In September 2007 I ran my very first 5K: the Women’s Fitness 5K in Urbana, Illinois. I’d been training for the past 8 weeks with the Beginning Womens’ Running Group as part of the local running club. I was now able to run for 30 minute straight, a feat I’d only ever come close to once before on a treadmill and never outside.
I had no idea what to expect. Okay, that’s not entirely true. Our coach and her husband had given us the run-down on race etiquette, a reminder to lay out all our stuff the night before, how to pin on our bibs, and all the other things they though we should know before race day. But as for the atmosphere or my own performance? No clue.
I crossed the finish line in just over 33 minutes. I had no idea if that was good or bad. I just knew I wanted, no, NEEDED to do it again. I stood at the post-race awards ceremony chatting with another member of the Beginning Women’s Running Group.
“Look at all these other runners!”
“Some of them run marathons! Would you ever run a marathon?”
“I don’t think so. A 10K or maybe even a half marathon. But a whole marathon?”
How little I knew back then. I signed up for another 5K race less than two months later. And so it began. Now, here I am, 60 races later (including those 3 marathons I didn’t think I’d do) and I’ve cut almost 10 minutes off my first 5K time.
The keychain pictured above is the running skirt medal they put around my neck on a ribbon when I crossed the finish line of that first 5K. I use it as my every day keychain. It reminds me of how far I’ve come. How lucky I am that I found running and racing even if I’m not currently signed up for any races and only running 10 miles a week or so.
Maggie asked us to choose memorabilia from our favorite race for her new photo challenge series. Was the Women’s Fitness 5K my favorite race? Of those 60 races I’ve run I’ve had some I loved more and some I loved less. Choosing a favorite is almost impossible. But my very first one holds a special place in my heart so that’s my choice.