Yesterday I had the chance to run a 5K race in Burlington, ON, in celebration of Valentine's Day.  When I signed up for the race over a month ago, I asked Jake if he would like to race with me, since there was the option of running as a single or couples.  He declined, so I signed up as a 'married single'.

This was my first race ever, and I had no idea what to expect.  Jake and I left around 7:45am so we could be there for registration at 8:30.  The morning was absolutely beautiful!

I was happy to see the sun, and was praying that it would get a little warmer when the race started.

When we got to the venue, I felt like such an amateur, and I saw all these people around me dressed in fancy running gear and sporting heart rate monitors and other gadgets.

I went to register, and was completely caught off guard with having to pin on a running number and a shoe chip (to track my time in the race).

We stashed everything in the car, and, since we had a bit of time left before the race, we headed off to a nearby McDonald's so that I could have my decaf coffee and try to calm my nerves a little bit.  I was in high spirits, eager to start and excited for what was to come!

We got back and I suited up, tied on my shoe chip, pinned on my running bib, and had a last drink of water. All of the runners were waiting in the front foyer of the health club, and all of a sudden people started moving outside to get in the queue and wait for the race to start.

Do you see me cueing up my music?
I'm pretty sure I smiled like this the whole run!
When the horn started, I had to wait a little bit for all the people running in front of me.  Also, since it was a Valentine's Day run, all the ones who entered as couples had to be attached together with a ribbon, which left enough room for them to run, but they had to work together to keep an even pace.

I was off, and as I ran, I looked for the people who were going just a little bit faster than me, so that I could push myself.  I really wanted to win in my age category, since the prize was dinner for two at a fancy Burlington restaurant. 

I had told Jake to wait inside, then come out around the 35-40 minute mark, since that was the time I estimated I would get to the finish line.

I can see the finish line!!
Well, I came through, pushing hard at the end, and ran through the finish line.  There was someone taking off our shoe chips, then a woman handed me a rose, and another lady put a heart-shaped medal around my neck!

Jake said he almost missed seeing me go through the finish line, but he heard the air horn and came outside, and then he saw me, and I could barely believe it when he said it was 28-ish minutes when I finished! True enough, I saw the final time sheets, and my chip time was 28:53!!! That is the fastest I've ever run a 5K, and I am so happy!

I didn't receive a prize, but as we sat eating pizza and listening to the awards being given out after, I realized that there are many many talented runners, including a woman in the 60-65 age category who ran it in 26 minutes!  That's what I want to be like! 

We couldn't have asked for a better day.  The sun was shining, everyone was pumped up and excited, and I'm hooked on races!


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