I really can’t believe that it’s been six years since I lined up at my very first start line.
Sure, I haven’t been running as long as some, but six years feels like quite some time. So much has changed for me in that amount of time, and I have grown so much as a runner, and even as a person.
So it’s always nice to revisit the event that started it all: the Florida Striders Memorial Day 5K.
Timing was right for this race, back when I selected it. It came along at the end of my Couch to 5K training, was smaller than some of our other 5Ks, and was for a good cause.
Over the years, it’s become a race I’ve loved. The size is usually just right, the course is pretty and shaded, even if there are some small hills, and everything is just nice and low-key. There is an associated kids’ fun run after the 5K, and a fun little after party in the park adjacent to the finish line.
What more do you need?
S and I had opted for packet pickup at the event, and easily got our bibs and t-shirts. We had gotten a great parking spot, too, so it was easy enough to stash our extra things and take a lap around the block as a little warm up.
There was a lovely breeze, but also an underlying humidity. We used the restroom and lingered near the start. The National Anthem was sung live, and a moment of silence was observed for those who paid the ultimate price in service to our country.
The minute we started running, the breeze disappeared and the oppressive humidity took hold. It was frustrating to have to slog through such heavy air, but ’tis the season. There won’t be relief until winter.
We just pounded it out. We chatted, and laughed and cheered the leaders when they passed us on their way to the finish line. It was fun looking at the different patriotic outfits and saying hi and thank you to the spectators, volunteers and LEO who were blocking the intersections.
As soon as we crossed the finish line, the breeze seemed to return. Hello? Where were you for the last 3.1 miles?
We took a breather, and then grabbed drinks and iced watermelon that had been provided for the runners. It was the perfect treat! (And yes, I actually did look that red and miserable when we were finished. It was brutal out there).
It was a great race, with great running buddies and great medals.
Year 6 of running is off to a great start! I am hoping to cross two more states off my list, and I am on track for 1000 miles in 2018, so things are moving along in the right direction.
Do you have a race to which you always return?
How many years have you been running?