If you’ve seen me in the last two weeks, you’ve probably heard me tell you the story of my “first race.” I laugh at myself every time I think about it (in that deep, pleasurable, generous way). Those of you who have seen my competitive spirit will appreciate this! Two weeks ago I reluctantly entered my first running race. It was a fundraiser for Alopecia Areata, the autoimmune disease I have that has caused me to lose most of my hair “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow.”
When the flyer came in the mail, I saved it but didn’t sign up right away. I guess I wasn’t ready to start alerting my friends and get them to “fundraise” for my cause. Maybe it still felt too personal. Plus I had the excuse of having a soccer game later that day so I couldn’t likely run without tiring myself out.
Then the week of the race approached, and my soccer game was canceled. No more excuses!
Plus it was a 3 mile race. Me and the Tuesday/Thursday ladies had been doing that, and then some. I was ready.
It was starting to drizzle on Saturday, and I showed early to register. I kept my hat on, but I kept looking for others who had no hair. Where were they? In this crew, I didn’t want to stand out but I was also looking for solidarity. No baldies in sight on this blustery day. I saw a woman a few years older than me (full of hair, no less) doing some serious stretches.
This immediately got my ears pricked up a little. If you don’t know this about me yet, I’m a bit competitive. Well, a lot competitive.
You see, this was the first year of this fundraiser, and there didn’t appear to be many people running. Most of the crew had strollers and big jackets and seemed to be doing the walking distance.
Plus it was only three miles.
I started near the front, and I decided I wanted to keep the younger, fast woman in the lead within my sights. A half mile in, I stripped off my warm cap and passed the serious stretching lady.
A mile in, I decided I was going to win this thing. Someone with Alopecia should win this race, to show that this disease doesn’t hold us back from some serious athletic achievement. And of course that someone was me.
Two miles in, I realized we weren’t even close to 2/3 of the way around the small lake. It hit me with a sledgehammer that this was a 5 mile race and not a 5k.
I kept running.
I got passed by two lean, fast men. I tried to keep up with a couple other younger runners.
In a burst of inspiration, nearing what I thought was the final parking lot, I passed ahead of them and enthusiastically called that we were almost there!
They passed me again.
I didn’t win. That would have been nice right? But I finished pretty darn fast if I do say so myself.
Anyone want to practice all year with me on the lake course? I’ve got a victory in my future. 🙂