-year-old walk in it, and I enjoyed seeing older people run or walk, as well. Also, I was surprised and happy to see my friend, Amy, who was visiting from out-of-state.
We had an opening ceremony, and a prayer actually, then we sang the National Anthem. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I thought that was nice. I imagine that since my church hosted the 5K, it was different from other ones.
Finally the 5K was underway. We were off! The fall leaves were pretty, adding to a picturesque background for our race. My competitive nature came out, and I wanted a good walking time and to not be last. I was surprised that the walking pace seemed so brisk, especially right “out of the gate”, so to speak. At the half-way mark, I was feeling tired, and I was grateful for the small cup of water I was handed at that point, as well as encouragers spurring all of us on. A few of the top runners lapped us walkers. I ran a bit down a hill when the woman I who I had befriended did so; both of us were a tad competitive and wanted to make up time. The walkers in front of us were starting to slow down as we got to the last part of the 5K. Gloria took off and passed about 5 walkers, but I kept my steady pace. I fell along next to 2 girls, and I asked them if they had ever done a 5K. Actually, they both had done an amazing walk for Susan G. Komen, where you walk 20 miles one day, 20 miles the next day, and 20 more miles after that. WOW! The training for that sounded intense, and the one girl’s Grandma had died of cancer. I really admired those girls.
Finally, the end was in sight. I ran the last bit to the finish line when some of us were spurred on. I was so glad to finish, and I felt really proud of myself. My time was 50:58. Yay!
IIt was fun to get a snack after and enjoy the medal ceremony. There were prize drawings of a $25 Starbucks gift card and other prizes, plus the grand prize was a gift card for a pair of Reebok shoes. I didn’t win a prize, but was glad to cheer on those who won medals, like my friend’s son who won a medal for boys age 15-19 5K runner, my friend Heather who took first in the very competitive women’s age 30-39 5K runner, and Melissa’s friend who won a medal in men’s age 20-29 5K run. In conclusion, I would love to walk a 5K again. It was such a special mix of community, fitness, and being part of something bigger than yourself.