Day 3: The race.

Dear friends,


I did it!

I ran my first race.

I finished my first race.

It was so much more than I expected.

It was more nerve-wracking. (Where-to-go and what-to-do issues worry me. Fortunately, everybody was very helpful and answered every single one of my questions. And my irrational fear of getting off course because I’ve fallen behind and can’t see the runners ahead of me never came to pass, not to mention the course was well marked.)

It was more challenging. (Uphill start, roller-coaster middle, uphill finish tells you everything you need to know.)

It was more taxing. (I started too fast and never really caught my breath, but managed to push through it nevertheless. I think my loud wheezing scared a couple of people, especially when we realized I was breathing too hard to drink the cup of water handed to me by the race volunteers. But, hey, nobody questioned my effort.)

It was more rewarding. (I came in 31st out of 61 runners. Middle of the pack, baby! I had no idea being solidly average could feel so damn good.)

It was more interesting. (I ran with all kinds of folks. Among the people I beat was a 13-year-old boy in his pajamas and robe, and a woman I only know casually but who’s very fit and who I would have wagered could smoke me. Among the people who beat me was a women about my age who confessed at the starting line that she’s a heavy smoker and runs in the hopes it will persuade her to give up nicotine, and a colleague who’s 10 years my senior.)

It was more fun. (Afterwards, race organizers invited runners to the local brew pub, where we all enjoyed a complimentary beer. After that, my regular running buddy and I went to breakfast with two other racers. Corned beef hash, eggs over easy, and biscuits and gravy were a fabulous prize for having conquered my fear.)

It was more surprising. (I placed third in my age group and won a prize. How’s that for positive reinforcement? Yes, there were only five ladies in the 50-59 category, but I was less than three minutes behind the first two.)

It was more alluring. (There’s a local race on Thanksgiving morning and I’ve already persuaded Kate and her college roommate, Kris, to join me. I have a feeling there are many more races in my future.)

It was more more. (Who knew a little weekend competition among souls of all ages and abilities could bring out the athlete in me?)

With gratitude {for unrealized fear turned into inspiration},

Joan, who kindly asks that you hum the Chariots of Fire theme song when you think of her