As if I don’t have enough races these days, this morning I decided to “squeeze in” a 5K in the midst of a two-half marathon week.
A few weeks ago, Kim offered me a free entry into the Girl Scout Cookie Classic, and as I’m sure you’re beginning to notice, I have a hard time turning things down. Actually, I was pretty excited about this, because as a former Girl Scout, I thought it was awesome that they were having a 5K to celebrate the Girl Scouts 100th birthday. Okay, okay. I’m not gonna lie. I just wanted a free box of Girl Scout cookies at the end.
Anyway, the race started at 9:10 in Grant Park. Yes, 9:10. It was scheduled for 9:00, but for some reason they decided to start 10 minutes late.
I don’t really want to analyze the race too much, because I don’t feel it’s fair to compare it to other races in the city. It was an inaugural race, and the majority of runners were little girls under the age of 12, running a race for the first time. And their parents.
Yes, it was a little chaotic that the only organization to the start line was the announcement of “runners in the front, walkers in the back”. I anticipated this would be a problem, so I started much closer to the front that usual. I was still a little bogged down at the start, but I wasn’t pushing for a PR anyway, so it was fine.
The course was a nice little loop around Grant Park. I’ve never run that exact course before, but it was a nice mix of running on Columbus, the lake path, and back to Grant Park.
I’m sure the after party was fun, too, but with such a full weekend ahead of me, I grabbed my milk and cookies and headed home.
I will say this though – it was really inspiring to see so many young girls out there running with their parents. I think it’s great to get kids started on a healthy lifestyle when they’re little.
I’ve often said that I wish I would have found a love of running at a younger age. I didn’t run my first mile until I was 26, somehow cheating my way through high school gym class. It always makes me smile to see parents who are runners sharing the excitement with their children, whether it’s running a race together, or bringing young kids to the race with signs saying “Go, Mommy, Go.”
When I was younger, fitness wasn’t really a part of my family. I am a first-generation runner. And when I was a Girl Scout, we didn’t have things like this. We went camping and made crafts and learned to sew. But if I would have learned about running and training for a race, or worked toward a 5k badge, who knows where I’d be. Maybe I wouldn’t be a 30-something running newbie. Maybe it wouldn’t have taken me so long to discover running. And maybe I wouldn’t be as slow as a snail.
Either way, I may be a bit older than the Girl Scouts who ran today, but I still earned my Cookie Classic badge!