November 2, 2015 by Ray Yanek
The day of my first 10k race.
The rain gods had forsaken me. The race-cancelling deluge I had sacrificed many chickens to obtain never came. The weather was beautiful. A high of 60 degrees. Perfect.
I had no choice then. I was running.
My nerves kicked in early. I was 98.7251% sure I would finish and run the whole thing, but doubts lingered. I didn’t feel prepared. I had only decided to try the race about 3 weeks before the date, and the occasional 2-3 mile run had been my norm before that. I hadn’t done an official 5k in over a year. I was carrying 20 more pounds than I would have liked, and the plantar fasciitis had been pin-pricking my heels again.
I was haunted by visions of me puking in various bushes, cussing in front of tiny children, and throwing belly-flopping tantrums onto random sections of the course.
But I went.
And I’m proud to say that I finished!
I’m even more proud to say that I reached my goal of finishing under an hour with a time of 59:17 minutes.
It was a good day…
In a heartbeat.
All joking aside, I’m so glad I followed through with it. It was, like I said, a gorgeous day, close to 60 and the sun was shining. The run was along the I & M Canal, through the woods that were deep in fall colors and past sections of the Illinois River. The people–the runners, the organizers, the spectators–were all wonderful. Friendly and encouraging. Somewhere around the third mile, I hit my mental stride and that sense of well-being set in, that sense of joy and peace that only running and shedding the stress can bring.
I ran with no worries. I enjoyed the moment and surroundings, and the fact that I had pushed myself to show up. I enjoyed running with a crowd and being a part of something healthy and positive.
I just enjoyed being there and milling around the 700+ people that made up that community.
Yeah. I will do it again.
The next race in my area though, is the 5k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. They have stuffing and beer at the finish line and I can’t think of a better way to start my Thanksgiving than to be a part of that community again.
But first–I need to carve off some of that extra 20 pounds I’m carrying so I can…you know, eat more stuffing and drink more beer at the end of the next one….