The first 5k race I ever ran (at least that I can remember) was the Swamp Rat Run in Cicero, New York. I was 17. My older brother Dan found out about it and asked if I wanted to run it with him. To say we were newbies is, well, a bit of an understatement.
I remember stopping at a gas station on our way out that morning so Dan could get a red bull to pound before the race for extra energy. If only I knew then what I know now I could have advised him this was a bad idea!
I lined up at the start line wearing a basketball practice pinny, shorts that came down to my knees and were likely not made of any kind of wicking fabric and…basketball sneakers (they were low tops if that makes it any better). I wish there were pictures. I can guarantee you that none of my ensemble was nearly as fashionable or functional as any of my Oiselle duds I race in now!
Dan, who was always a pretty good sprinter, bolted off with the front-runners leaving me in his dust at the start. That red bull would come back to bite him though as I actually ended up passing him along the way to my 25-minute finish! I remember it was really hot out and I can vaguely picture the start/finish area, but the only clear memory I have of that race was how cool it felt to cross that finish line. The results were even published in the local paper the next day. I was hooked.
This year that same race coincides with my bridal shower weekend, so I’ll be home in Syracuse for it. I know it’ll be a busy weekend, but I couldn’t resist and had to sign up. Thirteen years later at 30 years old, I’ll be back on the same start line where my love affair with racing began. The race experience will probably be a bit different, but I am pretty sure about one thing – that I will get that same feeling of pure excitement and joy as I cross the finish line that I’ve gotten to enjoy time after time in the last 13 years of racing everything from 5ks to marathons!
Do you remember your first race? Have you ever gone back and run it again?