A couple of weeks ago I got to mark another item off my list. I ran in a 5k for the first time.

The race I chose took place in a small town about 30 minutes south of me. The course wound through neighborhoods and around several local lakes. The size of the race was perfect. About 400 runners came out, which meant the course was busy but not crowded. The runners were of every age- from as young as 7 to 70+ years old. For some folks, they had run this race since it began. One guy even had a reputation for showing up to every race held in the central Florida area. For others, like me, it was the first race they had ever run.

What surprised me most about the course was all the neighbors out on their driveways cheering the runners on. Some even had juice and doughnuts out for the runners. I didn’t stop for the food but I did wave as I went by.

The running itself was pretty easy, especially for the first two and a half miles. Towards the end of the third mile I was starting to experience the first signs of heat exhaustion, so I must have been going a bit too fast. But even with slowing down, I still managed to get a time of 35 minutes and 22 seconds which was just under my goal time of 36 minutes.

I chose to run without my iPod so I could hear the sounds of the race. Not only things like the cheering crowds, but small things like feet pounding on the dirt path or the beep of the timing system as runners crossed over the timing pad. It was a nice way to run.

At the end of the race, sponsors had booths set up giving away free stuff and there were tables covered in bagels and fruit for the runners. It was a fun carnival atmosphere as folks cheered on the remaining runners. Even the kids got in on the action with shorter kid runs.

In the end, it was a worthwhile goal for me to pursue and I’m glad I did it. I’m hoping to run a 10k next. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any 10ks scheduled in my area until the late fall. I’ll keep looking though in case one opens up sooner.