Weighty Matters

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My First 5K

on March 1, 2014

I love the community in which I live. We do a lot of events to raise money for various organizations throughout the year and they always seem to be well attended and also supported by the businesses in the area. It’s not like we’re a huge metropolis either. We have maybe 8500 full time residents and the “full time” part is questionable. I think there are a fair number of people who claim their home here is their full time residence but they actually spend a chunk of their time elsewhere. Whatever the case, we collectively turn out to support the area events.

Today was the Sombrero Beach Run to benefit KAIR. This organization runs a food bank for low income people and also a homeless shelter and kitchen to supply meals to homeless folks. Every dollar raised is a big help. When I saw friends sharing about the Beach Run on their Facebook page, the announcements captured my attention and I decided to sign up. Not only do I like to support KAIR, but I also liked the message I was sending to myself. I can do a 5K walk! Two years ago, even though I was post-surgery and losing weight, I still wasn’t in good enough shape to walk so far. I sure couldn’t have done it prior to my weight loss surgery. Now, today? A whole different story!

The overall event had several competitions: 10K Run; 5K Run; 15K Challenge for runners who wanted to do both races; and the 5K Walk. A friend who has done the race before assured me there would be plenty of walkers so I didn’t feel strange about signing up for the least challenging competition.

For me, this wouldn’t be a competition at all, really. I wasn’t walking to win. All I wanted to do was walk, complete the 5K in less than an hour, and not come in last. Yesterday, a friend texted me that she was going to sign up too, so I’d even have a walking partner.

Last night, I went to the beach to pick up my number, t-shirt, and goody bag. Can I just tell you that I felt absurdly pleased to be so official? I had to think and plan my food for race day. I opted to eat a protein-rich breakfast and got up early enough to make a frittata with sautéed spinach and shallots mixed in and a slice of very crisp bacon. (My dogs love when I make bacon because I always make a slice for them too.) After eating, I had plenty of time to let the meal settle before putting on my socks and walking sneakers. I pinned my number on my shirt, grabbed my water bottle and headed out.

The weather could not have been more perfect! Apologies to those of you enduring endless snow storms and frigid temps. Down here this morning it was in the low-mid 70s with bright sunshine and a cool breeze off the ocean.

The 10K race started at 8 a.m., more than an hour before the 5K, so there were lots of folks milling around while a D.J. played dance music. A couple of people I know and I danced on the beach to the Electric Slide, the Cuban Shuffle and the Cha Cha Slide. Why not? I considered it a warm up routine. What fun to be part of this crowd of people! I knew so many of the folks who were either working the food tents or getting ready to hit the course. The area businesses did a great job. There were platters of cut-up bananas, bagels with cream cheese and various pastries if anyone wanted carbohydrate energy. Other volunteers were grilling hot dogs and sausages and wrapping them in aluminum foil to distribute after the races.

Finally, 9:15 approached and we gathered at the starting line to depart en masse. We were off! My friend and I chatted the whole way and also applauded runners who passed us coming back as they completed the 10K run, and then the 5K. Volunteers and residents along the route cheered and applauded us as we passed and handed out cups of water if we didn’t have any to drink. The energy from everyone was glorious. I was having a blast!

On the way back, I noticed that we’d lagged a little. I think we got distracted by our own gabbing. I urged my friend on and suggested that we should finish strong, so we picked up our own pace. Thanks to that, as we neared the finish line, I saw that we were, indeed, going to finish ahead of the one hour mark. 57:45 to be exact. Best of all, we were far from the last walkers to cross the line! All goals met and I was all smiles. We asked some volunteers to snap this photo as a keepsake.

After finishing my first "official" 5K walk.

After finishing my first “official” 5K walk.

When I think back to my life pre-surgery and how walking any distance physically challenged me, I can’t help but feel big time happy and not a little proud of where I am today. I don’t need to be the first to cross the line in my age class to feel like a winner. Just getting out and doing it at all feels like a win. Having fun and enjoying the effort? Bonus!

I’m going to keep my eyes open for additional 5K walks for other fundraising events. I know that I can beat the time we set today. Like I said, we were gabbing and not paying attention to our pace. That’s just a personal challenge that will make it even more fun. In the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy the glow from entering and completing my first official 5K event!

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3 responses to “My First 5K

  1. Hope says:

    Way to go, Mary! 😀

  2. Skye says:

    Wonderful! Mary, you look like a million bucks! You look healthy and happy and trim. Yay for you!

  3. christineabush says:

    Oh Mary, I’m soooo proud of you. And inspired. This is soooo cool! xxoo

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