They say running is a lifetime sport. I didn’t realize what exactly this meant until I was on mile three and passed a little boy standing on the boardwalk shouting “Yeah Grandma! Go!” to an old lady in front of me. I didn’t let it get me down though, she was a fast granny!
My sister had called me about two months back saying she registered me for a 5 mile race. She is smart; she knew if she asked I would have declined but if she didn’t ask, then I had no choice. My brother also registered. So on top of an extremely busy summer, I added “learn how to run again” to my list of things to do. The training was fun; I ran through the streets of Waltham, Massachusetts, my summer residence, where I constantly got lost and ended up in other towns. Actually, two days before the race I decided to go for one last run just around dinner time. I assumed if I ran and made right turns I would complete a circle. I knew I was wrong when I saw a sign that said “Welcome to Wellesley” which is three towns over from Waltham. Of course the now black, moonless sky and my lack of cell phone for light made the sign very difficult to read. For a minute, I was lost and hopeless. But then luckily a very nice lady picked me up and drove me home… but that’s another story.
So fast forward to race day in Belmar, New Jersey where the early dawn spilled sunlight all over the sand, boardwalk, and construction site of vendor and radio station tents. The ocean sparkled and disappeared off into the clear blue horizon. As we pulled into our parking spot I laced up my running shoes, drank some Powerade, and laughed at my brother who was hurting from the night before, courtesy of the Belmar night life. Why he didn’t just sleep there beats me.
Anyways, some of you are amazing runners but 5 miles was quite an accomplishment for me. On top of that, the race experience was far different from the training I had done. First off, pacing was extremely difficult because I (a) had never run the course before and (b) did not know which of the 3000 people was running at a good pace for me. All in all, I thought I was finished when there was a about a mile left. This killed me and my finish was disgusting. I mean, physically disgusting. In pictures of me crossing the finish line it looks like I am crying, angry, dying, and constipated. You won’t find those picture on this blog. I will say that even though I did not finish in the time that I aimed for, I did run my best 5 mile at 40:09.
The best part was afterwards. Somehow my brother had finished before me so we stood by the finish line to cheer my sister on. Then I went and mingled with the other runners and vendors. All of the runners were extremely friendly and I even got a marketing job offer from one of the vendors with whom I spoke. I declined it though as I am currently employed. Then we went to the bar with the rest of the runners and got free burgers and discounted beer.
The point of the story is that a challenge always brings a growing experience and a sense of accomplishment. I had showered, run a five mile race, got a free shirt, met a bunch of great people, got a job offer, ate a burger, and had my first drink all before 11 o’clock in the morning! I am especially glad that I shared the whole experience with my brother and sister. My siblings and I are dreamers and the 5 mile race was just one of our dreams. Now that we can cross that off the list, we need something bigger, something better, and something with more beer. Anheuser-Busch Colonial Half Marathon here we come!