The anticipation was killing me. I was pacing around the house just waiting for the race to start. It was the first one I had every run and the butterflies in my belly were enough to make me vomit. Dylan helped take my mind off it with his excitement and extreme confidence in me. In his eyes, I was going to win, in his eyes that is the only option when you're in a race. In my best motivational speaker voice, I told him that as long as I crossed the finish line, I was a winner! Having heard the "do the best that you can" speech one too many times and realizing it's true meaning, he walked away disappointed, knowing it meant I was not going to win.
I didn't know what to expect of the event or how I would perform. And once I got there, these fears were only heightened! There were over 3000 participants and just as many spectators. Being herded to the starting line with the immense crowd left me speechless. My friend recognized my uncharacteristic quietness and said: "In doesn't matter what place you come in, we all get the same t-shirt!" Her words made me realize the only person who cared how well I did, was me.
A hush came over the crowd as the national anthem played followed by a startling gun shot and we were off. I just put one foot in front of the other and ran. The crowd was so big that it never dispersed. I was constantly dodging people and bumping elbows. I was worried that I would start off too fast by trying to keep up with other runners so I stayed focused on my pace. My adrenaline kicked in and my fears began to fall away with every step I took. I fell into a rhythm and was motivated by the sound of all the pounding footsteps around me.
Seeing my family at the last quarter mile, was all I needed to finish strong. They announced my name as I crossed the finish line and I could have cried, I was so proud of myself. The clock read 44:1o. I had held under a 9 minute pace in my first 5 mile race! A wave of accomplishment and pride flooded me. And now I'm addicted. It's my time to beat. It was an amazing first race, but it won't be my last!!!