The alarm went off early like any other day, but today was not like any other day. Today was a day i had been anticipating for a while. It was the day I signed up to run my first 5k. This does not seem like a long distance to much but to me it was more than the distance. It was what the run symbolized. It was the culmination of two years of hard work and determination. I felt a sense of nervousness i had not felt sine my wrestling days. It was that competitive edge that i had lost so long ago. I packed my stuff up and headed off to the run. I got there and sat in my car and listened to my google play to get pumped for the next 30 min or so. I got out and mingled with the crowd a little. I saw on old friend from high school and one of my best friends wife and sister. I started to feel my stomach turn a little more. I stepped away from the crowd and gathered my thoughts as i stretched. My mind went back to my wrestling days. I uses to listen to the hardest rock or metal music i could find at that time. I switched to google play to Hatebreed radio. I stopped long enough to listen to the national anthem an watch the marathon and half marathon runners take off. It was almost go time. I felt my heart rate accelerate from the adrenaline rush. There use to be no better rush than waiting for a big match and getting called out to take the mat. I heard the announcer call out and tell everyone to get ready to start. He directed the speedsters to come up front and the slower people to stay in the back. I had no idea what to expect since this was my first run. So i opted to stay towards the back. As i stood there waiting for them to finish the countdown all i could think about was my wrestling days stepping on the line waiting for the whistle to blow for . My coach would always have us visualize the match before it started. We would always have our first three to four moves planned out ahead of time. It was so crazy because i hadn't even moved yet and my heart was pounding. Then the time had come. The horn sounded and we where off.
My first instinct was to take off like a bat out of hell lol. Only problem was i couldn't. There where so many people that from the time the race started to the actual time that i crossed the start line was almost two minutes. It seemed like the longest walk ever. As i got closer and closer to the start line the first stage of my emotional roller coaster began. I started to think about how a little over two years ago I had to have my wife come pick me up from a 1/2 mile walk. I thought back to the day i stood on that scale and saw 386 lbs flash back at me. I thought about how i wasn't able to play with my kids without getting winded. All these emotions hit me at one time. I hadn't even crossed the start line yet lol. Once i stepped over that line i began to run at a pace that was comfortable for me. As we headed down M st i felt like everything was going so fast. I tried to focus on my breathing and not get to far ahead of myself. I was trying to just take in everything as it was happening in front of me. I heard my Nike App say 1 mile 11:09. I thought holy crap that 1st mile went by fast. Old habits die hard first thing that popped in my head was wrestling. Round one was over time for round two. We headed out of downtown and into the residential area. I was amazed on how many people were in front of there homes cheering us on as we passed by them. Some homes even had water for us if we wanted it. As we wound past Enselen Park they had a music group playing . I don't know what they were playing because I had my ear buds in blasting my play list i had set up.
I heard my app say 2 miles. My time had gotten better by almost a minute. Did that mile in 10:13. This past mile was in the tree lined neighborhoods and the cold was making my legs stiffen up. As we came around past the Great Valley Museum all i could think was round three lets finish strong. So i picked up the pace a little bit and as we turned the corner the sun was finally on us. I started to sweat more than i was before and decided to take off my wind breaker. I only regret this because it slowed me down some. We came around and ended up on Ninth St. They had a band playing under the bridge as we came through. I didn't realize that the finish line was so close or i would not have messed with my jacket lol. I also never realized that there where mile markers on the side of the road to let us know how much further we had. I heard my app say 3 miles. As i turned off ninth onto N st i could see the finish line. I kicked it into what i would call high Gear (probably most peoples trot lol) I sprinted to the finish line. The feeling of accomplishment was overwhelming. My mind was filled with so many emotions. My eyes began to swell up a little. I walked past the water station grabbed a water bottle and went off to the side by myself to collect my thoughts. I had accomplished my first official 5k Race. I looked at my phone cause i forgot to turn off my app. It said 34 minutes. I was happy with that time. I waited around for my friend Lupe and her sister at the finish line. We made our way through grabbing our goodie bags and checking our finish times. I was surprised that i finished two minutes faster than i had thought.
I am super proud of not only my time but of finishing in the top 12 out of 32 in my age group. The run was almost like a a summary of my life so far. The first mile was the past. The 2nd mile being my present and the third mile being my future. I was amazed on how much the running community is like the wrestling community that i have loved for so long. There were many different runner from many different levels. You had your distance runners your speedsters and your walkers. All with one common goal to cross that finish line. Not only did i find that competitive fire again but i also found a new love for running. I cant wait to sign up for the next one. I challenge anyone who hasn't done a run to give it try. You just might surprise yourself and fall in love with it.