The alarm hummed softly at 6:15 am, nudging me out of bed and into my running shoes. It was Saturday – my only day off – and instead of sleeping in, I was fumbling underneath the covers wishing I hadn’t signed up for another race.
After wrestling with the snooze button a few times, I finally jumped (read: dragged myself) out of bed, ready to take on this race with my friend Nicole over at Foodie Loves Fitness. If I hadn’t agreed to meet her for this, I would have stayed in bed cuddling with my dog.
By the time we reached the venue, I was bright eyed, bushy tailed, and excited to race. It brought me back to my racing days two years ago. Countless hours hitting the pavement, waking up before dawn to get my miles in, long runs in the pouring rain. All that hard work for one day of racing. Granted, those days I was training for half marathons and this was just a 5K. In comparison this felt like a warm-up, but the energy and excitement buzzing through the place was the same.
I. was. pumped.
With the tagline ‘The Most Delicious 5K Weekend,’ The Fit Foodie 5K felt more like a casual run with friends than a competition. I didn’t mind this at all. Not only was the venue pure San Diego perfection (blue skies, sailboats all around), but the runners (and walkers) were clearly out there simply for the pure joy of it. No egos, no PRs, and no stress. I started my watch and off we went.
The most common mistake among runners on race day is starting too fast, too soon. I find that talking to someone, or myself, at the start of a race enables me to start off slow so I don’t wear out half-way through a race. If I’m feeling out of breath, I’m going too fast, but if I can sustain a conversation without dry-heaving I’m in good shape. Eventually, my body will fall into its own natural rhythm. This was the nice thing about running with someone. We caught up on each other’s lives and eased our way into our individual race pace.
Running the Fit Foodie 5K reminded me of all the reasons I love and miss running. Training for a long-distance race means a lot of early mornings, mental toughness and focus. But it also comes with its own rewards. Running along the water lit me up inside and I reminisced about all the beautiful runs I’ve been on throughout San Diego. It made me want to race again. While lifting heavy iron is my first love, running brings me peace and clarity. It centers me while lifting humbles me (you can’t have any ego under the bar).
At around 28:00 (and some change), I crossed the finish line, ripped off my long-sleeved shirt like it was on fire, and caught my breath. Good lord, it was hot and beautiful out.
After the race, we met up to enjoy our post-run beer and caught up on health, personal and professional goals. Nicole and I met over the summer and we found we have a bazillion things in common. Not only do we work in PR (what are the chances?!) but we are both super independent, outdoorsy and in love with our dogs. This was our first fitness event together and I find that working out with someone is an amazing way to get to know them. How they react to challenges during training or on the course will tell you a lot more about their character than chit chat over happy hour. Nicole had a nagging calf injury that acted up during the run. Even then, she kept a smile on her face and didn’t mind walking around sampling all the goodies with me. As we talked (and ate of course!) we both agreed that it was important to surround ourselves with life-minded people and be unapologetic about ending friendships/relationships that no longer aligned with our life’s vision and personal goals. As we evolve as individuals, our inner circle must also evolve in order to propel us further toward the life we imagine. This may be a little deep for post-run chatter, but who says we’re just your average blogger?
The Fit Food 5K was so exhilarating and I was impressed with all the great vendors at the event. Orangetheory Fitness, Suja Juice, Luna Bar and Quest Nutrition were just a few of the big names there. And boy did I enjoy every bite! They weren’t kidding about this being the most delicious run ever! Next year, I plan to attend the full weekend of festivities, which include sunrise yoga, brunch, cooking demos and a slew of other activities that fitness junkies and foodies love.
It’s amazing how one positive or healthy event can act as a catalyst for more healthy and active choices throughout the day. Later that day, I headed to the dog beach and meditated quietly on this simple yet powerful mantra “The purpose of life is to enjoy every moment. Be present.” I dipped my toes in the sand, whispered thank you to the Universe, and watched my pup run about in pure bliss. And I enjoyed every second of it.