Friday night I set my alarm for 6:00a. It’s a damn good thing the race didn’t start until 9, because
my alarm failed me I slept through my alarm. I woke up at 7:10a, jumped out of bed, threw on my clothes, grabbed my running shoes, the essentials, and literally ran out the door. I ran to my car barefoot. There was literally no time for me to lace up til I got to Tempe. I got there in plenty of time, about 7:35a. I found parking, walked to the Beach Park, and looked around.
Runners and walkers were still starting to arrive, so I found a nice place to sit in the sun and soak it all in. I knew my family would be there soon to give me hugs and cheer me on before I lined up at the start. We were told to start lining up on the bridge about 8:30a, and at about 8:20a, my family was nowhere to be found. I called them, and they advised me they were just on their way still. I put my head to my knees, and cried, trying to make sure nobody noticed. I know I can’t expect everybody to show up early to things, like I do, but I was feeling let down. This was such an important mile stone for me. I was doing it by myself. Here I was in a sea of thousands of people, none whom I knew, and I felt so alone.
Lucky for my family, they arrived right in the nick of time! I was so relieved that they were there to give me support before I set off on this scary journey – for lack of a better word. I got to kiss my little nugget, hug them all, then walk up to the Mill Avenue Bridge. It was kind of weird being surrounded by people who were with their friends and families in groups, since I was going this one alone, but I’m pretty social so I just made small talk with random people.
We stood up on the bridge for about 15 minutes, waving at the helicopter hovering above, and when everybody started to move I was pretty much like OH SHIT, here we go! It was a bottle neck for a good 10 minutes – thank god – and the pace was very, very slow. As soon as everybody started spreading out a bit, I started jogging, trying to pace myself.
I got to the first color zone, yellow, and we were at a stand still. The true grit runners around me were complaining about how slow this 5k was, and how they can’t believe they trained for this. All the while I was thanking dear baby Jesus for this forced break in running. Once we got past the yellow zone, the rest was a breeze. I didn’t try to strain myself or be somebody’s hero, I just ran as long as I could, then walked, skipped a little, ran some more, and walked a little more. Once we got to the other side of the lake, I glanced across and was happy to see at least 1,000 people still over there, behind me. Let’s not forget there were at least 4,000 people ahead of me though. When we got close to the end, I was so pumped that I did manage to run through the finish. It was the most amazing sense of accomplishment. The weather was amazing, I think a warm 75 degrees, it was sunny, and we were all covered in the brightest colors. Yesterday was absolutely the most amazing day of my life. For all of you who don’t think you can do a 5k, at least try one! You definitely won’t regret it.
Once again, thank you guys. All of my readers, followers, family and friends have supported me more than I ever imagined.
My schedule for the next three months looks like this:
February – Walk In The Wild – Phoenix Zoo
March – Children’s Cancer Network – Grand Canyon University
April – Pat’s Run (Pat Tillman) – Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium
Thanks to my friend Dani for doing these next 3 with me!!! I’ll be posting a bunch of pictures from The Color Run soon as well :)