Running truly is my happy place. This past weekend reinforced that.
As excited as I was about Best Damn Race in Safety Harbor, I was even more excited about the races in Orlando. The Orlando races were my “home turf.” I had so many friends and people I knew running the races. I was excited about feeling a little more at home this go round. I was supposed to run the 1/2 marathon but due to my injury I just couldn’t. I finally decided mid-week to go ahead and switch to the 5k. It wasn’t ideal, but I wanted to participate and this was the best way to do so. I was going to make the best of it regardless.
I had scheduled to work a half day the day before BDR in Orlando ages ago. I considered just working the whole day, but decided to go volunteer at the expo instead. Boy was I glad I did. Unfortunately after I got home from work my day went downhill and it went downhill fast. It was just plain awful. But I changed clothes, put on some makeup, and headed out the door anyway. I wasn’t going to let someone else ruin a weekend that I was looking forward to for so long.
As soon as I arrived at Lake Eola park for the expo my mood immediately changed. I posted a picture on instagram stating that I was in my happy place and I totally meant it. The day of the expo in Safety Harbor the weather was AWFUL (and the weather for race day wasn’t so great either), but the whole weekend here in Orlando was beautiful. It was cool in the evenings and morning, but the sun was shining the whole time.
Within 5 minutes I was chatting with a friend and already feeling so much better. I worked packet pickup for close to 5 hours and had a blast! I got to spend time with 2 of my fellow race ambassadors and I loved seeing friends and running buddies as they came to pick up their race packets. By the time I got back to my car at the end of the night I was feeling so much better than when I had gotten there. See, I don’t even have to run to feel better. I just have to be around runners.
My race on Saturday wasn’t until 9 am but I wanted to get there in time to see my friends running the other races. I had time to see everyone off, talk to folks that weren’t running, and then meet up with fellow 5k runners. It was so nice being able to just relax and enjoy myself. I was able to take so many more pictures than I usually do.
My 5k race went a lot better than I expected. I spent the first 2 miles with a friend and mostly walked. Around the 2 mile mark I said f*ck it and decided to run. I pretty much ran to the finish and was feeling pretty good. It wasn’t a PR by any means, but I finished and didn’t feel like I was going to die. It was a success!
After the race I found some of my 5k running friends and grabbed a snack. Then I made my way back to the finish so I could watch my girl Karen and her sister finish the 1/2 marathon. I loved being able to watch them both finish (something I’m usually not able to do). We spent the next half hour wondering around and enjoying some time in the sun. I finally parted ways with them and joined some other friends for brunch. I treated myself to a mango mimosa and enjoyed every bite of my veggie filled omelet. It was the perfect ending to a near perfect day.
If you asked me right now WHY I run I wouldn’t be able to give you just one reason. I run so that I can eat (the more I run, the more I can indulge). I run because it makes me feel good. I run because it gives me a sense of accomplishment. You can’t even begin to understand the AMAZING feeling of beating your personal best time by over 5 minutes when you didn’t even think you’d beat it by 5 seconds. I’m still impressed with what this body of mine can do. I run for the races and the medals. I run for the friendships. I run for the community. I never really understood what people were talking about when they would talk about their “running family” until the past year. I learned that the people I’ve met because of running are just as important to me as the races and the goals and the accomplishments. It is wonderful knowing people would are just as crazy about all this as I am. I may not be the fastest or the best, but I’ve finished 6 half marathons and I am DAMN impressed with that. I still tear up at the end of a race when I start to think “you are about to finish a half marathon!” I don’t think I will ever get over that feeling.
So yeah, I think I got a little off track here blabbing about my love of running. But hey, thats what this blog thing is for right? Anyhow… Best Damn Race Orlando was amazing and I’m already looking forward to 2015. And of course, if you want to join us for 2015 (in either location) make sure to keep an eye on this blog for details as they come available.