Saturday, November 1, 2008

First Times

As I have mentioned in prior posts, one of the advantages of this new-found lifestyle is that there's a first time for this and a first time for that. At every turn and with every step, it seems like firsts just keep coming my way.

There was the first time I decided to register for a race. That was some three years ago. The decision was made to participate in the Music City Half Marathon so online I went and register I did. This brought some sense of commitment and purpose to my running.

Then there was the first time I ran past five miles in a single run. I remember that to me this was a huge milestone. Then there were 6 miles, then 7, 8, 9 and then 10! I remember the day I ran those first ten miles in a single run. Can't remember the time, can only remember the feeling. Then, according to my plan, I had to push the envelope to 11 and this was just a week before the half.

The first time I picked up my registration packet was surreal. Couldn't believe that I was actually doing this. Getting the timing chip made me feel, I had arrived. Walking through the fitness expo that day, amongst hundreds of other runners looking like I was lost, was fun and exciting.

Then was the first race itself. Arriving at the site and watching the crowd grow to 30 thousand plus. Amazing. Finding my corral and waiting for the starting gun, unbelievable. The waiting our turn to go through the starting gate, to have the mat read our chip meant that I was at the beginning of my first race.

Two hours and thirty one minutes later I made it to the finish line for the first time. I'm not even sure I can begin to explain how that felt.

Over the following two years I ran my first 5k, my first 10k, my first 10 miles. Bought my first road bike, entered and finished my first triathlon, swam in open water for the first time. I rode my first organized bike ride, all 66 miles of it.

Just recently I made the decision to continue training during the winter months and took keep me honest, I've registered for two half marathons that will be firsts for me; Memphis and Tampa. But training and competing in the winter time will bring a whole new set of challenges, mostly dealing with the weather, the cold weather, the very, very cold weather.

I set out this week to prepare myself for today's long run. The weather lady predicted high 30's for the time I planned to start. Brrrr. Looking through my training gear I realized that cold weather training gear I did not have. Well sort of. I did have gloves, ear covers, a long sleeve running shirt with a running jacket that would do for now. But the legs, oh the legs would be cold and that would be a problem. But that was soon resolved as I purchased a pair of running tights. Never thought I would be wearing, let alone be writing about, wearing tights, but I did and I was glad I did. The first long run in cold weather was very comfortable and as an added bonus, my knees didn't hurt.

I'm looking forward to be able to sit in front of this computer often to report on future firsts. My first sub 2-hour half, my first full marathon, my first Olympic distance triathlon, my first 100 mile bike ride and my ultimate first... 70.3

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