On the morning of July 4th, I woke up early... excited, and nervous. In only a few hours, I would be running my second 5k, and the first timed race--the Lincolnshire 4th of July 5k. It was a warm day, humid, but, luckily, not too hot. After waking up, getting dressed, and eating breakfast, I hopped on my bike and rode the half mile down the road to Spring Lake Park, the location of both the packet pickup booths and the starting line.
I rode home quickly, drank some water, then went back to the park to stretch and get ready for the run. There were nearly 600 people participating in the 5k and the crowd formed quickly as everyone gathered at the beginning of the course. I soaked it all in and took in the positive energy of the moment, every runner getting ready in his or her own way. There were a few pre-race announcements and after the playing of "The Star Spangled Banner" I put in my headphones and flipped to some of my favorite running music--Girl Talk's All Day. It was the perfect choice to get pumped up and energized to. I stepped from foot to foot, getting anxious for the starting buzzer.
And then, we were off! I had a strong start and made my way, fueled with the adrenaline and thrill of the race, of accomplishing something I'd been hoping for--to complete a 5k, to give my best effort and see the result at the end. I have to admit... it was tough! But tough in a gratifying way, of course, and definitely worth it. Around the halfway point, I reached both the water station and, a little bit down the road, I ran by our house (and the husband, too!)
It was so awesome to run around the neighborhood, which is truly a beautiful locale. And in July, the greens of the leaves and grass are so vibrant and bright, so it was especially lovely. I used my surroundings and the music to get through the harder parts of the run, and I was very glad that I had brought my music, too. Near the end, especially, things started to get quite difficult, but after reminding myself that I had already come so far, compared to what was left--which wasn't much!
Finally, finally, I made it to the park again and rounded the last corner of the course. Up ahead was the finish line, as well as the official time clock, and I was so relieved to have the end in sight that I had a burst of energy. When I could finally make out the time clock, I let out a laugh--I had timed myself running it previously anywhere from 38 to 42 minutes, but as I came up to the finish line, the clock turned over to 35 minutes and I crossed the finish line in a time of 35:10. 35:10! A definite personal best for me. Still quite slow, but if there's anything I've learned through this whole adventure, it is that it's not how fast you run, but the distance you're able to overcome.
I was quite proud of myself, both for accomplishing a goal I had set for myself and the fact that I'd done it in my best time. My legs were beyond tired and I felt a little wobbly (both from slight dehydration and the adrenaline rush) but otherwise, things couldn't have been better. I headed for home feeling triumphant, and more than ready for another race... more than ready to tackle farther distances.
(all photos courtesy of my husband, the photographer.)