That first race experience. If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you have one.
Have you thought about that first race in a while? For me, my first race was just the start. Many races have followed that first milestone. Getting to that first finish line was a gradual thing — but what an amazing journey.
I have shared how I started running by trotting around my neighborhood while pushing my daughter in her stroller. It wasn’t easy but I kept lacing up and trying. When winter came and the weather turned cold, I remember rewarding my efforts by investing in a treadmill. Another big reason for this choice: I was running with my daughter and it was just too cold to take her outside. I could bundle us both up, but I was moving and keeping myself warm, but she was just a hostage in the cold.
When I switched over to the treadmill during those cold months, I would occasionally post on social media, “I ran 3 miles today!” I was excited. Or I’d post “I ran every day this week.” I was proud. I had people ask, “Are you going to do a race?” I would respond: “No way. That’s crazy. Not for me. I’m not fast, why would I do a race?”
Then by chance, I saw on Pinterest a picture of someone at the Color Run. At the time, it was a new novelty to running. It looked like so much fun. I posted that picture from Pinterest on my Facebook page. I wanted to do that event.
A few months went by and a friend notified me that the Color Run was coming to Tulsa. I signed up with a couple of friends. I became excited and nervous just by pushing the payment button on the computer.
Even before that event, another friend convinced me to sign up for the Broken Arrow Rooster Days Run, set to take place a couple weeks before the Color Run.
Well, that one race was life changing. I was already running a lot, but I really liked being out there with other runners that day. It felt like such a community. I loved that everyone was so happy, positive and encouraging. I liked that I was moving towards a goal and was proud when I got there. I liked the sense of accomplishment. I liked the challenge. I liked being so nervous and then having such tremendous relief after crossing the finish line.
I was hooked.
I discovered the Oklahoma Sports and Fitness event calendar (yeah, that’s a plug there but it’s the truth); it quickly became my favorite internet stop. I was shocked at how many races there are here. I never really drove into a road closure before and yet, every weekend there’s a road closed for a race! We are so fortunate that the Tulsa and Oklahoma City areas have such supportive running communities, and as many quality races as we do. And yet they are all different — whether it be locations, distances, medals, themes, or charities.
I love meeting someone that’s doing their first race. I can relate to their nerves, and I can sense their excitement.
Below is my “Wall of Running” – finisher medals, age division medals, even an overall female winner. A friend made me the medal sign with the perfect slogan for me, “Celebrate Every Mile.” I do just that.
Push yourself. Challenge yourself. Don’t accept any negative monologue. I had to learn how to do this. I stopped listening to my “no” and started saying “I CAN.” When was the last time someone said to you “You can do this!” Well, I am telling you now YOU CAN THIS. Let’s take on the day with the spirit that we can do ANYTHING. LET GO and just GO!
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