Square Life Round World

I'm navigating through this round world while living a square life, and it fits exactly as it should.

Blog Rewind Wednesday–My Very First 5K

on March 13, 2013

Welcome to a new feature on my blog I like to call Blog Rewind Wednesday. I have a lot on my mind that I’d like to get out, and some of it happened before I ever thought about blogging. So, this is where I’ll blog about things from my past.

Today I wanted to share with you about my very first 5k, the 2010 Move It Memphis 5k. However, I’m so sorry I don’t have many photos to share with you. I was so nervous that day, I was only trying to get through it without embarrassing myself.

I always liked the idea of running. I just never liked the activity of running. I think I’ve always had a runner inside of me, but she was dormant for most of my life. I tell the story that runDisney is what got me into running, and it’s true that was the catalyst for my consistency with the sport. However, running was on my radar long before I ever heard of runDisney.

In 2008, I was involved in the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce membership drive, in which I had the opportunity to earn a trip to Cancun. I was really close to hitting my goal to earn the trip, but I needed another $1500 in sponsorships raised. I went to my company’s marketing department and got them to sponsor the inaugural Move It Memphis 5k/10k. Part of the deal was that I would run and work the booth before and after the race. Well, I never actually signed up to run, but I did work the booth. The day of the race was a very cold February morning in 2009, and I was miserable. I was so glad to not have to run in those temps. Yet, everyone had these goody bags and matching shirts. Have I mentioned I love swag? Then as the runners finished, they were given medals. I wanted a medal! Also, the runners were the only ones who were not shivering. Maybe running in the cold wasn’t so bad after all. Once the day was over, I really didn’t think much more about it. I got my trip to Cancun, so I was happy.

2010 rolled around, and much to my surprise, my company was sponsoring the race again. They were asking for people to run in it, and I couldn’t help but think I still had some unfinished business to do. Even though I was convinced I was going to embarrass myself in front of my coworkers, I signed up for the 5k. I even thought there was a real possibility I might finish last. See, I had already looked at the inaugural results. I knew how long it took the last finisher, and I knew about how long it was going to take me. I signed up anyway.

My very first race bib!

My very first race bib!

I think I “trained” for an entire week before the race, mainly just to convince myself I could actually finish it. I didn’t have the right shoes, or the right clothes. I didn’t know anything about hydration and nutrition. I’m not even sure I ate breakfast beforehand. The morning came, and it was a chilly but gorgeous day. I recall the running conditions to be pretty near perfect, which I would wish for any first time racer. I was so nervous I could barely breathe. I saw all the fit athletes, and I was certain everyone was wondering what I was doing there. The announcer told us to make our way to the start, and I did what all first timers should NOT do–I started near the front. Yeah, don’t do that unless you are in contention to place. So I tried to keep up for about a block or two, but I obviously couldn’t. Eventually the turtles like me caught up, and I was able to find a groove with people of similar paces. By mile 1, I was actually enjoying it. I absolutely LOVED that there was a police officer at every intersection in downtown Memphis stopping traffic for me. ME! By mile 2, I was walking with a lady who was having a hard time, and I was able to encourage her. I was actually encouraging someone during my very first race! Before long, the finish line was in sight, and there were still people behind me! I spotted some coworkers who were there to cheer me on. Other spectators told me great job! I finished, got my medal and made my way back to my company’s booth. One coworker told me what an inspiration I was. Complete strangers came up to me, patted me on the back, and told me, “Good race”! It felt great! I didn’t finish last, and no one laughed at me. The day was a success!

My very first race medal!

My very first race medal!

I learned a few things that day. First of all, no one really cares about anyone else, not in the negative sense anyway. Everyone has their own goals and reasons for being there and are focused on their own race. Second, the running community is highly inclusive and encouraging. There will always be someone there to lift you up when you need it. Likewise, there will be times when you will need to lift someone else up. Never pass up those opportunities. Finally, like I’ve already said, don’t start near the front unless you are trying to win. You will be forced to start way faster than you should and will use up too much energy in the beginning. Plus, you will likely tick someone else off who is trying to win, not to mention the fact that it just isn’t safe.

So, that’s the story of my very first race. I wish I could say it was the beginning of my love of running. It wasn’t. It would be another year and 8 months before my feet would hit the pavement for exercise again. You can read more about that in the “about” section of this blog.

Now I’d like to hear from you. What do you remember about your first race? Was it the beginning of your love of running? If you don’t run, do you have another memorable first you’d like to share?

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2 responses to “Blog Rewind Wednesday–My Very First 5K

  1. David says:

    Hi, Melanie! You’ve got some good pointers here for my first race this weekend! Thanks for directing me to this post from my Princess Posse thread. I’ll be back to let you know how the race goes for me next week. =)

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