Until this past week, the Navy Federal 5k still seemed so far off in the distance, it still felt like I had weeks upon weeks to condition and train. Then, this morning my alarm rang loud at 6am, it was race day!
I was pumped & excited. It had been years since I had a “reason” to run that everyone could actually see.
I had thought long and hard the few days before, I wanted to set a goal, aside from running the whole thing, and with most of my runs averaging 10 minute miles, I decided my goal was to finish between 25 and 30 minutes.
Five minutes from Navy Federal my nerves kicked in. By the time we parked the car and made our way down I was a fumbling messy between the nerves, excitement and caffeine overload.
Standing, in just about everyones way, I rummaged through my things trying to determine the best way to change my t-shirt when I noticed none other then my companies CEO standing in front of me.
“Are you excited for today?!” I bursted out, clearly I was.
He half laughed and replied, “I don’t know if that is the word for it,” and then smiled at me.
Team TW was gathered near our t-shirt & number pick up area. Standing awkwardly near the group, yet still far enough away, I pulled on my t-shirt and pinned on my number, which on a side note was the same number as my house!
Melanie and I had been “training” for the past two months, getting ready for the 5k by running at least two miles once a week on our lunch break at work. Today was what it all came down to.
Before we knew it, everyone was heading to the starting line and the pre-run brief jazzercise had begun. Melanie and I headed towards the crowd and we all stood quitly as the National Anthem was played. Then, some one got on the loud speaker, asked if we were ready and before we knew it the sound of the horn had gone off.
I took off early, leaving Melanie and her boyfriend behind, heading from the back of the pack up towards the front. I was pumped, beyond excited as I darted in-between people, flying by.
I remember hitting the first water booth and thinking how wrong Jared was about them not having volunteers handing out water for 5ks.
I learned two seconds after taking the water what a bad idea it was. I thrusted the giant paper cup full of icy cold water to my face, where it both nailed the back of my throat and went straight up my nose. I think I made it a whole three steps before slamming the cup of water to the ground.
As I rounded the corner and headed down the hill, I passed the 1 mile sign and wanted to kick myself. Despite pacing myself on every other run I had done in the last two months, suddenly today excitement got the best of me and I pushed through the first mile way to hard.
I felt like I held strong through mile two, still getting a sweet high from the volunteers cheering along the way, or the drivers held up in traffic cheering us on as we past by. I was still excited and as I approached the next turn I through my arms up in the air, letting out a loud “wooo!” as I passed the next set of volunteers.
I had learned my lesson and at the next water stop, I ran by clear on the other side of the road.
The Navy Federal 5k took place in Vienna, VA, starting at their headquarters, heading out and through the neighboring towns. Most of the run was on the the neighborhood streets, around parked cars and past the officers blocking off roads. As we headed back on mile three, most of the run was on the paved neighborhood paths were our run at time became an obstacle of bikers and Saturday joggers.
After what felt like forever and sixteen hills later, I was taking the bend around the parking garage and knew that just on the other side was the finish line. Then I saw it. I saw the glorious three mile sign and knew there were only 0.2 miles to go. I picked up speed as I rounded the final corner heading back towards where it had all began.
The final stretch was lined with a handful or runners cheering each other on. Suddenly, the excitement was back, I was pumped, I had done it…. well almost.
With just a straight away left to run, I threw my arms up in the air and began cheering. My face was beaming. This was my moment.
I finished my first ever 5k in 27.01 minutes. I ranked 12th out of the 97 females in the 20-29 age group, 27th out of the 393 females and 132nd out of all 695 participants.
I had succeeded in meeting my goal, but above all, I had simply done it.
Jared tried to snap a picture of my epic finish, but his phone captured on of the guys who crossed right be hind me. ChronoTrack Live, however, captured the entire thing and you can check it out by clicking HERE. [do it!]
After a quick trip to the bathroom, a cool down walk and a banana, I scurried back to the finish line. If there was one thing I wasn’t going to miss, it was going to be Melanie crossing that finish line. I shoved all my things, banana included, into Jared’s arms as I saw her green shorts take that final turn. The look on her face screamed, “do I REALLY need to run this little bit more?!” as her body looked like it was ready to slow down…
“GO MELANIE! KEEP GOING YOU CAN DO IT! WOOO! YOU ARE ALMOST THERE! COME ON MELANIE!”
I might have looked crazy, but it worked. Melanie picked up her pace and headed towards the finish line as I traded behind cheering her on. I looked at the clock when she crossed an remember it saying 36 minutes. I was so proud of her, pushing through harder and faster then she had ever before.
Officially, Melanie ran her 5k in 35.47 minutes and if her video had sound, I am sure you would hear me in the background.
The Navy Federal 5k closed out with a raffle and awards ceremony. We hung around until the end in hopes of possibly making the podium or at least winning a gift card, neither of which we did.
Winning anything, even the silly water bottles, would have just been like extra icing on top of the cake. I had already succeeded in just doing the 5k. [Why Success was so Sweet]