Submitted by Laura Lawson @GrammaHobbit
My First Actual 5K Race!
In December 2012, I walked a virtual 5K for Sandy Hook. This was a very special effort for me and, as races go, a good toe-in-the-water entry into the world of races. I knew that I was in for a very different experience with my next race.
The Hot Chocolate 5K in Dallas on February 9, chosen as much for my love of chocolate as to honor my 17 years co-managing a chocolate store, began two days before the race with a 4-hour stint as a volunteer handing out race packets. With no prior experience to draw from, I figured that this would be a good way to check out the area and to begin the mental assimilation into this new territory!
We all know what runners look like. Lean, streamlined, healthy, efficient-looking race-ready bodies! Well, the reality is that there is no stereotypic racer. I passed out race packets to people of all ages, shapes and temperaments. Who would have imagined that the older woman working next to me walked marathons! Appearances did not predict ability!
Race morning was in the mid-40's with a good bit of a chilly breeze. There were over 12,000 registered participants and a lot of good-natured camaraderie as we found our ways to assigned corrals. While waiting my #Run3rd bib-attachment was not visible under my layers of warmth but my #Run3rd hat was. It was a good conversation starter to happily introduce others to the #Run3rd concept!
As the sky lightened and the warm-up music got louder, the energy level in the crowd was incredible! Despite plans and mental preparation, when our corral was released it was impossible for me to not get caught up in The Surge. I started out much faster than I should have and by half a mile my leg pain and asthma had me seriously doubting my ability to do this. Just a 5K, but it seemed endless. There had been many announcements that stragglers would be swept up if they were too slow and I really did not want that to be me. So on I went, trying to find a pace that would work.
Just before mile 2, we had our Hill to go up. I was not the only walker struggling in our area and we were able to commiserate and encourage each other. I was so happy to start the downside of The Hill and to reach the nearby watering station! The support crews were wonderful and cheered everyone. Just past Mile 2, I suddenly felt good. I was breathing, I was steady, and I finally knew that I could finish. And I did!
I think that the walk to get our Finisher's Mug (and Chocolate!) and then back to the parking lot was nearly equal to the race distance, but I hardly felt it.
I do know that without the support of #Run3rd or without the Dedications that I carried with me and pledged my effort for, I could not have done this. This was my first, but will not be my last! Every step worth it!
Thank you to everyone at #Run3rd, and to Sean, for helping me to change my life.
P.S. Icing on the cake of this day: Going from the race (shower first!) to Dallas Comic Con and chatting with Billy Boyd about #Run3rd, and then having him and Christopher Lloyd sign a birthday card for Sean!