At long last, the much anticipated day had arrived. It was the day of my very first race, the Paint The Towne Palmer College 5K put on my the Daytona Beachcombers Running Club. I actually got some sleep the night before although it wasn’t an easy rest, and I was up at the first alarm. Thankfully, I had assembled my clothes the night before so there wasn’t any unnecessary scurrying. Sticking to the rule about not trying anything new on race day, breakfast was the usual but it was hard to swallow. Not that the food wasn’t delicious but my nerves were starting to get the better of me. I got into my gear, breathed, stretched, prayed and tried to remain calm. My nephew and I walked over to my friend Christina’s house because she was taking us to the race along with her two young daughters. We got to the Jackie Robinson Ballpark with just enough time for me to collect my packet, pin my number, snap some photos and then head off to the race’s starting point. I should mention that the race’s emcee Leopold took our photo and even interviewed us for all to hear. It was very, very cool.
I was very, very nervous but had to get into a calmer frame of mind. A lot of the runners seemed to be very comfortable and most were chatting excitedly, so I can safely presume that this wasn’t their first rodeo. I tried to get to the middle of the pack, where newbies are usually supposed to find themselves. However when the race started, scores were swiftly passing me by. I tried to keep up because it felt like I was a hindrance but this led to me launching a bit faster than I would have liked. Eventually I got my head together and settle on a comfortable pace. At the first mile marker, I realised that I should be further along according to my Nike+ app and that’s when it dawned on me. The calibration was off along with all of my last few weeks’ stats and it was completely my fault. I had done a shoddy job of calibrating the app with my new iPhone and was now reaping the fruits of my carelessness.
Now that my game plan was out the window, I resorted to alternating between brief walks and running to cover the distance. There were police and race officials along the way to keep us safely on course. My main goals were to finish without dying, fainting, puking or being last. Despite my own shortcomings, which I chalk up to inexperience and consider them to be lessons learned, the weather was glorious for the race. I wore an extra vest under my shirt because it was quite cool at the start and the course itself was shaded by huge trees. That part of the city was still a bit sleepy at that hour so there was hardly any traffic on the road. However, the police were diligent keep the right-side of the road clear for us and control traffic at intersections. The walks helped me conserve enough energy to actually run across the finish line. I was so beyond my threshold that I wasn’t even sure where the finish line was. A kindly gentleman with a stopwatch told me to keep going over the bridge which was thankfully small and that was where I found the end, with my lovely cheering section waiting for me! Honestly, I didn’t stop until an official tore the stub off my number.
We hung around for a while after the race to socialise and take in the post-race action which included free snacks, a Kids Dash around the bases at the ballpark, as well as part of the awards ceremony. Afterwards, we headed to a wonderful place called the Cinnamon Tree Café for second breakfast. When you walk into a place and see a wall of Nutella by the counter, you know that it must be a taste of heaven. Indeed, their menu is one that I’ll happily spend a few weeks eating my way through. There were also fresh baked muffins, crepes made right in front of you (a la mode for a little extra), ice cream, yummy coffee drinks (made with Illy) and deliciousness in a variety of other forms. It was the perfect way to cap off an all-around wonderful morning. I was on a natural high long afterwards and due in no small part to an Iced Mocha. It’s a good thing too because I was able to complete my daily walking lunges quota of twenty-five for Holly Perkins’ Thirty Days of Lunges; without weights obviously. Hey, I’m not that big of a sucker for punishment.
It wasn’t until late tonight after posting photos to Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter that it occurred to me to check the official race results. Oh, and I’m glad that I did. As it turns out, my time was actually 41:47 which is a couple minutes less than I thought, and fifth in my age group. Okay, there were only six of us but still, I’m rather pleased with my first ever distance race. It’s good that I didn’t do excellently because I’ll have to work hard towards the next one. Oh yes, there’s another one coming up and I have five weeks to get ready. Now that I know that I can do it well, if only I train better and recalibrate the darned app before trying to shave about ten minutes off my time. No retreat, no surrender and no excuses! Before I end, mention must be made the person who started it all. Her name is Nakia and if it wasn’t for her, My Fitness Revolution wouldn’t have gotten past Day One, far the less for Day 373. Thank you, girl!