6.2 Miles and All Smiles

Me Rach 10k

We came. We ran. We actually finished. was our mantra (check my Twitter timeline) after my friend Rachel and I finished Richmond’s Monument 10k on Saturday. The race was my first 10k and only the second run I’ve done in my adult life. The first run was a 5k turkey trot that I ran with one of my fourth graders in Savannah, so needless to say this was my first quasi-competitive run.

I was initially a bit anxious about the race given my inexperience and the fact that 40,000 others were descending upon downtown Richmond for the event. But after a strong 6.5-mile run earlier in the week, creating the perfect playlist and some solid advice from my friend and running guru, TL, any anxieties began to be replaced by growing excitement.

And following a Friday night chalk full of carbs and Arrested Development, I awoke on race day ready to conquer the world. A beautiful morning and spectators beginning to line the street greeted us as we walked to the start line to join the other runners in our wave, which was comprised largely of unseeded runners like myself.

Then, at 9:08 a.m. we were off. It took mere seconds for me to realize how truly the race lived up to all the hype, what with the throngs of chanting folks (many drunk) dotting the streets and median and the sea of motivational signs (“Run Now. Chase Later.” and “Go Random Stranger Go!” topping the list) suffusing your gaze every which way you turned. The incredible atmosphere, along with the simple fact that such a diverse crowd had come out to participate, made the race so much more inspiring and thoroughly enjoyable to run.

I ended up finishing in 52:27 – well under the one-hour goal I had set for myself. I have to admit, however, that just finishing the race was reward enough and the reason for me smiling like some kind of smitten school girl as I met up with Rach afterwards before proceeding to pound a Powerade and wolf down a granola bar.

This euphoric feeling lasted all day and continues to creep up when I smile back on what was one helluva Saturday. I was toying around with the idea before, but now I have no doubt a half-marathon is in my near future. As a few friends have commented, I’m hooked!

As I sat watching the live stream of yesterday’s Boston Marathon, I imagined the sense of euphoria that the marathoners would soon be enjoying after crossing the finish line. It was only hours later, however, that a completely different feeling filled the streets of Boston; one of shock, panic and utter dismay at the senseless bombings that occurred near the event’s finish line.

I was so thankful to find that my friends in the city were safe, and I know I join people all around the world in praying for the victims and their families, the authorities and the people of Boston. I hope justice is soon served and that one of the nation’s greatest sporting events in the Boston Marathon returns in full force in 2014.

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