My first 10K


By Nadine Dexter


Well, here I am, waiting to run the first 10K in my life. I’m surrounded by 800 other runners at the starting line and wondering if I would achieve my goal of running 6.2 miles in under an hour. I listen to the voices in the crowd at the back of the start line, where I had sent myself at the strong advice of more experienced runners. I heard people discussing what they ate for dinner, people giving out last minute advice to new rookie runners like myself and others talking about plans after the race. I just chuckled to myself at that last conversation, as I was so focused on running as well as I could, that I forgot for a moment that there is life after this race. The swirl of colors on the runners and the sound of the crowd mixed with pulsing thrills of excitement and anticipation of the start signal, combined for a heady mix of powerful feelings. The thrill of being alive vibrated in every fiber of my being and I gave thanks to God for letting me participate in this annual rite.

Suddenly the line moves up. I feel my heart rate jump. I feel the surge of the runners around me. Then just as quickly we stop. It wasn’t time yet. Be still my heart! Now I was really pumped up and jumpy with anxiety. “Let’s start already”, my mind says. I feel myself growing a little angry at this momentary pause. I tell my teammates to not be upset with me if I don’t speak to them during the race. I need to concentrate every breath, every heartbeat on my performance. My thoughts stopped their momentary drift by the jostling of my fellow runners who are now shoulder to shoulder with me and equally ready to start. I was told to take the first mile easy and not race down it, like most inexperienced runners do. I made a mental note to myself to not behave like a new runner even though I was. I double-checked my watch to see if I had set it correctly and I did a visual check on my shoelaces to be sure they were triple tied as I was instructed. There is nothing more embarrassing then stopping in the middle of a race to tie your shoes. Oh no, I had only double tied my shoes. Oh well, too late now! Suddenly the siren sounds and I jump in the air. We are off, each to our own mental and physical battle we must privately wage. Be calm my heart but strong, be steady and true my lungs and finally carry my legs to the finish line.

As I felt the pull of the race with my mind and my legs this thought was prominent. I hope that I finish in my projected goal, but if not, I will be satisfied in knowing that my life was richer in the doing and the trying and in sharing this day with 800 other runners.