I DID IT!! I completed my first 5 kilometer (3.1 miles) competition this evening. It was really more of a fund raiser than an actual race, but it was fun! It was called the Ta Ta Crusade, and all of the entry fees went to a local woman who is battling breast cancer. There were about 300 people who registered; some ran, some walked, some had pets, and some pushed strollers. Sue, Carl, and Maxie came along to cheer me on. I was the 26th person to cross the finish line and I covered the 3.1 miles in 25 minutes and 12 seconds. That was almost 2 minutes faster than I thought I would do it, but my friend Brian was right: The people running in front of you and behind you dictate your pace unless you‘re a highly disciplined runner. I did get caught up with the excitement at the start, and wanted to push towards the front, and ended up finishing the first mile in less than 8 minutes. I settled into a slower pace after that and mostly held my own, getting passed by just a couple of runners while I passed a few myself. The last half mile had an uphill stretch of maybe a hundred yards, and I still had enough energy left in me that I actually picked up my pace going up that hill, passing a couple of people gasping for their lives in the process!
Sue and Carl, and a couple of friends were cheering me on as I crossed the finish line. The highlight of the day, though, came from Carl. When I was stretching before the race, Carl asked me what I was doing because he thought I looked goofy touching my toes. He said he was embarrassed, and took Maxie away from the area so that nobody would see him with me. After the race, he wanted to stand with me as I was congratulated by some friends. On the way back to the pickup he said he was really proud of me because he didn’t think many people my age could do what I had just done. He said everyone that finished ahead of me was a lot younger than I was. I told him that I was glad he had came and watched me, because I didn’t think any of the people who finished ahead of me had their son standing at the finish line cheering them on, and I told him that I felt proud of him too!