I ran a 5k this morning. The 4th Annual Theresa Lang 5K, in my hometown of Joliet, IL.
I got to say that today! My first ever. I chose this one because I was friends with the woman honored in this race– it only makes sense that her event be my first.
I felt her spirit with us when I saw a young girl in the parking lot, a volunteer, totally jazzed with energy. She was yelling and dancing and positively HOPPING with joy. She just exuded fun. That’s how Theresa was, and why she is still mourned deeply by myriad people. That jubilant spirit is why she is worthy of this event.
FIrst, it is so wonderful to wake up early, run, and then go on with my day. Like it’s just part of my routine!!
My biggest fear had been that I would tragically sleep through the race entirely. But I made it!! I started with everyone.
Second, my experience was made so much better because my close friend Jennifer signed up to support me– so I wouldn’t have to run my first race alone. She’s invited me to other 5k’s this year, coming up soon. I think it’s so cool that this is a part of our friendship– something we have in common and can do together! Plus, it’s healthy.
This was only her third 5k, so we’re both beginners. And though she can run faster than me, she never left me behind. She stayed within 5 feet and slowed down if I was really struggling. She’d ask me if I wanted to walk or run. She was very accepting of my ability, which was such a gift. My original goal had been to run the whole thing, but I didn’t. However, I’m still proud!! I finished. And I wasn’t last!
Just having someone there with me made the race so much more meaningful.
I heard there were 140 runners signed up– online, it says that I finished in 42:18, 96th place. I’ll take that!!! And though a 5K is supposed to be 3.1 miles, somehow my Nike Running app calculated us at 3.42 miles? I’m not complaining!
When it started I was pretty intimidated– it seemed like most of the runners passed me up right away. But I took the advice of Jen, who told me to just run steady, that we’d end up passing a good amount of them who would be walking and etc. And she was never annoyed when I had to slow down. But she would also encourage me to go faster.
When I had to walk or was losing motivation, I told myself I wasn’t allowed to look behind me. It didnt’ matter who was back there– it only mattered that I keep going!!
She also tried something out of her comfort zone– for the first time, she ran without music. She wanted to get the full experience of the other runners. I didn’t have music either.
And considering that I ran late last night and didnt’ get enough sleep, I think I performed extremely well. Lesson learned for the future: NO RUNNING the night before a race!!
I’ll continue running 5K’s, and I will continue to grow in ability and endurance.
Running is a skill and a passion for me.
Today is such a milestone!!
Probably the best was taking a few pictures after the race, with Jen and I, one of me alone with my arms in the air– holding that gloriously cold bottle of ice water. And one of me near the “Start” sign.
Theresa Lang’s 5K today marked the beginning of my official running life.
I’ve already got my eye on another next month!!