Let's run to the beginning!
I never ran cross country, and truth be told in high school hated competition based running sports. I was a geek. Now mind you I always wanted to be in with the cool kids playing the same reindeer games, but growing up in Louisiana I had some coaches that pretty much ruined my love of anything team based. However I am very competitive and even though I got picked last quite a bit I never gave up. I wanted to be a part of something, part of a team and especially part of a winning team. I guess where I'm going with this is that running seemed lonely to me. I mean theres no team celebration. Where is the joyous fun in that? Of course looking back now I realize that the running team is a team, there to support each other from beginning to end of the course and the relay race is a team effort. The fifteen year old me was a little too narrow minded to see the bigger picture.
Now flash forward quite a few years later; I suddenly found the joy of running. I broke down and purchased a treadmill, mainly to be able to workout in the mornings and evenings. Since I was a single dad I couldn't leave my son Xander at the house by himself at such a young age, so I caught up on all my TV shows on the treadmill. I could zone out and run/binge watch a season at the same time! So now I've got a routine, wake up treadmill, put Xander to sleep, treadmill. Seemed simple enough.
Flash forward a few years later. In a strange way I have to thank social media for making me want to sign up for a race. So many awesome pictures of the coolest medals or as they are know as in the running world, "bling". I'm not going to lie, I wanted the "bling". I'm sure that's the same for many. But there are so many races out there...where to start? Of course the first thing I looked at is the Disney races. Disney has the best bling! Their medals rock! I almost pulled the trigger on entering races, but could never quite follow through. Self doubt and the thought I would be surrounded by a ton of professional runners spooked me. Especially in the Bay Area where it seems everyone is so healthy and in shape.
Then a little bit of magic entered my life, I met Nicole. When I first met Nicole I was thrilled that she had run races and has the medals to prove it. The thought of having a partner to push through the tough times but also inspire me to do better was just what I needed.
Our first race was the San Francisco Giants 10K, for Nicole's love of the Giants. In the months leading up to the race we trained every day. I pushed myself and had no clue what to expect. I was so nervous. I remember getting my packet in the mail containing the course, race info and my race bib. My first race ever and my bib number...10,000! 10k for my first 10K! Maybe this won't be so bad, it was simply meant to be!
The early morning of the race it was chilly, of course being San Francisco, what else is new. We arrived with plenty of time to AT&T park, got in our corral and waited. As I looked around I noticed that I was surrounded by all types of people. Some looked as if they had trained, some not, some in costume, some with music blasting from their headphones, but they all looked like they were there to have a good time. I liked that, and I decided that I was going to have fun with it as well.
We waited for our corral to be let loose, and I felt the excitement, the adrenaline, the electricity in the air as they counted down for us to start running. Go! The crowd surged forward, the runners that were there to set a personal best took off, often skirting towards the outsides running past us often on sidewalks. We found our pace, settled in and enjoyed running along the San Francisco Bay in the early morning. Our pace was good, we had good music, we were on our way! We put the ball park in the distance, passed the Bay Bridge, the Ferry Building, Pier 39 and Ghiradelli Square. At that point we boomeranged back and ran all the way back to the park. Now almost as good as receiving the medal for our efforts was running to the finish line. As we curved the stadium, we entered the park...on the field! We were greeted by Lou Seal, the Giants Mascot, and of course we had to high five and selfie! Everyone who ran the race were blasted up on the big screen and we were presented with our medals. There were goodies for us to eat for recovery with and we could rest on the field or in the stands if we wanted. We could even grab a beer! Whhhhhhaaaattt?!?! This was awesome! I was hooked for sure!
I'll always remember that first race and always remember on the drive home afterwards thinking how many more can I fit in. Who needs pictures in the hallway, lets just fill it with medals! The other thing I'll always remember is how Nicole inspired me to take that first step, which turned into a nice paced run. I'm lucky to have a race partner to share in my triumphs and wallow in misery when we don't train hard enough. More than anything I thank her for starting us on a new Adventure, and one we can remember with cool bling to commemorate the victories as well!
Do you remember your first run?
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