Until this week, I had never raced while on vacation. Sure, I’ve done destination races, but I’ve never made the effort to compete in a local race while traveling (for work or play).
It sounds like a good idea in theory, but that little “You’re on vacation, girl!” voice always wins out, and invariably I talk myself out of it. But I want to sleep in, but I want to order the crème brulee, but I want to have a second mojito—you get the picture.
Recently, I was in my hometown in Massachusetts for a friend’s wedding. The evening before the rehearsal dinner, I had every intention of relaxing on the couch. I saw a sign for a nighttime 5k nearby, and considered it, but wavered until the last moment. Half an hour before the race, I was sitting alone in my parents’ house when I decided, “What the heck.” I didn’t have a car, so I jogged the two miles over to the start, paid the five-dollar entry fee and lined up.
I didn’t have high expectations of my fitness level, but once the gun went off I was ready to go. After a quick start I found my groove. Before I knew it, I was at the head of the pack, and by the third mile I was the first woman—second overall—and stayed in that position until the finish. It was a small race, but still—so cool!
Even better, I met an old cross country friend who I hadn’t seen in over a decade, and the race finished at a lake that I ran by literally hundreds of times growing up. The experience brought back warm memories.
I jogged home satisfied and inspired. The race had made me feel connected to my hometown in a way that I hadn’t felt in a long time. It was definitely more memorable than a night at home on the couch—even sweeter than crème brulee.