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Frederick Running Festival 5k: My very first race!

FrederickI had THE BEST TIME running the Frederick Twilight 5k on Saturday night, my very first 5k! Oh my gosh, it was so awesome. I don’t know where to begin.

Okay, how about with my never-ending wardrobe issues?

Because my kid had a baseball game and I spent my afternoon editing, I didn’t start to get ready until it was almost time to go … which is when I realized by best sports bra was still wet in the washer. What to do? Wear a different bra that doesn’t have enough support? Or wear one that makes me look like I have four nipples? Or suck it up and wear the wet one?

Seeing as how support is good and four nipples is bad, I threw the wet bra in the dryer and cranked that baby to high. Which brought me to my next dilemma. Long pants or shorts? I wore a sweatshirt at my kid’s game earlier that day, but my mom said it was going to be humid and hot. What to do? Listen to Mom? Or wear pants because I hate to be cold … and I kind of hate my legs?

I wore pants. And a damp sports bra under a long-sleeve shirt because I kind of hate my arms, too.

Off to Frederick.

Bob and my oldest son was at a baseball tournament, so it was just my youngest and I but he soon proved to be the best spectator ever. I was nervous, so he told me a thousand times I looked okay. He helped me find a parking spot. He held my registration packet, time chip, number, safety pins and camera when I went in the bathroom to change into my race T-shirt because it was way too HUMID and HOT for a long-sleeve. (Why are mothers always right?) He then assured me a thousand times that, yes, my number was pinned on straight, and no, I didn’t look stupid because only a few people were wearing long pants.

Needless to say, my anxiety was sky high.

Off to the race track, where the 5k was to start. It was crowded, y’all.

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Very crowded . . .

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There were 637 runners in all, bringing me to my next worry. Where do I start? At first, I stood in the middle.

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But then I looked around at all the fit-looking people and imagined them passing my slow butt and saying things like, “Get in the back, you!” But no, I was going to stay put and not worry. Instead, I got out my trusty, beloved iPod that has seen me through four months of training, only to realize that . . . I forgot to charge it.

I. Was. Mad.

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Mad, annoyed, and irritated, beyond all madness, annoyed-ness and irritated-ness.

Fine, whatever. I was going to be a big girl and run without it. But . . . yes, I did wuss out and move to the back on the line where I thought I belonged. Pretty soon, people were checking their watches. I felt very amateur without a watch.

Four minutes to the start.

Three. Two.

People were stretching, jogging in place, and jumping up to see the start of the line so I decided to mimic the way they were stretching, jogging in place and jumping up and down.

One minute. And then we were off and I soon discovered something:

I’m a better runner than I give myself credit for.

My first half mile was spent passing people and trying to be polite about it. For a while, I settled behind this one gal because her iPod was cranked and I could hear it through her earphones, but I passed her as well. Then I soon saw the pace car coming toward us on the opposite side of the road with a runner behind it. At first, I thought it was someone else out for a casual run. Then I saw his number and realized it was the leader.

Dude. Are you serious?

Apparently, at the halfway mark, you turn around and come back in on the same road. Pretty soon, staggered runners were coming from the other direction and I imagined what could be going through their heads when they saw us. Pity? Relief? A little gloating, perhaps? Then, finally, I saw the halfway mark in the distance.

And . . . wait, could it be?

Yes! A Gatorade table with people passing out cups. I have ALWAYS wanted to do that! Seriously, how cool is this?

I ran around the halfway mark. I grabbed my cup, yelled out, “Thank You,” went to take a sip . . . and splashed it up my nose. Not cool. So I walked for a few strides, tried to drink some, and started to choke. Again, not cool. I gave up, threw it away and kept running. Good think I always tuck a few tissues in my waistband.

So. I ran.

And ran.

And passed a few people. And was passed by a few people. And saw slower runners on the other side of the road which  make me imagine them seeing me and thinking, “Wow, she’s fast,” which made me feel kind of good.

Meanwhile, my kid occupied his time doing things like this . . .

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. . . taking pictures of his new shoes and watching the lead runner coming in at SIXTEEN MINUTES!!! Wow, that’s amazing.

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Back to me. I ran. And ran. And then finally . . . the grand stand came into view.

Almost there!

People were standing on the sidelines, cheering us on. A father with a baby cheered on his wife, who was running in front of me, bringing tears to my eyes. Then we made it to the race track. More people–hundreds of them. More cheering. The band was playing. A LOT more cheering.

It was one of the most emotional moments in my life.

I started to smile. And cry. While breathing heavy. It’s very hard to run, smile, cry and breath heavy. The finish line was coming up, but I wasn’t looking at it. Instead, I scanned the track rail, trying to find my kid because that’s all I was worried about at the moment. When I saw him, I went nuts.

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Then I looked ahead to the finish line and saw the time. 29.20, are you kidding me? I might finish in under thirty minutes???

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I kicked it in high gear, not to pass the lady in pink shorts, (I rather think that’s obnoxious, if you ask me,) and came in at 29.21.40. It was BEYOND amazing. What was even more amazing was the huge smile on my son’s face when he joined me at the cool-down area and told me a thousand times how proud he was of me.

Out of the entire experience, THAT was the greatest thing.

All in all, out of 637 finishers, I came in 209th place. Out of the women, I was 81st and out of the 63 women in my 35 to 39 age group, I came in 19th. Not too shabby! And what did I learn from all of this?

1. Listen to my momma, at least on what to wear.
2. Stop underestimating myself, in all aspects of life.
3. To CHARGE MY DANG IPOD!

My next goal? To place in my age group in another 5k . . . and to bike the entire 184 miles of the C & O Canal. Training for that starts this week.

Oh! I almost forgot. The second best thing?

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Free beer!

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