My heart raced as the alarm clock blared the obnoxious beep. “Ugh….” I moaned as I hit the snooze button, cursing myself for signing up for such a long race, terrified for what was coming. I chose to ignore the inevitable and wrapped my pillow around my head. It’s a good thing Mark got home late from his gig because none of this nonsense was stirring him. “GET UP!!” My sister bellowed from the kitchen. Why did I invite her to stay the night? Just to save on a stop on the way to the race? I might have to re-think that next year.
My heart only raced faster as I got ready. I thought the excessive beating could suffice for a cardio work-out. Then again, by not running, I would be out the entrance fee. The trip downtown went much faster than I had anticipated, my nerves escalating with every driven mile. We were fortunate to find a good parking spot and made our way to the starting line. There were a plethora of runners and walkers of all shapes and sizes. I felt a little relief when I saw a cute little old lady with a 10K bib attached to her shirt. I figured she had to be slow, until I saw her running apparel and “take no prisoners” game face. The fear was back. After five minutes of texting, I found my dear friend Amy. We were starting the race together, although she would distance herself relatively quickly, she is much faster than I.
At the starting line, Amy and I cracked jokes. One character trait I possess is making light of tense situations calms me down. The announcer began the countdown. Ten, nine, eight…Amy and I grabbed hands and squealed…Seven, six, five…Crap, my laces aren’t double knotted…Four, three, two…Bend down to double knot…One, GO!!! Crap! Too late now, we’re moving. I think it may not be too bad until I look down and see the shoe lace on my right foot flapping freely in the breeze. I look at Amy, point to my shoe and play a human version of Frogger to get to the side of the road.
Once the shoe was tied, I merged back into traffic. The nerves subsided as I made the turn on to Fulton Street. I was enjoying a brief moment of running euphoria when my toe hit a sizable crease in the road. I made a slow motion dissent to the ground, landing on my right hand and shoulder in order to save my ankle, knee, and iPod in my pocket. I was facing a sea of legs stampeding towards me. My only line of defense was to curl into a dead bug fetal position. A running angel grabbed my hand and pulled me up, asking if I was okay. I gave her a yes and thank you, and she was off. I assessed the road rash and declared that I now am a runner!
In all, for my first Fifth-Third River Bank Run, it was a very slow success. My time wasn’t the greatest, but I finished. Running has become my new passion. I believe I can only get better and with the added exercise, my waist-line will decrease.