It was my first race, ever, so the experience was all new, from the pick-up of the race kit to the run itself.
The race kits were available to be picked up (in person, of course. Why would they mail it? That would be too easy :P) two days before the race, so since I was already on school campus on Friday, I decided that a quick walk over at 1pm when they started handing them out would be a nice change of scene.
First of all, it was a gorgeous rainy day, and I was lacking in the umbrella department. So I walked over to City Hall in the rain, and saw that almost everyone else doing the Army Run had the same idea as me. So I got to the back of the line and waited. It was a loooong line, but it was moving relatively quickly. I got under the tent where the volunteers were set up to pick up my kit, and waited some more. I finally got my bib and pins, and was sent to pick up my shirt at another table. Thankfully, no line there! After I got my shirt, I was once again sent to another place to make sure my chip was activated. Off to the Drill Hall in the rain I went. And it was yet another experience. Every few steps, vendors tried to peddle their wares. I quickly pretended I was busy on my phone so I wouldn't have to say "no" every few seconds!
One hour later, I had everything I needed! I went home wet and cold, but feeling accomplished :P
Two days later.... RACE DAY! I woke up early to make sure I got some breakfast in well before the run (I had a bagel), and got ready to go. Mike and Lily were coming to cheer me on as well! The morning was chilly, and the shirts for the race, though long-sleeved, were thin. I was glad I decided to wear my pants instead of shorts! I met up with some friends, and we chatted for a bit, and finally headed into our corrals to await the start of the race.
The anticipation of everyone in the crowd was so neat to see! Everyone checking their watches, nervously talking, and waiting for the big cannon start. After some music and a countdown... BOOM! The race had begun! My corral was a little bit back from the start, so it took us a few minutes to get to the starting line. As soon as we got there, the two people I was with took off! We had agreed beforehand to run our own pace, and mine was definitely the slowest pace. :)
The run was a lot of fun. Being in such a big group (which I was nervous about at first, I don't like big crowds, but this one was okay!) and seeing everyone with the same goal as you - to complete the 5K - was inspiring. It was a lot of fun to run past people on the sidelines who were cheering everyone on. It was also fun passing the injured soldiers and hearing everyone cheer for them and thank them as we went. Being able to pass some people, but at the same time being passed by others, also provided motivation to just keep going. And many people on the sidelines had motivational signs they were holding up. It was a wonderful experience!
My goal was to finish in under 35 minutes, which was how long it took me the last time I did a 5K in training. My second goal was not to stop. And guess what? I managed both! I finished the run in 33 minutes, 13 seconds, and I ran the whole way (only stopping for seconds to grab some water part way through).
It's an experience I will definitely do again!
|My sister and I at breakfast after the race!|