I did it! I completed my first fun run on September 10th after nearly 10 years!
I don’t run with a buddy or with a pack, but I wanted to feel part of a group before and after the race. So I joined Team Accenture (with a whopping 150+ members!).
I really didn’t know what to expect, especially before the start of the race. I’m bad at small talks, so I wasn’t surprised that I felt out of place when I stood in the meeting area with the team. All the runners (as far as I could tell at that time) were with at least one person they knew. Thankfully, I started a conversation with a lady named Christine, who may have sensed that I needed company. She introduced me to her colleague, Juan, so the three of us managed to form our own trio to pass the time while waiting for the start of the race. I also met a fellow witch, Angela, a Slytherin. I was SO EXCITED to finally meet a #wizardinthewild that I exclaimed “Expelliarmus” when I approached her. HAHA I can be such a geek! (I’m a Ravenclaw, if you were wondering.)
The race itself was a bit of a struggle for me. I’m not used to running under 9:30 AM sunlight. Fall hasn’t really kicked in yet. Although it wasn’t as hot as July and early August, it was still pretty warm for a 5K run (at least for me). There were also A LOT of runners! I forgot how crowded fun runs/races can get. I didn’t bring my iPod to help me drown out any conversations (I no longer listen to anything when I run), so I truly struggled at staying focused on my own pace and drowning out comments like “I can’t run anymore!” or “My feet are dying!” The humor of other runners, the cute tutus, the kids who ran the 5k, the lone fireman wearing his gear, and the cheerers along the race route (especially those stationed less than 0.5mi from the Finish Line) helped boost my morale and kept me going. I didn’t achieve my goal of completing the race within 30 minutes, and I didn’t achieve a new PR (I was slower by 2 seconds!) But I completed the race!
The Expo had lots of booths, but I didn’t have enough time to go through them all. I promised a dimsum lunch, so after the race, I stayed for a bit to partake of some of the refreshments at Team Accenture tent, chat a bit with Christine and Juan (who finished a about 3 minutes before me), and got a free 5-minute back massage. Christine was great enough to walk and talk with me while at the Expo, and we went our separate ways after the massage. I didn’t see Angela again after the race, but there’s always Facebook and the Hogwarts Running Club.
All in all, my first fun run here in NYC was unforgettable. I got a mean workout. I was able to raise $135 for charity (thanks to those who donated in my name!) And I met new people. I am proud to be part of the race aiming to end breast cancer. I will certainly do it again next year. This is a worthy cause.
Even though the race event is done, you can still donate to help raise funds for breast cancer screening and treatment for women who can’t afford them. Please visit http://www.komennyc.org/goto/RizzaGutierrez.