I awoke early on race day, my heart pounding with eagerness and nerves.
Only a few days earlier I had decided to run in the 5k for the Kutztown Optimist Club Fool’s Run on April 6. I wanted to participate in the event, rather than stand on the sidelines because I am a runner at heart.
Without training or preparing for the race, I was nervous about being able to finish a 5k, but I also took into consideration that I am in much better shape than a few years ago, when I had trained for it and barely finished. On the other hand, I’ve been thinking about starting to run again, besides chasing after a toddler everyday. As they say, there’s no better day than today.
So, there I was at the starting line, stretching and hearing my joints pop. Not a promising sound. The music was pounding with the beat of my heart. I was not only nervous but excited! Yes, I was excited to run again.
Then, we heard the count down and the horn blared and we were off!
I kept a comfortable pace with the others, trying to remember my running form from my high school and college cross country days. The first hill up College Blvd. was rough but then we were soon at the top and rounding the corner, running through the Kutztown University campus.
While I listened to the thumping sound of my sneakers hitting the pavement, I passed buildings where I had taken classes, where I once lived for a year and then about the half-way point I began to have difficulties breathing. My lungs were on fire! The air was cold and I’m not accustomed to running in the cold anymore.
I walked for a little but soon began jogging and talked with two women from Lebanon, one of whom has a daughter living in Kutztown. Slow and steady won’t win the race, but you’ll finish was their motto. Sounded like a great idea to me.
As we approached the last mile, my lungs felt a little better and my breathing improved. I was able to pick up my pace again.
Then, we were rounding the turnaround cones and told that we were nearing the finish.
I enjoyed the moment, watching the scenery pass by me.... fields and the water tower and homes.
Passing under the bridge, I knew I was close, really close, and the adrenaline kicked in and the endorphins and I was feeling really good. I passed people I know and heard them shouting my name, so I ran faster and I know I must have been smiling at this point, because I could see the finish line.
I broadened my running stride and pushed myself to go faster and soon I was passing the finish line with great relief and triumph. Wow! What an exhilarating experience.
I joined the others who had just finished, my legs feeling like jelly but feeling rather good about what I had just accomplished. I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Fools Run and can’t wait until next year’s race. Only next year, I will have been running before race day.
Lisa Mitchell is editor of The Kutztown Area Patriot. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.