Today I ran my first "long" race. To me, long is anything more than 5k. Though, 5k used to be long - so maybe in a year or two, this will change...
ANYway. The Fort2Base 10 nautical mile (11.5 miles) race was this morning - I ran it, and I conquered it! You'll hear more about the race itself when I have a chance to recap it, but for now, suffice to know that I ran the entire way and finished just under 2.5 hours, nailing BOTH of my race goals!
I didn't think I would make it. Actually, to be completely honest, I almost didn't run at all. You may have seen last night's post about my lack of preparedness and my extremely high stress levels... That was just the start. This morning, everything got a little worse. First, I forgot to grab my breakfast. Then, I got in the car with an *empty* water bottle, which wouldn't have been SO bad, if I had not proceeded to leave the empty bottle in the car when I got to the race. THEN, some jerk in the parking lot swerved his big truck into the space next to my car, almost hitting my car, and smacking me in the shoulder with his rear view mirror. Yeah, he gave ME the finger when I jumped out of the way - if your car is a full tire's width over the space line, you are not the one who should be upset. His swerve prompted me to toss my bag in the car and slam the door to get out of the way. Unfortunately, I had not yet pulled my keys out of the bag.
Yup, I locked my keys in the car.
So there I was, alone and hungry, locked out, not prepared, dreading the 94% humidity level in the forecast, in the dark at way too early in the morning. I wanted to call campus security (we were parked in a university lot) or the police and have my car opened, so I could just get back in the car and go home. Some people walking by seemed to be able to tell how hesitant I was to head to the race; they engaged me in conversation (typical "Oh is this your first time?") to get me moving with them in the right direction. Runner Thank-You number one.
I took the shuttle to the start line (this was not an out and back course) and arrived at the start, only a little less nervous than before. I plopped down on the curb and tried not to feel intimidated, but ended up overhearing the older couple next to me taking about being intimidated themselves! I couldn't help but agree, and we started chatting. That's how I met Lois and Lynne.
These people are amazing. Lois is the president of the 50 States Marathon Club, and Lynne is a member as well. They've done literally hundreds of marathons, and over the course of the day I got to hear incredible stories about many of them. But even beyond running, it is clear that these people have made every day of their lives count, in their own ways. I had the honor of running the entire race alongside Lois, and we chatted for the entire two and a half hours. She's wonderful! Such a wealth of experience and knowledge, on a huge variety of topics. I can't imagine ever having quite so much fun on a long run ever again! Runner Thank-You number two.
Lynne passed us early on, and we didn't see him again until we reached the festival, but he definitely had a lot to share too! I got to know his story a little better after the race - when he insisted on driving me home to pick up a spare key, then driving me back to pick up my car! He wouldn't let me pay the shockingly high cost for the police to send a tow truck, and unfortunately our second car is out of commission with a dead battery, so I hopped in the car with Lois and Lynne and we set off! Runner Thank-Yous numbers three through six, seriously.
At the end of the day, I had really gotten to know Lois and started getting to know Lynne, and I am certain that our meeting today will stay with me for a long while. They're both so inspirational! I firmly plan to stay in touch, and maybe you'll hear about us running together again! I really hope I get the chance...
The long and short of this is that the running community is stunningly generous and friendly. I've heard stories, runners sticking together and such, but these two went so far out of their way to help a fellow runner in need, it blows other stories I've heard out of the water. I'm thrilled and honored to be on my way to becoming a solid member of this community, I only hope I can uphold the high standards that are being set for me!