Monday, November 13, 2006

My virgin 5K

Giralda Farms Run (5K), Short Hills, NJ - Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ah! What would my life be now, without running?

As a kid, I groaned, moaned and complained when my dad dragged me out of bed for our morning runs. As a teenager, I ran track, 400m, 800 m and 1500 m...and enjoyed it. But the idea of long-distance running made me yawn.

In my mid-twenties, I jogged occasionally, but I never thought running could be a passion. Until my first 5K.

I was 32, and my colleague, Ramu coaxed me to join him in a local 5K race. I had not run for ages and looked and felt totally out of shape. But I was contemplating running to lose weight and a race seemed like the best motivation. So, with a week to go, I slipped on my cross-trainers and hit the nearest high school track. I ran a timed 3 miles. It might have been the wind or the excitement of the race-I ran faster than I remember running in a long time.

On race day, DH drove me to the start. It was a beautiful November morning. The forecast had said it would rain. Ramu and I lined up with about 300 others, both 5K and 10K participants, our timing chips secured to our shoes. He was in his early-mid '40's, about a foot taller than me and in better shape than I was. Our goal was to finish...and my secret goal was to finish before him. At the sound of the gun, we all took off. We started slow, and soon were running up a steep hill. I realized I was running really slow but since it was my first race longer than 1500 m, I was not able to judge how much of my energy to preserve for the end and I badly wanted to finish.

As we reached the top of the hill, my running partner slowed down and I moved ahead. The rest of the run was flat and I picked up speed as I neared the 3 mile split. A heady feeling took over as I crossed the finish line.

A few minutes after I finished, I turned back to the finish line to see the first 10K runner coming in! But that did not take away from the thrill of completing my first 5K race. And the competitor in me rejoiced that I had finished more than two minutes ahead of my race partner. Bragging rights were mine, that day!

As we crammed ourselves with post-race bagels, apples and orange juice, the rain poured down, drenching us. I felt refreshed, energized, and planned my next race - a 10K.

Giralda Farms Run (5K), Short Hills, NJ - Sunday, November 12, 2006
Chip Time: 28:05
Gun Time: 28:29
Bib 1448

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