stoked . . . and soaked.

Can you tell I self-took this pic after attaching the number to my shirt? Because the angle is not at all awkward.

I WOULD run my very first 5k in the middle of the 7th plague.  That plague was the storm plague, right?  I mean, I guess it was likely more intense than what I experienced today . . . with fire and golf-ball sized hail and Moses.  However, I’m pretty sure the Egyptians weren’t out trying to race for time during that plague.  Plus, they were totally warned.

Aaaaaanyway – what is my point here?? – Right, 5k.  To say I was nervous about running my first real race since the years of Newington Fun Runs would be an understatement.  I respond to anxiety by over-preparing myself, and becoming a pseudo-expert on whatever is making me uneasy.  I tapered; I carbo-loaded; I hydrated; I proteined; I electrolyted; I visualized victory . . . I worked myself into a decent dither by about 5:30 pm.  Once I realized that the rain and lightning (which were certainly compounding my apprehension) were not going to subside, I took a deep breath and readied myself to run in, what would now be, a very wet 5k.

When I arrived to pick up my bib, I asked whether or not the event would go on as planned.  No lie, I was reminded that I had signed a waiver. Comforting.  Then there was the shuttle ride to the starting line where I got to stand around completely unsheltered from the storm for about 45 minutes.  (I will admit that I used the port-a-potty a few more times than my bladder necessitated just for refuge.  I liked it in there.  It had a roof.)  By race’s start, my shirt and shorts were completely soaked through (I had earlier made the conscious decision not to wear white), and my shoes contained enough water for a fish to live comfortably.

There was no air horn, no shot gun, no “on your mark” . . . when people started moving, so did I.  As the rain fell harder still, I tried to imagine myself as an elite warrior, navigating through street rapids in the name of some really righteous battle. (During this little fantasy, I also had nunchucks . . . yes, I know most warriors don’t even carry nunchucks, and they are hardly aerodynamic, but I likes me some nunchucks. And laser guns.)  Despite the elements (and a water-affected contact lens that stole the vision from my left eye for about 5 minutes), I kept running – past the lightning over the lake that would have been cool in almost any other circumstance, past my little lake house, past the people who were really happy that they had signed up to man the water stop, and finally, past the finish line.

All in all, I ran the race rather conservatively finishing 30 seconds off my goal time and, as a result, could probably have run for another mile or so past the line.  My biggest fear had been that I would run out of steam after the 2 mile mark.  Really though, I couldn’t be happier with the experience I had today (ack, yesterday by this point).  I met some excellent people (as well as catching up with a few that I hadn’t seen in awhile), and I was blown away by the supportive community of runners that took on this challenge with me.  Heck, some people might even say that I was stoked – Glorious Gallop ’11!!

P.S. Regarding how the Nike+ Sportband holds up in extreme water situations: surprisingly well!  Of course, I was so jazzed to sprint across the finish line that I forgot to turn it off.  Two minutes into my water chug/stretch, I realized my mistake (loudly and with swearing) . . . almost didn’t want to upload my tainted stats . . . but did anyway.

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