I joined the local Black Girls Run group several months ago. A while after I joined the group, I found out the organization was holding a Sweat with Your Sole conference and 10k and 5k races in Charlotte on September 8th. So, I registered for the 5K. However, after about a month, I was hardly able to run with the group due to schedule conflicts and life. It was easier just to run solo, when time permitted.
Finally, after months of prep it was race time! With a 7:30am Sunday morning start, the guys and I headed to Charlotte Saturday afternoon so I could pick up my race packet in Uptown. When we arrived at the Westin, where the conference was being held, we discovered that Black Girls had shown up in great numbers in the name of fitness and health. The lobby was packed with women of all shapes and sizes. The vibe was great. I picked up my packet, which included my bib, time chip and shirt. I was official!!!
We then headed to my BFF’s house. We spent the night with her and her family. It was great to catch up with them. Plus, RJ and his god-sister got in some quality playtime.
The guys and I were up and out by 6:30am. The prices on all of the parking lots had been jacked up to $20-$35 because not only were we running that morning, but there was a 1pm Panthers home game that day. We were able to find a parking garage that charged only $5 and it was close to where we needed to be!
Hubby and RJ walked with me to the starting line and stay to watch me get going.
The streets of Charlotte had been officially taken over by black women! It was awesome! Typically, when I run, I use an app and do a run/walk 1 min/run. This was my first time running straight through. It was kind of tight with all of us crowded trying to make it across the start line to make sure we stepped on the chip trackers. However, once we made through the first turn, we started to spread out. I’d been a little nervous about not remembering the route and getting lost or accidentally running the 10k, but it was well defined with police and road block. Also, I stayed with the pack. As we ran passed the mile markers it started to sink in that I was actually doing it, I was running a race! Before I knew it, we’d passed the 3 mile marker and heading back into Uptown. As the finish line came into sight and I heard the crowd of people ringing cow bells and cheering, it happened… In true Jennifer fashion, I started to cry. The tears welled up and it took every thing I had not to go into an ugly cry. You would have thought I’d ran a marathon or climbed Everest. I searched the crowd for my guys, and found them waving and beaming at me. Then, I crossed the finish line!!
The best part of the experience was having my husband and RJ say they were proud of me! Then, having RJ say, ” Mommy put me down you wet and stinky!” Gotta love the toddler!
I’m proud that I stuck with it and followed through. I’m also very happy that this particular race was my first one. Running with a sea of women who looked like me was an incredible and unforgettable experience.