Two weekends ago, I ran my first race since the Chicago Marathon. Two girlfriends and I ran the Maple Grove 5K, and the experience reminded me of why I enjoy the atmosphere of racing so much.
The morning was cold–low 30s–with a biting wind. When I pulled into the Maple Grove High School parking lot and saw runners crossing the street to enter the stadium for the start, I blinked back tears. Participating in my first race since Chicago was emotional for me. I smiled seeing the 13.1 and 26.2 stickers on cars and the runners milling around waiting for the start.
The half marathon started a few minutes before the 5K, and as the runners and pace groups circled the track and made their way out of the stadium, a part of me wished I was with them. But I was happy to be running with my friends, and though none of us had especially trained for the event (it was really more like, “Oh, crap! I forgot we signed up for that 5K a few months ago!“), we were excited to spend the morning together.
The race was small, but the volunteers were still amazing. They braved the cold and bone chilling wind to hand out water and cheer us on. Thank you so much, wonderful volunteers!
We talked and caught up as we ran, and the miles flew by. Before we knew it, we were entering the stadium again and heading toward the finish line. Afterwards, we picked up a few snacks and our finisher shirts before heading out for a hot cup of coffee.
When I got home, I placed my medal beside my others on display in our workout room. Whether a marathon or a 5K, each medal is special to me, because running is special to me.
I’m happy my return to racing was with two friends who made the experience so fun. It was just what I needed to ignite my passion for training again and get me excited for my half in Chicago this fall.