To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Grand-daddy of All Milestones! Beaver 5K Fun Run COMPLETED!

I did it!!!  I finished my first ever 5k race - and had so much fun doing it! I am pretty sure I was smiling the entire time, too. Yay for me! I'm getting ahead of myself, let's back up....

I woke up at 5:30 to get ready - did some facebooking, nice hot shower, washed and dried some pants and OSU socks in case I needed extra layers. Around 7 a.m. or so Lady and I were out the door. I couldn't do my first race without my best girl at my side!  It was a foggy, very cold morning, so I did have some thoughts about my sanity and what I was getting myself into!

We got to Corvallis with over an hour before the race to meet up with mommy and Jim, get checked in, warmed up and nerves calmed. It was kind of crazy and overwhelming to be walking onto the field at Reser Stadium and not be the one watching a sporting event, instead being the participant! I'm glad I was there early because I felt so lost not knowing how the whole race scene works. I did get checked in with no problem, got my official commemorative t-shirt and number, and hit the potty. Jim helped me with that while my mom and Lady were off checking out the outside of the stadium. Imagine my shock when I looked over and there was my little doggie down at the field. I'm such a proud mom - my little angel is almost a college girl now!

The area was pretty fun! The race was benefiting the Willamette Valley Girls on the Run program, so there were many grade school girls around in their running gear and little numbers. I liked them - I figured if they could do this, I could too! There were some booths set up with merchandise, free food and drinks, bag check, chiropractor/massage therapy (should have hit that!), jump ropes, yada yada yada. There was also a live band which was pretty good - imagine my shock when that cover band was actually a bunch of young girls! I was impressed! In the center I could see the finish line, but didn't really pay attention to it. I was more into just looking up at the stands, taking pictures, warming up my nearly bare bottom and checking the clock. I probably should have stretched more - but I will completely admit that all the people in their pro running gear and skinny bodies were super intimidating and I didn't want to look like some faker out there stretching. (I always DO stretch at home, but I only have an audience of a cat and a dog.) My nerves took over, so I wasn't able to concentrate on stretching much anyway. I just wanted to get going!

Finally it was time! There was confusion because nobody really knew where the official start line was at. I just knew I wanted to start near the back of the pack so that all the experienced people wouldn't fly by me and kill my spirit in the first 30 seconds.  The blow-horn went off and I did have a moment of panic. I've never been in any situation remotely close to this. I would compare it to the rope drop at Magic Kingdom and all the guests taking off running in various directions to be the first on their favorite ride. I avoid that moment, but here I was paying to be in a similar situation, except the ride at the end of this was just my 2 hour drive home.

So there I was, in the middle/back of the pack and on my way. I could only do a fast walk at first 'cause it was so crowded, but soon I got my stride going and actually passed people! I was shocked that I just kept running and running. I think I did the entire first 1/2 without stopping. Any time I did stop it was only for a few seconds before running again. I couldn't believe I was passing people! It just made me smile and motivated me to keep going. I had a rad playlist (which will be addressed at the end), so that REALLY helped. The setting was awesome. We started outside Reser Stadium, ran UPHILL to the MU Quad, and then went zigging and zagging around campus.

I was very pleasantly surprised when somewhere after the 2 mile mark I saw a familiar looking white ball of fluff. It was Lady! And Jim! And my mommy! That was a great boost, 'cause let me tell you, that last mile was a killer compared to the first two! I think I knew the stadium was so close, so I was just ready to cross the finish line.  I really am still shocked. I PASSED PEOPLE!!  Fatter, skinnier, younger, older ... I passed them! I fully expected to be at the back of the pack, but I was holding my own. I wasn't actually racing anyone, I just wanted to finish. The "cheerleaders" along the sides were great for keeping me going, too!

Once at the entrance gates of Reser Stadium I knew I had to just keep pushing! I wasn't going to stop running now!! I came around the last corner, and there was my cheering section rooting me on to the big finish. What an adrenaline rush to go down that final hill and see the inside Reser Stadium in all of its glory!! So many people were lining the sides of the final stretch. They were all cheering so loud, and even though nobody knew me, they didn't stop cheering me on. A man was up on a ladder with a blow horn - and I do believe he told me to keep going and called me "Hot Stuff"! That was awesome, and I just went into a full blown sprint for the last few paces. I'd say I ran 50 yards pretty damn fast! The finish line was right under a big inflatable Beaver archway - complete with people and their loud cowbells! It was the most amazing feeling ever!  And I fully admit I was corny and threw my arms up in the air during the final stretch as I crossed the finish line, but you know what - I earned that moment of corniness!

There I am post race =>
My mommy was pretty quick to get down to the field to meet up with me. I was pacing around, panting, touching the field and thanking it for being so awesome, and just basking in my big achievement!  I finished in 35 minutes and 43 seconds. I expected it to be closer to 45 minutes, so I more than exceeded my expectations!  It was so much fun, I will totally be signing up to do it next year. Its given me much more confidence going into March's Disney Royal Family 5K in Orlando!

And now I'd like to thank some people!
  • Mommy, Jim and Lady for being there to help me with all of my clothes, keys, ID, phone, camera, yada yada yada... and for cheering me on!
  • Holly for being the biggest inspiration to do this and really helping me get started with the whole running thing.
  • Brian for calming my nerves nearly every day this week, and giving me all those tips on what to do and what not to do before and during the race.
  • Oregon State University and Girls on the Run.
  • The little girls that I used to pace myself at the beginning -- but then flew by :) 
  • The volunteers lining the way cheering for all of us out there being crazy and running in freezing weather!
  • Carrie Underwood for helping me get started with a nice paced song.
  • *NSync for reminding me of the good ol' days of college and helping me get up that big hill.
  • New Kids on the Block, Adam Lambert, Michael Jackson, and the Black-Eyed Peas for keeping me peppy and moving.
  • A special thank you to Miss Britney Spears. She was there with me throughout the entire race! Her music seems to be the right tempo for my running, so I'm glad she popped up more than anyone else! Crazy, right?
  • And finally, a big thanks to Christina Aguilera. We crossed the finish line together:
Step back gonna come at ya fast
I'm driving out of control
And getting ready to crash 
In the blink of an eye
In the speed of the light
I'll hold the universe up
And make your planets collide


  1. I'm super impressed, Ronda! Way to be awesome!

  2. Thanks for posting this great story! It was so fun to "watch" and get to relive (vicariously) that great feeling of accomplishment. It really is a great "high" isn't it? I am doing my second in February and hoping to get my time down to 35 did awesome!!!!!! Congratulations.


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