A couple of weeks ago, I posted about signing up for my first 5k which was this past Saturday. The event was the Hike for Hope and 5k, sponsored by a local ALFA organization that supports 7 counties in our region. Because it was a regional event, it was held in a town that was about 45 minutes to 1 hour away from where I live and so I got to wake up extra early to get there on time. Yay.
After arriving and checking in, I received my road id and shoe tag. The road id made me feel a bit more reassured….at least I knew they could identify my body if I passed out or had a heart attack at some point in the race. I was also excited about the shoe tag because 1) it would give me my official time and 2) it – and the ties they gave us to attach it – matched my shoes. 🙂
A little before 9:00 am, we all made our way to the start line. I went ahead and placed myself near the back because I didn’t want to be trampled by, or be in the way of, the serious runners that were there. Spirits were high, everybody was making jokes, they gave us a countdown followed by an air horn blast and we were off. The adrenaline did help me get past the initial inclines. Yes, inclines. Plural. I knew it would be a long 3 miles. Especially when we got to the main part of the trail we were running on and I saw this:
Sorry it's blurry. Taking pictures with your iPhone while trying to jog or at least walk fast is difficult.
I was not happy about the slight incline. Especially when it NEVER. ENDED. But this was a 5k where we were running to a certain point and then turning around to come back to the finish, so I just kept telling myself “at least the incline is at the beginning, you’ll get to come downhill the whole way back.”
I made my way to the mid-point and hit my second wind; I was completely ready to take this downward sloped trail all the way back to the finish line. But then I noticed something. Something that defied what I ever thought possible. But, no, maybe it was just for a few tenths of a mile….keep going. And then it NEVER. ENDED. So I stopped to take a picture otherwise nobody would ever believe me.
WTF?! You have GOT to be kidding me!
I never thought I would see the physical embodiment of the old saying “uphill both ways” but it happened on April 14, 2012. I had always thought that it was just something your grandparents said to make it seem like their lives were that much worse than yours (i.e. ‘When I was a kid I had to walk to school in the snow and it was uphill both ways.’). I’m still baffled by this and think that some type of scientific study needs to be done on the area to see how it is possible.
Despite my amazement, I kept going. After all, I wanted to meet my goal of under 45 minutes. I finally got to the point where I could see the finish line through the trees, so I made sure I started jogging to really finish strong. I turn the corner and, of course, it’s UPHILL to the finish line. I then regretted starting my jogging so early because I kind of wanted to stop. But, at the finish line, there are people standing around and cheering, so the pressure not to stop kept me going. I crossed the finish line and struck a victory pose for the photographer – big cheesy smile and arms raised in the air. This is another regret because I’m sure it looks awful or is embarrassing…and that means it is sure to pop up in a local newspaper or online somewhere. Oh well.
My official finish time was 42:31. YAY! I met my goal! AND I got an award! (see the pictures below for explanation on that) It felt really good to do something that I would never have done before. It really taught me that, if I set my mind to something, it is possible. Next up for me? Finding another 5k to run and striving for a new goal. 🙂
Here are a few other pictures that I took from that day. Enjoy!
Road ID - for positive identification in case of medical emergency.
My shoe tag - I feel so official now!
I think the heavens opened and angels started singing when I ran through this thing.
I wasn't last! Yay!
I actually qualified for a certificate! Forget the fact that I'm pretty sure I was 1 of 2 people in my age division, so an award was kind of inevitable. I still got one! I'm also trying to forget that the 3 men in the 70+ category all had better times than me...
This week, I’m linking up with the wonderful community of bloggers at Yeah Write. Click the link below and check out some amazing writers. (Edited to say that you can’t actually click this link until Tuesday.)