Today’s post is a part of my ongoing Mile Markers feature. The purpose of this (almost) weekly feature is to recount the memorable and meaningful runs and races that serve as signposts on our running journey. If you have a story of your own to tell, you can find the writer’s guidelines and my contact information on the Mile Markers page.
The most interesting part of my first road race is not, in fact, the race itself. It is the speeding ticket I received as I was driving to it. I was a bundle of nerves that morning, and to calm me down and pump me up at the same time, Chris, my husband and personal DJ, decided to play “Reach Up for the Sunrise” by Duran Duran on our way to the Willard Community Center. And so we were singing — and zooming, apparently — along when I was caught in a speed trap going 58 in a 45. Did I tell the very nice officer where I was going and that I was quite nervous and that was why I was speeding? Nope. I took my ticket sitting down with nothing more than a, “Thank you, sir.”
With such a grand start to my race morning, I carefully and lawfully made my way to the race start. Appropriately, I am no longer allowed to drive myself to my races; Chris insists that he drive me. And since we moved out of the suburbs into the City Proper, I have actually walked to the start of my last two races. It’s a nice warm-up.
Anyway, I don’t remember what possessed me to choose a 10K for my first road race. I’ll chalk it up to my need to overachieve in every facet of my life. Likewise, I don’t remember much of the race either. It was a cool spring morning, and I wore a long-sleeved, cotton (!) t-shirt, yoga pants, a head band for my ears, sunglasses, and my watch. Plus my very first pair of bubblegum pink Asics. Linden wasn’t able to run with me, but again, I don’t remember why, so I was left to my own devices for my pacing and race strategy, which was to finish and not die. I ran into some friends from college, and we chatted with one another before the race start.
Once the gun went off, I don’t remember much about the race. Geez, this is a really great mile marker to share with you; I can’t remember half the story. We ran from the community center, through a neighborhood, and to the Frisco Highline trail, which is an old rail line that’s been converted to a recreational trail and stretches about 30 miles to a neighboring city. Once on the trail, it was an easy out-and-back route. I don’t think I walked much, if at all. Ah, yes, that was when I was 25 pounds lighter and I didn’t have to walk as much as I do now. But still, I took the race easy. I wanted to finish. That was all. I had no preconceived notion of a time that I wanted. Once the finish line was in sight, I kicked myself into a higher gear and finished well in 1:07:01, which is still my 10K PR. Maybe one day, I’ll break 1:07. Or 1:05. Or 1:00 even. That’s the dream anyway.
And that was it. I didn’t win any awards. I ate a banana and a bagel afterward, and then I went home. I’m sure I took a huge nap after I cleaned up, and I probably ate a boatload of pizza that night. I could go for some pizza right now.
Do you remember your first race? Did anything monumental — like a speeding ticket — happen?