Today was full of race firsts….
- First race since I injured my back in August.
- First race in Daytona Beach (my home town).
- First race with my friend Jenny.
- First race on the beach.
- First race that my family attended.
Jenny and I have been planning on this race for close to two months now. I signed up for the race for a couple of reasons. The race was holiday themed (hooray for dressing up), it was in my home town and I’d never done a race there, I could do the race with Jenny, and I was certain I’d been feeling better by then. I’ve been walking/running at least a mile everyday this month and I was fairly certain that I’d be able to survive the race. I wouldn’t be at the front of the pack, but I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be at the back either. I was definitely looking forward to the race.
At the beginning of the week my mom let me know that my grandpa told her that he was planning to go to the race. Um, what? For some reason I’d never actually thought about my family attending the race (even with it being in my home town). It wasn’t that I didn’t want them to come, I just felt bad about them coming to my face race back after my injury. In my mind I saw it taking me FOREVER and my family just standing at the finish line wondering where in the word I was. My mom told me it was totally up to me whether they went and to just let her know. Well then the next day my dad told me that he wanted to go. At this point it was a lost cause. I couldn’t very well tell my grandpa no and then come home from the race and tell them that my dad showed up. So I finally told my mom that they could come and we all went to the race this morning as one big happy family.
I met up with my friend Jenny and we were able to catch up before the race started. I sent my dad a text and found out that they were going to be on the course right before we went down the ramp to the beach. I was so excited about the fact that someone would be around to take pictures of me actually running a race. I was even more excited that they would see me BEFORE I turned into a hot sweaty mess out on the course.
Unfortunately for us, it was an unseasonably warm almost 80 degrees when we started the race at 9:30 this morning. It was one of the first times that I was hoping for a little cool weather for a race. By the time we made it out onto the sand it was full on sunny and hot. There were no trees or shade and when we got to the turn around we ended up running straight into the sun. Holy hell. By the mid-point of the race I was REALLY wishing that I’d rethought my outfit choice. But I was determined that I was going to run this holiday race in a holiday costume darn it! It was also a bit of a bummer that there was only one water stop on the 5k course. We could have really used another one. I felt even worse when I found out that on the 1/2 marathon course (which was almost completely on the beach) there were two sections where they went for 3 miles with no water stops. What is up with that??
I’d never run a race on the sand before and as much as I enjoyed the change of scenery, I was VERY happy when we finally hit the beach approach and got back onto the road. When we got to the spot where we saw my family in the beginning they weren’t there. We figured that they had gone to the finish line and I was pretty excited about that. We decided to give it our all and finish strong. Thankfully there was a downhill stretch right before the finish line that definitely helped give us the push we needed. We crossed the finish line with smiles on our faces and ready for a cold drink of water. I was QUITE excited when I looked at my Nike Sportband and realized that we finished in just about 38 minutes. Hot damn!
After the race we got our water and bananas and then met up with my family for some more pictures (thanks mom!). I said my goodbyes to Jenny and my family went out for a well deserved breakfast. I was feeling pretty good, mentally and physically, about the race and that had me pretty excited. I was really worried about how the race was going to go so I was really happy when it wasn’t a disaster. I was even MORE excited when I got home and realized that I finished the first mile of the race in 10 minutes and 10 seconds – my fastest mile EVER! How I did that I don’t have a clue, but I’m not questioning it. Hooray me!
I had a lot of fun today and I’m so happy that I survived my first race back. Now I’m looking forward to signing up for a race in January and to the 10k I’m registered for in February. I might even be doing a Doomsday Midnight run on December 21st with another friend. What better way to go out than on a 5k run with a bunch of people you don’t know? At least if we all survive we can have a couple drinks together and make some new friends!
One of the best parts today was during breakfast when my grandfather told me how proud of me he was and how I looked so good out there on the course today. He is one of those people that brags a lot, so it was quite a surprise. A really NICE surprise, but a surprise just the same. Tonight my mom told him how much what he said meant to me and he said “Well I am proud. I know that this is quite the accomplishment for her.” My mom even overhead him bragging to his girlfriend (yes my 84 year old grandpa has a girlfriend) on the phone about how great I did. I don’t really run races for what other people think, but it is quite nice when someone does brag on you a bit.