So several months ago I succumbed to peer pressure and registered for the Peachtree Roadrace. Its the biggest 10k in the world with 55,000 participants and 3,500 volunteers. I've heard stories that its just a big party and that you don't even think about the running. Well whoever told me that was WRONG.
The morning of the race we took MARTA to Lenox and walked right up to the starting line at 8:55am. Since Patrick and I had never run the race before, we were stuck in the second to last starting group. I was really nervous because I didn't exactly "train" for this. Most people around me seemed to be calm and collected, so I made sure I looked the same. Do some calf stretches, make small talk with nearby runners, and make subtle comments about the last race we did. I'm sure I looked like a professional.
When the race started, I learned that I easily revert back to middle school in my music tastes. They were playing Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca" on every speaker at the starting line and I almost wet myself in excitement. I wanted to jump and run and skip and wave my arms in the air because the music pumped me up that much. I knew I could do the race if this was the music that played the whole time. I probably embarrassed Patrick.
I liked running with so many people, and we kept a great pace for the first few miles. At mile 2 I was really having fun and had convinced myself and Patrick that this needed to be a 4th of July tradition for our family. I liked the sights and sounds and smells, and hearing the Cupid Shuffle on every 3rd street corner kept my morale pretty high.
Then we got to mile 4. And that fun family tradition I had envisioned earlier no longer seemed fun. It had been a good idea 2 miles ago. Now that plan seemed to vaporize and disappear. My legs hurt. My feet hurt. My abs hurt. My back hurt. Running through fire hydrants, water guns and misters weren't cooling me off enough to make me believe that finishing the race might actually happen. But Patrick kept reminding me that "We're doing this for the t-shirt." So I kept on.
Mile 5 and 6 would have been fun if it wasn't hot and I didn't feel like death. I did get a second wind at mile 6.1 (would have been awesome had that kicked in a little bit sooner) that carried me 1/10 of a mile to the finish line. Finally finished. 90 minutes. Clothes soaked in fire hydrant water and sweat, and I could feel that my shoulders and neck had gotten a sweet sunburn. But nevertheless, it was over. I had finished the race.
And waiting for me after the finish line was a well-earned t-shirt right? Wrong.
Well, I did get a t-shirt, but they were OUT OF SMALLS when I got up to the table. I DID THE RACE FOR THE FREAKING T-SHIRT AND YOU'RE OUT OF MY SIZE??!! I almost cried. All that hard work for a medium shirt that won't shrink enough for me to actually wear. You're kidding me.
Oh well. At least I accomplished something I never thought possible. And at the end of the day, I was really glad I did it. I needed the exercise, the experience, the snacks and the music. My muscles hurt, but I knew it was good to push myself. So maybe I'm open to considering next years race after all.