So while everyone is posting motivational pictures (thanks for keeping me excited for my run!), I’m thinking about the most meaningful mile that I’ve ever run. I got the fabulous idea from another blogger, and I spent some time thinking about it today. I mean, it’s a tough one. Is it the first mile I ever ran? The first mile of my Valentine’s Day 5k last year where it was so cold that my eyes almost froze open – and I still kept running? There are a ton of options, but I ultimately realized that the most meaningful mile I’ve ever run was the last mile of the Hershey 10k – my very first 10k, and the farthest distance I’ve run so far.
The Hershey 10k was held in April, and it was actually the day after my bridal shower. I was super nervous and barely slept all night, and probably drove my mom half crazy with all the nervous complaining that I did the night before. In fact, when I woke up the next morning, I had an awful headache and felt sick, and I actually told Andrew that I didn’t want to go at all. Here’s why I love him – he forced me out of bed at 5:00 am, forced me to eat my pre-race oatmeal breakfast, and then drove me an hour from my mom’s house in Reading to Hershey Park. I took a nap on the car ride, but once we got to Hershey Park I was wide awake and terrified. I kept walking past runners who looked relaxed and prepared, and I wanted to cry . Packet pickup helped cheer me up though because there was a lot of free chocolate 🙂
I remember being terrified before the race started, but after the crowd thinned out I was able to get into a good pace. At this time I didn’t have my Garmin, and the only way I had to keep track of time was my cheap Target sports watch. I checked my watch every mile to see how I was doing, but eventually I gave up trying to do math in my head while running. At the 5k point, I was completely surprised to see Andrew waiting for me! He gave me a quick high five, and I felt super energized after that. I started passing people, and realized that I might be able to reach my time goal of 1:15. The end of the 10k takes place inside Hershey Park, which was an awesome distraction to my tired legs. The staff members of Hershey Park were all lined up screaming and cheering for us, and I realized that they were actually cheering for me! It was at that point that I got to the 5 mile marker, and it hit me that I was officially running farther than I ever had before. I’ll never forget that feeling – looking around me, seeing all the runners that I was passing and the people cheering me on, and realizing that maybe I really was a “runner” and could possibly run a half marathon in the future. Or hey, why not a marathon? The last mile of that race is the happiest memory I have of running. And to me, it’s the most meaningful mile I’ve run yet. The funny part is that during that mile, my watch accidently got turned off, so I had no idea what my finish time was until I actually crossed the finish line. And as I sprinted into Hershey Stadium, with tons of people cheering and watching, I crossed the finish line in 1:08! 7 minutes faster than expected! The look on my husband’s face was priceless. And the bag of free chocolate that I got after the race was almost as sweet as the medal I had earned.
I can’t wait to run the Hershey 10k again this year, and hopefully I’ll get to relive that meaningful mile all over again!
What is the most meaningful mile you’ve ever run? Have you ever run a race with free chocolate at the finish?