3 years ago I ran my first race– the Heartbeat Run 10k in Davis. I’d been running for about 2 years but just around my neighborhood for exercise and I didn’t really have any concept of how far or fast (or not fast as it were) I was running. The run was a benefit for the free clinics that UC Davis Medical Students run and a few of my then med student, now doctor, friends were on the committee. So I was roped in. I’m not sure what made me pick the 10k over the 5k…
I got to the race site with plenty of time to spare and was instantly overwhelmed. It’s a good thing I picked a small race (less than 200 runners) or I think I would have just driven away. I was so, so nervous. I lined up at the very back of the pack and started running. I couldn’t believe I was running in a race let alone a 10k and couldn’t stop smiling. I tried to take it easy during the first half and speed it up toward the end. And here’s where the rookie mistakes started… I thought that the mile markers were kilometer markers!! So, at 5 I thought to myself, “there is no effing way that I can run double what I just ran. not possible!” So I walked a little bit around 5.75. And then, I turned a corner and could see the finish! I was so embarrassed and so annoyed that I didn’t know that and had walked so close to the end. I finished the race at a 9:58 pace and was incredibly proud of myself. I didn’t come in last, my legs and feet were still attached to my body and most importantly, I had a great time.
Looking back, I crack myself up. I must have been a sight for sore eyes in all my cotton-tshirt, yoga pant wearing, nervous as hell glory. I am so grateful to my friend Denise for believing that I could run 10k and giving me the confidence to actually sign up for the race. I’d secretly wanted to run a race for a long time but never had the confidence to get to the start.
I was hooked. Totally and completely hooked. Before long I’d signed my entire family up for a 5 and 10k on Thanksgiving Day, four months later I ran my first half marathon and eight months after that my first full marathon. Since then I’ve run 17 more races, taken 15 minutes off of that first 10k time, gotten four dress sizes smaller, spent more money on shoes, gu, races fees and gear than I care to count and loved every single second of it.
I can’t believe it’s been 3 years. In some ways it feels like it was just yesterday that I was pinning on that bib and in others it feels like I’ve been running in races forever. I’ll never forget that terrified feeling or the way my face lit up when I crossed that finish line. I’ve learned so much about myself, made so many amazing friends and experienced so many new things since that day and I can’t imagine not being a runner now. So much has happened in 3 years: 3 new jobs, I bought a house, made new friends, started (and ended) relationships, went to Europe twice and running has been there with me every step of the way to process all the changes. I got a little emotional this morning thinking about it. I was running through sprinkling rain with a double rainbow in front of me and beautiful fall trees beside me and I thought to myself, “there is nothing better.” No watch, no ipod, no training partners… just me, the rain and some beat up Sauconys. Just like that first race 3 years ago. But a lot faster 🙂
As CIM gets closer and my workouts get tougher it’s fun to look back and see how far I’ve come. Was it really only 36 months ago I ran my first race? Was it really only 30 months ago I ran my first half? Has it really been two whole years since I’ve run a full? Time goes so fast and it’s a good reminder to savor every minute of training, good and bad, in this cycle.