I’m a running newbie. I just started running again around the holidays after a very looooooong break. But after DadJovi ran his marathon in January and even E. got in on the racing action with the Mickey’s Fun Run at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports, I was starting to get shamed into the sport.
Without too much pain and training I ran my first ever race in February, Disney’s Royal Family 5K. But I knew I’d need a slightly bigger goal to ensure that I’d keep running. For some reason, that mythical runner’s high continues to elude me. Am I the only one who doesn’t feel great after a run? I must be endorphin-intolerant.
So my running buddy from the 5K, who ran the Disney Half Marathon in January, talked me into signing up for the Winter Park Road Race 10K. Easy for her to say.
But I signed up and for a couple of weeks was doing great with my training. Well, you all know how last week was the week from hell, so that derailed me a bit. I ran a couple times last week before Saturday’s race. The longest run I got up to was 4 miles. But I figured screw it. Even if I had to walk a big portion of the race, I figured it’d be a fun, new running route with a good buddy that I don’t get to see enough.
We arrived bright and early and were ready to run!
I couldn’t believe it when we got to 4 miles. My legs felt surprisingly good.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy. There were a couple of unexpected hills. As soon as I approached the first one, I thought, “What the hell is this hill doing here? This is Florida, for goodness sake!” But we powered up the hill.
Also, a lot of the course was on brick-lined streets. They were gorgeous to look at but a little rough on the feet and ankles. But those pains were minor compared to the stunning views of Spanish-moss draped live oaks, the sun peeking up over the lakes and the impressive old homes.
But more than anything, it was just a lot of fun. It was so cool to see everyone out at the end of their driveways, encouraging us and shouting cheers. Some blasted music from boomboxes (Black Eyed Peas seemed to be everywhere) and some were even handing out doughnuts (I took a pass on those).
At one point, I even ran up behind my doppelganger.
Check it out — same outfit as me. And she was much older than me. And she was kicking my ass. I think that’s actually one of the greatest things about running — it knows no age limits. I got smoked by 8-year-olds and 68-year-olds alike. But I’m sure I also smoked some 20-somethings. It’s all about the work you put into it, and that’s pretty motivational.
As we passed the 5-mile mark, I was starting to feel a little tired. I wasn’t quite ready to walk but I felt myself slowing down. And then, instead of angels singing I heard something almost even better — Danny, Donnie, Joe, Jon and Jordan. That’s right, New Kids on the Block. Some girl ran the race with small speakers on her back and fate intervened and brought me right up to her just as I heard the opening whistles of “Hangin’ Tough.”
By the time NKOTB hit the “woah, woah, woah, woah, woahs,” I had the burst I needed to finish strong.
And when the finish line was finally in sight, I saw my pal Katy waving wildly, camera in hand:
After crossing the finish line, we caught up with Speedy Katy for a quick group shot:
Sweaty, happy girls.
After catching my breath, I even found my doppelganger again. And of course, I couldn’t resist getting my picture taken with her.
My times weren’t pretty but as Katy always tells me, at least they were faster than everyone who DIDN’T run on Saturday.