We all remember our first times. Mine was in May 2008.
It was the Warbird 5K, and I ran it in just over 42 minutes. I'll never forget the feeling of crossing the finish line knowing that I didn't walk one step - even if my pace began with a 13.
And I'll never forget how grateful I felt toward Mark, who stuck with me the entire way and never once complained that we were going too slow.
I've always felt like I owed him for that and, on Sunday, I got to pay it forward.
My friend Heather is one of those people who were born to be a mom. She's kind, caring, patient and loves babies. Good thing, too - she is mom to a 9-year-old daughter and 16-month-old twins. Her daily life makes me want to take a nap and yet she somehow finds the time to run.
As part of her Weight Watchers effort (she's lost 35 pounds!), she started Couch to 5K, running on the treadmill while the twins nap. We've texted back and forth about training, shoes, apparel but nothing got me more excited than when she asked about races. Not only was she working up to the distance - she was working up to the event!
Wait. Scratch that. Nothing got me more excited than when she asked me to race with her.
Among other things :)
The Wallaby Waddle 5K was organized to raise money for a youth basketball team that is going to Australia this summer, and it took place on my home turf - the park where I log most of my miles.
We got there in plenty of time to pick up our packets, go to the bathroom, meet up with L, got to the bathroom and meet up with the race VIPs.
I wiped Miles' tears (he was upset that he had to hang out in his crib while Dad brushed his teeth) and headed to the starting line.
This race was on the small side, less than 200 participants, so it was kind of a haphazard but easy start. There was a horn and you ran.
Heather has been running at 4.9 on the treadmill, with the occasional outdoor run, so my goal was to maintain (hopefully) a pace as close to 12 minutes as possible - in the beginning at least. I wanted her to feel comfortable yet strong.
We headed up the park and around the golf course but I only know this because I am so familiar with the park. Otherwise, I'd have to tell you about our conversation because the event was just to race but to have 30 minutes of uninterrupted girl talk. Before we knew it, we hit the first mile - 11:31.
After the first mile, we headed down the trail for an out and back. We passed an aid station but both of us decided that we didn't need water. Or want water. Even with the temperature in the 50s, it was a blustery April day with very little sun and lots of wind.
The wind was worse when we hit the turnaround. It smacked you in the face and with a small field divided among two distances, there was no option to draft. You just sucked it up and went.
And waved to your friends who were doing the 10K, giving you a much needed boost. (Side note: L PR'd the 10K by 3 minutes!)
Despite the headwind, we managed to hit mile 2 in 11:26 ... 5 seconds faster than mile 1. And mile 3? Well, we hit that in 10:39. My girl ...
... she negative split her first 5K! (We finished the last tenth at an 8:22 pace. I figured if she could still chat that she had enough in the tank to sprint it out!)
Overall time: 34:47, average pace 11:04. Pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.
After crossing the line, I grabbed her a water, banana and yogurt. Wallaby Organic yogurt - so perfect I could almost die. We munched and chatted but didn't spend much time hanging out. There was a grill out and faux-tato salad to be had.
What was your first race like?