My first group run was scheduled for Saturday. I had so many unanswered questions and didn't know what to expect at all. I emailed Shelley a few times and she was kind enough to comfort me and send me lots of encouragement. I sent Helen questions and she was kind enough to send wonderfully detailed answers.
Friday night we went to a friend's house on the other side of Houston and didn't get back home until around midnight. And I had to be up at 6:10am on Saturday. Not a wise choice but we did have a great time. Laughing with friends helped ease my nerves.
You know that feeling trying to sleep before a big event? You dream about it (when you actually sleep) and wake up several times to make sure the alarm is still set. I may have had a nightmare or two about arriving late.
I felt just like a kid the day before the first day of school at a new school. And I don't know my way around the buildings and don't have my schedule and I don't know anyone. All of which is a nightmare that I do have from time to time.
I had all of my gear and clothing together waiting for me, electrolyte drink mixed and ready in the fridge along with my water bottle. 6:10 arrives early and I'm out the door at 6:30am.
I was surprised at how many people were out riding bikes and running. So this is what the chronically fit people do on the weekends! There were 9 people running over a large overpass for some hill training. Houston is flat. We have to go to parking garages or bridges if we want hills.
Arrive at the park and start to mingle. The organizer that said she was going to meet me there with my packet and run with me didn't show up. I found out later that she was sick but I was in a bit of a panic that morning. I did locate a lady who seemed to be in charge and told her it was my first day. She was a sweetheart of a lady around 70 who has run a few marathons and a dozen halves. She's run 4 half marathons this year! People like that are such an inspiration.
We do some toe walks and heel walks and leg swings and stuff I've never done before a run. Then we just start! I ran in the 5:1 (run 5 minutes/walk 1 minute) group giving us a grand total of 3 people. I was the only newbie in that group.
I was pretty excited that I was able to keep up even though I was pretty sure I was going to die towards the end. There were a couple of times at the end when the Garmin would go off for a run interval but we pretended not to hear it for a few seconds. :) I started to drift off at the very end but I would say I was still keeping up with them.
I was so happy to see the park again. We all gave each other high fives at the finish and grabbed some water and ice cold washcloths. The washcloths were the most brilliant thing they could have had there waiting for us. It felt heavenly!
We waited for a few of the people running 7 miles and a few of the walkers to come in and then we stretched for a while and had a seminar on heart rate training. One lady even ran seven miles while pushing a stroller!
I did meet a lady who is also a newbie and just as scared as I was. Her friend had talked her into signing up. She will be running in my group so I'll have someone to struggle along with me but didn't that day because she got there late. We exchanged emails and phone numbers so we can encourage each other through the week. I'm so happy to be able to have that support and hope that I'm able to help her along too.
It was a warm 84*. I ran 2.5 miles in 33 minutes for a pace of 13:06.
I felt incredible afterwards. I cranked up the radio (and the air conditioner!) on the way home and wore a grin the whole way. When I walked through the door Chuck had made a breakfast of eggs, bacon, a slice of toast and a glass of chocolate milk waiting for me. So sweet.
And to chronicle the experience I have a picture of me after the run. I had cooled off a bit by now. What you can't see in the picture is that I am wearing diamond stud earrings. I wanted to feel pretty. :)
The nervousness is over and I can enjoy it now. It's the same way with every 5K though: I'm so nervous the night before and right before the race begins and as soon it starts I'm fine.
And I'm taking my training seriously. Sunday was a rest day and all I did was take naps and be lazy all day. Hey, it was on the schedule to rest! ;-)