This morning started off kind of rocky as my nerves completely took hold of me and would not let go.
Although my alarm was set for 6:15, I woke up for the first time at 4:30 and every 30 minutes or so thereafter.
Anxious was an understatement. I was afraid my alarm was not going to wake me up. I was nervous about my first race.
You would think my nerves would settle a little when I took Lucy outside this morning and saw there was no snow on the ground. Yesterday the meteorologists were predicting a 70 percent chance of snow this morning.
It was, on the other hand, quite wet from the rain. Nonetheless, with overcast skies it was in the 30s and bitter cold.
I’m so thankful Jason and I went to the store yesterday and picked up an Under Armour sweatshirt and beanie hat for me to wear today. It’s amazing how warm those two items kept me.
Before walking out the door to go to the race, I put on two more layers of clothes. Good thinking on Jason’s part. Considering how cold it was this morning, with all the layers and having my entire head covered including my ears, I was as comfortable as I was going to get.
We arrived at Meadowview Convention Center 10 minutes before the race started to a slew of people in the parking lot. Before Jason dropped me off, he turned on his MP3 player and made sure the sound was just right before I stepped out of the car, yes still a bag of nerves.
Last night after I went to bed, he set up his MP3 player with music he knew would keep me moving – a mixture of some Sevendust, Nonpoint, Avenged Sevenfold and Volbeat. He could not have put together a better playlist if he tried.
So, as I walked into the middle of the crowd that gathered my nerves slowly diminished as the cold began kissing my face making my knees shake. This was from the pure cold, no longer the nerves.
I cannot fully put into words what kind of feeling consumed me at that moment. I was standing in the mix of runners; I was minutes away from starting my first race. I was so proud of myself for taking on this challenge by myself. Although I was running it by myself, it was comforting to know that Jason was in the crowd cheering me on, waiting for me to cross the finish line.
The 5th annual Chase the Turkey was definitely a family affair. Everywhere I looked a couple was standing shoulder to shoulder, parents and their youngsters standing in a circle, or a group of friends laughing amongst their small crowd.
I smiled at that moment; I was making my own memory by myself, which was so incredibly empowering. So incredibly gratifying. So incredibly independent. That alone was a huge undertaking for me. Years ago I would never have thought I could do something like that on my own.
Before the race began the organizer spoke and said they had 700 people registered for the race. I now cannot remember from how many different states, but it was impressive. It was good to hear that Chase the Turkey has grown every year. He was saying that last year the course had a lot of ice. This year there were a good amount of puddles, which I could handle.
Before the race began a prayer was shared by one of the local pastors and the song “Amazing Grace” came streaming through the speakers. By this point the nerves had completely disappeared and the excitement washed over my entire body. I was ready; oh I was so ready to start running.
All at once I was in the middle of a human stampede. As the lines of people picked up their feet and began running, it was like a domino effect as everyone behind them did the same thing. Eventually the fast runners made their way to the front of the line and everyone went into their own stride from the parking lot of Meadowview Convention Center to Meadowview Parkway.
Although there were people all around me, I was in my own little world. I was running to the beat of the music. I followed the hundreds of people before me as we made our way down the parkway to the stop light at Wilcox Drive. The cold completely diminished as the excitement heightened again as I rounded the median of Meadowview Parkway in the direction we just came.
I felt as if I had a good speed, I was not becoming tired.
After leaving the parkway I took a few strides on the grass before my feet hit the pavement of the golf course. The pathway went under the parkway up a little hill and then around a bend before hitting a straightaway back towards Wilcox Drive.
As some of the other runners came to a stop to walk, I maneuvered around them and kept my stride as the music filled my ears. I made it past the 2 mile marker and kept running smiling on the inside. You got this. The path along this stretch had puddles that everyone ran around. Unfortunately this was not the case the entire way to the finish line.
I made it a good 2.5 miles before the hills got the best of my legs. I stopped and walked as fast as I could until I reached the point where I told myself to pick my legs up and keep running. So, I was off again . . . this is when some of the puddles reaching the length of the path came into view detouring everyone into the grass.
Of course my foot hit a puddle and one foot instantly became cold as the water soaked through my shoe and sock.
At this point it started to drizzle a little, but I was still warm with my new running gear!
I got this . . . until another hill kicked my butt and my pace came to a fast walk again. The spot in the near distance that I chose to start running was a lot shorter this time before my speed picked up again. It helped that one of my favorite songs blared into my ears. (I’m thinking now when I run with my puppy Lucy music is going to be added to the exercise again. I love how it motivates you.)
I’m happy to say after this I ran all the way to the finish line. Yes, even with a pretty steep incline before making my way to the Meadowview parking lot again.
Shortly after climbing that hill, Jason came into view. I was so excited to see him . . . I knew the finish line was close by.
This part of the race was such an incredible feeling. I started to hear music other than my own and people cheering as the finish line arch way came into view. It was an invigorating feeling when I rounded that last curve, I was about to finish my first 5K.
When I crossed the finish line . . . wow! Words cannot describe that feeling at all.
When I saw Jason walking closer I couldn’t contain my excitement. I could feel my face light up as a smile spread, Jason capturing the moment as he walked closer.
I did it. My first 5K is in the books.
I cannot wait to sign up for another 5K. That was such an incredible experience. Incredible experience. Now I know what I need to work on. Now I have a time to shoot for and pass.
According to the State of Franklin Track Club I was 17 out of 26 in my age category with a time of 34:42. Overall I came in 366th place out of 594 finishers.
I am proud of that time!
Wow, talk about a runners high!!
It was the perfect way to kick off Thanksgiving! A perfect way to jump start a day with the love of my life.
That high continued throughout the day, as Jason and I prepared our Thanksgiving feast together at home.
I truly have so much to be thankful for . . .