I was nervous. I hadn’t even exercised in the past three weeks. I was sick for two of them and busy and/or recovering for one. But I had signed up (and paid!) for it weeks in advance, so I really had no choice. I was going to
run jog this 5K whether I was ready for it or not.
Thank God it did not rain today. The weather was a bit more brisk than I would have preferred, so I had to wear my hoodie and gloves, but it was bright and sunny, so I’ll take it.
3.1 miles. While it’s relatively easy compared to other races, it is still pretty tough for new runners like myself. I tried to go slow at first so that I could pick up momentum later on. But as soon as I saw the hordes of people in front of me, something kicked in: I did not want to come in last. There’s was something exhilarating in passing people. Sure, I knew I wasn’t going to move ahead of everyone – I think the winner finished in 16 minutes – but some sort of competitiveness in me that I wasn’t really aware of kicked in.
I didn’t even stop at the water stand. I wanted to make sure I jogged the entire thing without any breaks. I remember feeling the same way 6 years ago in the dead of heat. Don’t lose momentum, but don’t stop.
It felt much longer than it actually was. Mile 1, okay. That took long enough. When is Mile 2 coming? Mile 3 is even further away! When things got tough after the two-mile mark, I had to repeat in my head: “You are not old Rafia anymore, you can do this.” I’m not sure if it was that or the music, but I kept on going and eventually saw the finish line.
As I was making my way through, I initially thought the 55-minute ticker was my time and was upset that I was even slower than my first time. But then I later realized it was for the 10K race! I looked down and saw a… 33. What? I couldn’t believe it!
My final time ended up being 32 minutes and 18 seconds. It’s not great as 5Ks go, but it was a whole lot better than I was expecting. Better than my last/first 5k when I was still in my twenties. Even better than my 5k on the treadmill which is supposed to be easier. I still don’t understand that one.
There were a couple of sprints thanks to Linkin Park (I didn’t have music with me the first time and uh, it was in the middle of July), so the real test of how I did will be felt tomorrow.
My head was spinning a bit and I think I need to drink even more water than I have been drinking so far. But as I was telling Mr. Rafia on our way there: I don’t want this to be a one-off thing. I want to keep on doing this. I want to be a runner.
I do feel that today was only the beginning, God-willing.
Oh and the best part? THERE WERE TWO COWS!
Why didn’t I start years ago? ;)