Let me clarify.
Today was the Rex Lee Run, a 5K/10K run that donates 100% of its proceeds to cancer research. It looks like this:
This isn't a current picture. I'm not in there.
Anyway, I participated this year. I need to tell you, I don't have a good history with organized racing. I remember running 5Ks before, but I can't tell you how long ago it was. Before college, for sure. Maybe even before high school. And I hated them. I couldn't run more than a few hundred yards without having to stop and rest, and they hurt and I hated them. Therefore, I didn't understand why anyone would pay money for the honor of killing themselves for no good reason.
Flash-forward to a few days ago when I registered. It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment decision, or as much of a spur-of-the-moment decision it could be while still getting in with the pre-registration price. But I have been running regularly for a few years now, 100% of the proceeds were going to cancer research, not just awareness (I swear there's a difference), and what with me sleeping through the nights and waking refreshed lately, running has become...almost fun. I mean it, I never knew how much that affected my stamina. But now I sleep well and I have the energy to fly down hills and almost not feel it when I go up. So I figured, hey, why not try the 5K thing again? After all, I run about that length three times a week anyway.
Why is any of this a bad thing? I'll get there. So I get up this morning, underdress for the cold weather in hopes that running will warm me up (it did), and go down to the race start. I pin my number to my back and then my front, trying to do this race thing right. Opening ceremonies happened, the day warmed up, and I stashed my sweatshirt and swag from booths somewhere safe. Then, when the time came, I started the first 5K I've ever paid my own money to run in.
Some things I thought about as I ran:
- I WILL NOT walk. I will run this whole thing if it kills me.
- It might very well kill me. Or make me throw up.
- How would the other runners react if I threw up?
- Oh, there's my professor. I should say hi.
- I'm passing people. HA! And another one gone, and another one....
- Hey! Stop passing me!
- Ha, knew you'd have to stop after a sprint like that. Passing you again!
- Aaaaand you're passing me. See you next time you have to walk.
- How does one drink water without stopping? (Apparently, you take one sip, spill half of it down your shirt, dump the rest on the road and throw the cup down where someone else will have to clean it up.)
- If my character Jeremy was here, he'd be acing this. (Jeremy responded that he's a sprinter. He doesn't do distances. Yes, I know he's fictional.)
- Downhill. YESSS! I AM FLYING!
- Uphill. Great.
- My nose won't stop running.
- You know what would be great on a running T-shirt? Morituri te salutant. Latin for "Those who are about to die salute you." It would be perfect for marathons, really set the right tone.
- Did I really pay money to do this? Where's mile 2?
- Miles are a lot longer than I thought they were.
- I AM MIGHTY.
- Uh, just kidding.
- I'm not going to walk this close to the finish line.
- I can see the finish line!
- This guy has been in my shadow this whole time, and now he's speeding up.
- SPRINT IT! SPRINT IT TO THE FINISH LINE! BEAT THIS GUY IN THE RED SHORTS!
- Dude, you won by a nose. Don't let it go to your head.
- Where are the orange slices and bagels?
Why is it always these? Is it biology or tradition?
After that, I got my results and a little more swag. I now have running socks and some athletic shirts not given to me by my mother. One of them I even earned.
How did I do? For my first 5K in forever, not bad. I succeeded in my goal of running the whole time, keeping a steady pace. I ran an 8:45 mile, which was more or less expected. I finished in 27 minutes, in the top 33% in my division, top 25% in my gender, and in the first 50% overall.
I'm too proud of this. The results were pleasing, but nothing special. I'm writing a blog post on it, possibly because, even now, my endorphins are singing, "We Are the Champions." Seriously, I do this three times a week. Why is today any different?
Because today is when things have gone wrong. Before now, I would never call myself a serious runner. I run, yes, but I wouldn't train for a race. Mom and Dad and my brother...they do that. They do it a lot. I see it happen, and I followed them into running for health, but I'm not the person who would train for a marathon.
But today, a few minutes after finishing the 5K, I felt ready to run again. The race was too short; I wanted more. How could I possibly want more of that? Then I remembered, there's a 10K in July. I could train and be ready for that, and it would be more fulfilling than this 5K.
I've tasted the gateway drug and now I may be hooked on organized racing. Where will it lead? Half-marathons? Marathons? I shudder. I don't know how I got hooked, it may have started by watching my family run these things, but in the end, I think it was my choice to sign up and run this one. It's too early to tell, but I may be in danger of addiction.
Please watch this PSA before you, too, do something foolish and find yourself hooked. As for me, I'll be on Google Maps, planning a longer running route.