I ran my first 5K race this morning at Bachmann Park in Dallas. I'm happy to announce that I ran the entire way and came in somewhere around 42 minutes. I'll know my real race time when they post them online. I was excited to start the race, but I knew that I would be one of the slower participants so I positioned my self toward the middle back of the gathering crowd.
I was surprised though when we started that I seemed to be behind all of the walkers. I didn't realize that there would be so many 5K walkers. As soon as I began, I also had this overwhelming urge to go to the bathroom. I kept thinking, "Oh great! I'll have to stop half way through and hunt down a bathroom". I also had the unfortunate luck of swallowing a fly immediately after beginning the race. I kept running and hacked a few times trying to dislodge the twitching bug at the back of my throat. No luck. Finally I just swallowed it down - runners love protein, right? So after a 1/4 mile, I had a little space around me and was happily positioned with the slow runners, while trying to ignore my urge to pee.
I spent most of the race behind a sweet pair - a daughter, who looked to be about 10 years old, running with her dad. Behind me was a group of runners who I knew were together because of their matching ball caps. It was a Mom with a double stroller and a pregnant woman with a jogging stroller. These two women were pushing three babies had had every manner of item strapped to their bodies and strollers: water bottles, iPods, picnic gear, plastic bags, diaper stuff, Mardi Gras beads and more. They looked like the Joads heading west in their jalopy.
The volunteers were all very nice and one of them took a photo of me as I crossed the finish line. I was surprised that there wasn't a lot of "Hey, good job!" or cheering or really any kind of motivating behavior from the on lookers. Everyone was very chill, having their own conversations, looking up every once in a while to see if their friend or spouse was coming in to the finish. It wasn't until the very end, a man in his 60's came running in the opposite direction - he clapped emphatically and yelled YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! I smiled and said "thank you". Then he yelled, BRING HER HOME! And so I did - with a smile.
My family stayed home today for logistical reasons. It was actually really nice to arrive alone, prepare alone and run alone. Sometimes our biggest "you did it moments" happen in silence and only you and the asphalt know what you've accomplished.