My ten year old daughter, a 4th grader, has been participating in a great after school running program called Girls On The Run (GOTR) this Spring. As a running newbie, her goal was the final event to be held in early May: The Girls On The Run 5k.
Although I only dabble in running myself, I was hoping this would be something I could both share with her, and support her in. So I, too, registered for what would be my very first 5k.
I’ve been exercising, but I haven’t been running lately. Poor K had twisted her ankle earlier in the week, on our new trampoline. So with that wrapped and hurting when the big day arrived last Saturday, we weren’t sure how this whole “first 5k” thing was going to go down for us. Was this going to do us both in?
Alas, we were for a high-energy, motivating, fun experience quite unlike anything else we’ve ever done before!
How did I not know this?
How did I not know how incredibly exciting and fun a 5k race can be??
Here are the fantastic things that got us both totally hooked by our first 5k race, and why I strongly encourage any and all to try one:
Showing Your Flair
I loved seeing how everyone expressed their fun-loving personalities via their unique bits of “flair” added to their running getup. From mismatched crazy compression socks, to tutus, to rainbow hair bows, to satin capes, to fairy wings, to face paint, to motivational signs pinned to their shirts… everyone seemed to have a voice to share.
I’m gonna add a lot more flair to myself, next time I run a 5k. 🙂
Range of Ages
We had grandparents, parents pushing jogging strollers, toddlers (usually with backup strollers rolling next to them), and grade schoolers. There was no feeling of competition, and it was inspiring to see everyone out there trying to enjoy themselves and be active. We were all pulling for each other.
Crazy High, Positive Energy
Words can’t really describe a huge city park filled with 2,500 GOTR 5k participants, family, and friends. It felt like there was a buzz in the air… everyone excited to get started, the grade schoolers getting to visit booths with fun freebies like sunglasses and buttons, and people lining up their lawn chairs along the finish line.
If you do a 5k, make sure you go plenty early beforehand to revel in this atmosphere.
We Felt Famous
Well, I just got a kick out of the volunteer cheering squat posted throughout the course, and the neighbors sitting in lawn chairs spectating along the residential stretches of the course. But my daughter was awestruck by all this attention, clapping, and shouts of praise and encouragement. She says to me, “I love this! I feel famous!” 🙂
It really was an appreciated boost.
Much Funner Route Than An Ugly Treadmill
Although tired, you coulda fooled me that we had run over 3 miles. There is so much to distract, inspire, and motivate you along the way… it’s waaaaay more fun than running solo, or running on a treadmill. Not knowing the route (and hoping for a water station soon) felt like an adventure, and definitely made the time and distance pass quickly.
The “Big Deal” Made at the Finish Line
Although my daughter was limping at that point (to put this in perspective… she was jumping on the trampoline later that day), we gave it our all and poured on the coals for the last stretch. An inflatable arch awaited us, as the finish line, with a timer above for you to note your own race time.
Next, someone hands you a bottled water (which you’re dying for).
Then, someone places a medal over your head. Not sure why I didn’t see that coming… but all the adrenaline kicked in at this point, and I almost felt like crying. It was so stinkin’ fun.
Last, but not least, we were routed through the snack tents… to grab yummy breads, granola bars, orange slices, and chocolate milk.
Boooo-yaaaahhh! Now THAT’s a party!
The Sense of Accomplishment
To distance runners, I’m sure a 5k is no big deal. Although only 3.1 miles, we still did a combination of run-walk-run. Hey, if that’s what you gotta do… that’s what you gotta do. It’s still much better than sitting at home on your couch! You’re being awesome! We felt a very lovely sense of accomplishment after completing our first 5k.
Of course, the ultimate dream for me would be to try a runDisney race. Cost and time have prevented me from doing so in the past. But now with my new [fellow-Disney-obsessed] run buddy… we may have a new “dream girls trip” to plan and save for some day!
But in the meantime, we are DEFINITELY going to participate in any local 5k’s in our area.
*o* *o* *o*
Watch my blog for a giveaway soon… of a pair of those awesome Dragonwing GirlGear chill weight capri leggings, for the young active girl in your life!
Have you ever tried a 5k (or other race)? What did you enjoy about it?