I’ll admit, the morning had a rough start to it although I did return to bed at 4:30 for about 20 minutes.  (You can laugh all you want but those 20 minutes are worth something man.)  To say I was nervous would be an understatement, my heart was pounding in my chest before I even left the house.  As I mentioned previously, I changed my outfit 5 times.  I kept finding myself being afraid I’d be the only person there not wearing shorts (I swear I have social anxiety disorder when it comes to exercise) and then changing my mind because shorts tend to ride up when I run and that is fairly uncomfortable (ok actually, incredibly uncomfortable).

In the end, I settled for a new shirt (yes I bought one specially for my 5k) and my trusty gray capris.  And when my sister arrived she had on nearly the same thing… same brand of shirt, just in a different color, and gray capris… just in a different brand.  Great minds think alike, eh?

Parking ended up being easier than anticipated as we arrived about 70 minutes before the start of the event.  No, we weren’t the first people there.  As we strolled up towards the table which said pre-registered a man recognized us as runners (thank you man, you’re a star for that) and asked if we were pre-registered and directed us where to go.  We got our t-shirts (ugly) and swag bags along with our numbers and our microchips, put ourselves together and then stood staring at everyone.  We knew the start and finish were in two separate locations but we didn’t really know where the starting location was, exactly.  There was a map… but without knowing what direction we were facing, it didn’t do much good and when my sister went to ask for directions, the lady at the table sort of pointed at the map and looked at her like she was stupid as she explained where to go. (Lady, you are nothing like Mr. Man who recognized us as runners.)

Here is where things get strange for me:  We approached the start point and they had areas marked off with pace times so everyone knew where to go to start out.  The first area?  5 minutes.  HOLY CRAP!  We walked further and further looking for something reasonable and found out that, if you’re not running a 10 minute mile… you’re a walker.  I have to admit, I started feeling a bit defeated and if it weren’t for my sister I would likely have been pretty down in the dumps.  I’ve worked hard to get to where I am and it seemed a bit as though the running world refused to acknowledge my accomplishment.  My sister did cheer me up though and pretty soon it was starting time, I only knew this because everyone started to move (no firing of the gun, just the waving a a flag (waaaay down the road) that I couldn’t see.

And here is where it started getting a bit surreal.  As we descended a hill into the downtown area (yeah, hills, I’ll get to those) we could see all of the people in front of us as they ran across a bridge and around a park and I had a moment… One of those moments where you nearly begin to cry (ok fine, I teared up).  The moment where I realized “I never thought I’d be here.”  That moment will go down as one of the finer ones in my life.  Truly amazing.  I managed to keep from breaking into full out tears but the image in my head is likely going to last me a long time.

I was there.

I did that.

(More to come tomorrow!)