36th Birthday 5k...aka Cherry Blossom 5k
Tomorrow I will be 36 years old. I decided last week that I would like to give myself the gift of running. My awesome boot camp buddies thought a 5k was an even better idea.
I thought maybe a lap around the track would be good because I am NOT a runner. I'm still getting there but I'm not to enjoyment stage yet. Or pretty stage, my run is lumbering and ugly. But it is a run. So today, we ran our 5k, around the end of the flight line, up and down hills, in the warm spring sun. Part of our run took us under the cherry blossoms, they are losing their blooms now and it was like running through a gentle, pink snow. We were pink-carpet running.
It was difficult, to say the least. I made it the first mile without walking, then I walked a bit, then ran up our first hill. We reached the fire station, which was our turn around point, and headed back. Again I walked for a bit but I ran back up the hills. Spent the next half mile walking and running then ran the last half mile.
It was bad. My shins were on fire, my hips were on fire, my breathing was ragged, my form was bad, and I was crying. But my friends were there with me, three of us running our first 5k, cheering me on, spurring me to the corner that was our finish line. A family was out walking and saw us coming, heard our cheers, heard my friends yell out that it was my birthday and my first 5k. The family paused to cheer us on and clapped with us as we all tapped the sign at the corner that signaled the finish.
Then I cried some more. It may not be a big deal to some, but it was an accomplishment that I didn't think I had in me, not even as I started. I did not think that I could do a 5k and when I was told that we would be doing it in 45 minutes, I laughed. I laughed a lot, actually. It isn't a marathon time and that's ok, I'm still proud. Proud of myself, proud of all of us.
Grateful that I have such an amazing group of friends, friends who will wake up early on a Thursday and come run a 5k just for the hell of it. No medals, no free t-shirts or bbq at the end. Just us and a cup of coffee with good conversation once we were done.
I am so happy to be starting off (well officially tomorrow) my 36th year of life this way, with these people in my life. I'll likely be shedding tears off and on all day, I still can't believe that I did it....and I can't wait to do it again.