Today was D-day for my 5K with my sister. The race started at 10:30, which meant we had plenty of morning to…get nervous! I was up until 1:00, making sure I had hot beats to jog around Ypsilanti to. Getting up at 8:30, I knew we were in trouble.
On Friday, I arrive in Michigan to 80 degree weather. By Saturday afternoon, it was 50 degrees, and rainy. And Sunday morning? Race morning? 42 degrees. Pouring rain. Dripping rain. Rain sideways. Rain upwards, downwards, blustering across the roads, flooding the race track.
As we drove to Ypsi, I realized that I was under dressed, nervous, cold, and maybe worried that I was not ready for this after all.
“Maybe they’ll cancel the race,” I said.
“I forgot my rain jacket, maybe we should turn around and go home and get it. We’ll…make it back,” I gasped.
“There’s no one here, we should go,” I chimed as we pulled up.
“I am pretty sure I can’t go.” I blurted out.
“What if I am last?” I mused.
“Then I’ll run behind you so I’m last,” Nikki said, as she basically pushed me out of the car. Before I was out of the car, my mom did manage to give me her long-sleeved shirt so I wasn’t so cold, and then Nikki and I ran into the building to find the check in. There were so many people around (although Nikki assured me this was one of the smallest races she’s run in) and we had to figure out where to get our bibs. We finally did, and managed to pin them on and find a place to stretch.
“This is the most I’ve ever stretched before a race,” Nikki said. I felt tight. I felt weak. I felt nervous. I felt cold. But alas, here we go.
We headed out to the start line with the crowd. bib on, headphones ready. Headphones on. Headphones not working. Definitely a moment of panic as I looked to Nikki, screaming in the pouring rain, “IT’S NOT WORKING. IT’S NOT WORKING.” I pushed the start button once, twice, three times…nothing. “Do you want mine?” Nikki said. And then, fourth’s a charm, and my tunes were on.
“ON YOUR MARK,” says the man, “GO.”
We were off. In my morning haste, I had also forgotten my watch. So, per usual, Nikki was boss. We were off. The rain was pouring down, and we were soaked by two minutes in. My jams were jamming, but I was running pretty slowly. But I was running. Nikki was running with me, making sure that I only walked when I really needed to, and kept alternatively singing out loud, yelling at me to run, and looking at her watch.
As we rounded mile 1, I couldn’t believe we had so much more to run. Mainly because I was freezing, wet, and already my ankles hurt. But we persevered. Or I should say, I did, as Nikki obviously could have finished no matter what. Anyways, so we got back to the beginning, as this was a lapped course, and we had to run around it twice. There were people stationed along the route cheering for us, and I looked for my parents, who were warm in their car, and beeped at us for encouragement.
As we went around the first bend again, and I tried to trick myself into running harder, running longer, running at all. Nikki definitely kept me moving, but it was definitely hard. We hit the mile 2 marker running, and I knew that we were getting somewhere. The rain just kept coming down, and I just kept moving. Finally, about the 2.5 mile point, Nikki said, “It’s freezing, we’re cold, we’re wet, let’s go.” I picked up my pace, pushing myself as much as I could.
As we got around the final bend, I skipped through a couple jams to get myself to the end. My parents were at the finish line, cheering us on. In our matching shirts, Nikki and I finished at 41:11 minutes. It wasn’t my goal (under 40 minutes) but it was finished. I had done it. In my age group, I came in 6th place. As a sister team, we came in 4th. And Nikki and I did it together. In matching shirts. And, matching wind-burned cheeks.
Will I do it again? Well, I told Ellen I’d run one with her this summer. I definitely want to explore swimming more, and I am really enjoying going to yoga regularly. I want to work on my endurance by really focusing on 1 mile runs to run for longer. I am glad I did one, and I am excited to find a sunny LA one to do this summer.
Thanks for all your support guys! It’s made running a 5K a piece of cake.