One thing people may not know about me, is that I run in a 10k road race once a year, and have every year, for the past four years. This race is the Beach 2 Beacon in Cape Elizabeth Maine. Starting by Crescent Beach, winding down roads throughout Cape Elizabeth, finishing at Fort Williams Park, or Portland Head Light.
Another thing you may not know about me, is that I hate running. I do not do it for fun. I run very few times throughout the year, and the Beach 2 Beacon race being one of those times. If I forced myself to run more, maybe I would grow to like it? I may just do that eventually, and see how that experiment goes.
So if I hate running, why would I throw myself not into a 5k, but a 10K road race. A road race with over 10,000 people running each year. My ex was the one who encouraged me to sign up for my first ever run, as he wanted a running partner. So I reluctantly signed up. I had no clue what I was getting myself into, and how I would end up performing, ya know, not being a runner and all.
You sign up months before the race, on a set day, where open enrollment opens right at 7am. Everyone competing has their phones/computers open to the website at 6:30 waiting for the ability to enter. Why? Because the race sells out in no more than 5 minutes every year. You pay $50 to run 6.2 miles. If you don’t register in time, they have a lottery you can enter, which I have actually entered once, and got chosen. So it’s not a fat chance that you’ll get in if you enter the lottery. But once you’re signed up, you wait until a few weeks before the race to attend the expo where you pick up your shirt and bib, and any other race goodies you may need to make yourself well equipped to run 6.2 miles.
It’s race day now. My very first one. I wake up at 5am, and don’t bother to shower, because who showers before running a 10k?! No breakfast. I put on my running shorts, race shirt, running shoes, and grab my arm band for my phone, as well as headphones. I would not be able to push myself to the finish line without music. Sunglasses too, as the race is at 8am and I have no makeup on, and I’ll be a hot mess. Oh and did I mention that throughout the course, even with 10,000+ people, they still manage to get at least 15 photos of you, and you alone. Some looking how any person looks running, and a few of something that looks like you, but it could be a really sweaty dementor with the same outfit. This is why the sunglasses are key.
You’re at the starting line, surrounded by strangers. Strangers all there to do the exact same thing you came to do. No one that wants you to fail. Shoulder to shoulder waiting for the gun to start. Everyone stretching every last limb. Everyone jumping down into the banking, and behind trees to pee before the race because the porter potty lines are obnoxiously long. The gun goes off, and you don’t move. There are so many people that you have to walk to the starting line, which takes about a minute or so. Once you cross, you’re on the clock. Even after that the first mile is a bit slow since everyone hasn’t dispersed at their own speed yet.
You’re on your way. Starting off strong, and confident with everyone running around you. Music to push you to the first mile marker, and the second, and all the way to the sixth. A water station with balloons and many appreciated volunteers at each mile. You grab two cups, one to drink as you run, and one to pour over your head. You keep on.
You get the mentality that you can’t go anywhere but forward as you were brought to the start by bus, and you have to get to that bus at the finish line in order to go back to your car afterwards. This pushes you to just keep running, because you have to get their whether you like it or not. Doesn’t this sound amazing? Don’t let my sarcasm fool you. It so is. You’re on your last mile, and your limbs are on fire, your sweating everywhere, and you’ve already seen like 5 people throw up along the way on the side of the road. You’re almost there. There is something extra empowering knowing all the spectators see your exhaustion, and know how hard you’ve worked to come this far. So you push forward, with everyone cheering, and you cross that damn finish line with the crowd going wild.
That first time I crossed the finish line, I thought I was going to collapse. But I was so high from running I was in a trance, and trekked to the food tent. I may have been exhausted, but very few instances do you get to experience that sort of high, and sense of accomplishment from doing something you were so reluctant to do in the first place.
Completing my first 10k, not being a runner at all, was one of my biggest accomplishments next to getting married to the man of my dreams. That high brought me back the second year, and third, and every year going forth. What was something that I once did with my former partner, I now get to thrive and do on my own with the encouragement from my now husband. Something I thought I would never enjoy, and now can’t stop raving about. That is why I run the Beach 2 Beacon every year.