Well, actually it was called the LOCO MOOSE 5K, and they had really great t-shirts, but for me, it was a morning of meeting up with running friends that I've met at my past two races, and meeting a few new friends. This is a part of the running culture I didn't know existed and I love it!
Right off the bat, in the parking lot, I saw Cat and Chuck, who I met at my first race and who remembered to bring me pictures they took of me that day. They cheered me in at my first race (because they finished so far ahead of me!), and they did the same today, and gave me water as I crossed the finish line, too. Such nice people! We all won raffle prizes at the end and that was great (I got a discount coupon for one of those road ID things that I've been wanting to get!).
Also milling around, I saw Donna and Lorna, who I met at my last race, and Isabelle, who I met volunteering at a race and who is a spark person! Lots of hugs all around. I had Donna in my sights at the start again, but again, she was soon out of view. Lorna was kind and came back to run the end with me like she did at my last 5K. I finished with power because of her presence.
All through the race, I was just behind this other woman. I tried to catch her - she was my inspiration to keep going - and we cheered each other on turns - but I never was able to beat her. After the race, we officially met, and I discovered that it was Rosaria's first race. She also has her heart set on a triathlon someday, so we might end up doing some training together. Who knows? But she's a new friend and I'm happy about that.
This time, in addition to my sweetie, my mother-in-law came to watch me, as did my daughter, Tonya, and my granddaughter, Hope - and my sister, Susan, came up from Massaachusetts again to take pictures and cheer me on. It was great to have their support. Hope, with all of her 5-year-old energy, ran a few run/walk intervals with me at the end and that was amazing. I hope that someday we can run a whole race together.
I know this blog entry won't mean much to anyone else. You don't know these people. But to have my family around me, meeting new friends, getting to see old friends again - this is joy at its finest. And I wanted to write it down so that I would remember it, even if this is boring for everyone else to read.
Every day there is bad news on the TV. So often things look bleak. Many people struggle and suffer. All of us have days when we feel lost and alone and insignificant. So it's so important to CELEBRATE whenever we get a chance.
Today, I celebrate family and friends, and the joy of my body moving over stones and leaves, and the feeling of cool puddles soaking my feet, and brisk wind restoring my energy. I celebrate a time (46:30) that is not my fastest, and which will keep me striving for better. I celebrate the fact that I can even get up on my feet and do this at all. I celebrate the emerging ATHLETE, the cautious but joyous competitor.
What a great day to run!