I Have Met the 5k, and I Have Vanquished It.

This past Saturday, I completed my semi-short term goal of participating in a 5k. I’ve been training for it in earnest since the beginning of the year, taking in more miles on the ellipticals and on the track at the Rec Center than I ever had before. Once what snow we did have was gone and it was warm enough, I moved my training outside. A week before the event, I had my mom drop me off at the starting point so I could walk it on my own. Finally, after weeks of walking and jogging,  it was St. Patrick’s Day — 5k day. The Campbell-Dickinson St. Patrick’s Day 5k Run/Walk is a fundraiser for the Trinity Foundation’s Trinity Emergency Assistance Relief Fund, which helps provide financial support for cancer patients and their families. It is named for cancer survivor Jenny Russlee-Dickinson, a teacher in Toronto, and the late attorney William “Pat” Campbell. Through St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a charity helping children with cancer, people could donate $10 to have their heads shaved in front of everyone. Nearly everyone was out in their greens, or wearing the leprechaun shirt you got if you registered by a certain date. (Oh darn, a “free” t-shirt that I didn’t get… shoot.) I, however, as an Irish Protestant, was rocking the orange, making me stand out in a sea of green and white.

I look like the leprechaun compared to that guy behind me... (Photo via Facebook, TEMS Joint Ambulance District)

I walked with my best friend, Kara, who was registered with Team Hospice of the Valley (the people in blue). According to an email sent out by the group organizing the event, 819 people were registered to participate. After the runners took off at 11:30am, everyone else lined up almost around the block to start the walk. I was a little disappointed we didn’t get the starting gunshot for our part; they must have used their one blank for the runners… People were lined up on the sidewalk cheering on all of the participants, and as we headed north through town, others were on their front porches cheering for us. One little girl stood at the edge of her porch giving everyone a thumbs up as we passed by, so I turned around and returned the gesture.

My boyfriend came down the night before to support me, which was pretty awesome of him. In the week prior to the event, my sister would tell me all the things she was going to do as I walked by our house on the route, including booing me (out of sweet, sisterly love), throwing confetti over me, giving me the Gatorade shower, and holding signs with slightly questionable inspirational messages. I’m glad she opted for signs. When I passed my house, these are what she and Brian were holding:

Actually, this is true. By 4 days. I guess a lot of people got a kick out of this sign.

Hey, Dad's forehead, where did you come from? Also, don't mind our sad fence garden. The flowers should be in soon.

Can I be honest, though? 3.1 miles seems like a lot longer than it actually is. Maybe it was the turn-around point, or maybe it was because I’ve driven the route so many times… I’m not sure. And it’s definitely different from walking a track or running the same distance on an elliptical. I came in at 1:02:38, which is about what I expected for a 3-ish mile walk (I’ve got short little legs, remember?), but it was still shorter than the times of some people who chose to run it. Maybe next year. As I rounded the corner to go back to the main staging area, I saw my mom, sister, and boyfriend walking towards me to congratulate me. I was informed that I could use a shower, but they still took me to McDonalds for me to indulge in a large Coke and fries. I didn’t give either of those things up for Lent, but the day I inexplicably went on a Coca-Cola hiatus just happened to coincide with Ash Wednesday. I’m very glad that I challenged myself with this 5k. Giving up excuses for Lent really helped me prepare for this, and blogging about my goal probably helped, too. Thank you all for your encouragement, tips, and suggestions along the way. So what’s next for me? I don’t quite know yet. Let me graduate in May with my Master’s degree and we’ll go from there. But, it’s very likely that I’ll be accumulating more race bibs in the future!