My first race

Who would have thought, at almost 42, I'd hit a milestone. At a time when my goals are typically to meet deadlines at work, keep my schedule organized at home and find time to relax and have fun with my family, I added a new goal to my list.

And met that goal.

Saturday, I completed my first 5k run, the Fayetteville Classic, in 28:29 - running a nine-and-a-half-minute mile. Runners always talk about breaking that five-minute-mile mark, but for me, breaking the 10-minute mark was huge.

Nine months ago, I couldn't have imagined running at all, except maybe to the store or out for coffee. I started walking on the treadmill for about 45 minutes, three days a week, then began jogging the country roads near my camp. Starting out slow but steady, I soon found my rhythm, and have never felt so good.

So, on that sunny but cool Saturday morning, I found myself at Beard Park, near Wellwood Middle School, pinning a number to my shirt and a timing strip to my shoelaces. My husband and I waited in the pack for the race to start. With pounding heart, I watched as the starter held up his flag. When the flag dropped and the gunshot sounded, I started in the manner my running has always been - slow and steady. People passed me quickly, developing their own rhythm, and still I kept that same pace, and eventually faced my first obstacle - a hill. I had run uphill before, but never competitively. Calling upon that experience, I hunkered down and "sat back" into the hill, which had worked well as I climbed hills surrounded by cornfields and butterflies up north.

It stood me in good stead as I plodded on. Someone nearby yelled out "we just hit one mile," and I couldn't help but be annoyed at this wake-up call - I though we were about half-way at that point.

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