I read a lot of blogs where runners post their pace, their race results. That’s ok. But for me it never has been about time.
It is about memories.
I used to run track as a teenager and what I mostly remember from that time is the camaraderie and the fun times we had traveling to competitions each weekend, encouraging each other.
My first 5k was a huge achievement for me. Until then I considered every run longer than 400m (meters!) to be an endurance race. I had a grin on my face for a week after my first 5k.
I shared my second 5k with Paula Radcliffe (and another 10,000 runners). Of course Paula finished while I was still hovering around the 3k mark and she didn’t know me, but it was cool nonetheless. The spirit of this particular race most likely is one of the reasons why I continued running.
I remember thinking after I completed my first 10k that I could run a half marathon easily. Well, it took me another 6 years to finally run a half marathon and it wasn’t quite that easy.
My first half marathon I remember for the friendships I made that are still strong.
For my first full marathon I remember that I didn’t remember the main event. Now, you need to know that my first full marathon has been the NIKE Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. The “medal” is a Tiffany’s necklace given to each runner by a firefighter dressed in a tuxedo, kind of most girl’s dream. Some runners are known to take lipstick on the course and do a quick make-up check at mile 26.1. Anyway, I received my necklace, but was so exhausted that I don’t remember at all seeing any firefighter. I have run this race two more times just to make up for that and am planning on running again this year! 🙂 What I do remember from this race was my team. This was my first season with Team in Training and I was fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This was the beginning of new friendships and a new motivation for me to keep running until a cure for cancer is found. (I am running again with Team in Training – my fifth season with the team – this spring: the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon.)
My first half marathon in London I remember for a girl tapping on my shoulder right after I slowed down to a walk at mile 12, telling me to run with her. She paced me to the finish line and told me that I had been pacing her for the past 5-6 miles and she wanted me to finish strong.
So, yes, memories are what counts for me. The encouraging smiles from fellow runners. Making new friends. And doing a little bit to make our world a better place.