A Magical First 5K

When you start the journey of running your first race, it can be a nerve wracking experience full of doubt and insecurity.  But once you start training and eventually finish that race, it is amazing to see what you can do when you put your mind to something.  Randy is here today to tell us about his wife’s journey to her first race, the Happy Haunted 5k Trail Run, and how he supported her along the way.  There is nothing like a great support system!

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“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”

- Don Williams Jr.

For a runner this quote rings true. We devote endless hours preparing ourselves for an event that in comparison to our training takes only a fraction of time to complete. During that preparation we find out a lot about ourselves. One of the most profound revelations is that we are capable of so much more that we may have ever though we might have been.

My wife ran her first 5K race at the Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run, but it wasn’t that destination where she learned that she could be a runner, it was the journey to that race where she learned that lesson.

After many years of telling me that she couldn’t run let alone be a runner my wife surprised me when I jokingly asked her if she wanted to run the 5K race the morning that I would be running The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler and she said yes. Not wanting to give her the opportunity to change her mind I quickly signed us both up to run the 5K as well as signed myself up for the 10 miler.

Although I tried I could not convince my wife to attempt a straight out run on the 5K. Instead we would train for her to do a run/walk for the race. I developed a 3 month training plan for her so that she would never feel like she was going too far or too fast too soon. We did the training runs together and I liked seeing her change from someone who only a few month earlier would say that she could never run to someone who was running and starting to realize that she could do more than she had thought she could. There were even days when she would want to go a little faster or a little further on our training runs. It was nice to see a side of her where new things where possible.   Even though she was going to do a run/walk, she was definitely a ‘runner’.

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Finally the weekend of the run was upon us. The weather forecast called for rain for the entire time we were to be at Walt Disney World and my wife was depressed about the forecast. I tried to calm her nerves by telling her not to worry about it and that she should only worry about running her own race. We ended up getting our “Disney Magic” because the only rain we saw besides a little drizzle when we arrived the Wednesday prior to the race were some small rain showers the morning of the race.

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By the time we went to our corrals the rain had stopped. The whole forecasted week of rain amounted to only a couple of hours of rain.

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In the corral, I could tell my wife was getting nervous. I just kept reminding her that all she had to do was ‘run her race’. Meaning forget about everything else just do what you came to do. We also had the opportunity to meet so many great people over the days leading up to the race. Many of those people were running the 5K also and my wife was surprised how many of those runners were also doing the run/walk method for the 5K. Finally our corral was called up to the starting line and our race started. As we went along the course she was pleasantly surprised by how pleasant everyone was to each other, and she really liked seeing some of the characters our on the trail also.

When we crossed the finish line she looked at me and smiled and said “I can wear my shirt now”. This was a reference to a little quirk I have about wearing a shirt for a race prior to my running and completing the race. I happily told her “yes you can because now you have earned it”.

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We stayed around the ESPN Sports Complex for a couple of hours just cheering the runners on, meeting some of the other runners and taking pictures. Most importantly I could tell that my wife was beaming with personal pride for having accomplished something that only a few short months prior she had thought was impossible for her to ever do.

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