This year marked the ninth anniversary for the Netcong Day 5k. && it happened to fall on the 15th year of Remembering 9/11. It was so nice to see how well they honored the tragic event, and see runners sporting their red, white && blue. The last time I did this race was in 2011. It was only my second race ever. I remember hitting the hill at mile 2, and being completely turned off from running. Hence it never happened again until 2013 haha.
You know I sported all the American colors I possibly could. Stars && Stripes FOREVER! ❤ This was only my second time running this race, and you better bet I ran up those hills this time. For being my first race back, post baby, I was super nervous. Not that I don’t get nervous at every race. I don’t know why. BUT I had no expectations for this race. I was just going to run my race that God had set before me. Whatever happened happened. I was just so excited to be back out there.
The nice thing about this run is that it is super family && community friendly. Strollers/walkers/ kid runners; all are welcome. The course runs through downtown Netcong and around the Lake, through little developments and around the school. The weather was almost perfect. Hot, but breezy. The hosts of this race really know how to treat their runners well. They provide three water stations along the route. You get the option to food pre-race. They have wet washclothes available as needed, and lots of spectator support. And after it’s all over, you celebrate at the Street Fair. ❤
It’s always fun when you meet up with running friends at races too. We might not run together or finish together, but we always start together. These two are the absolute best running friends you could find. Never have I ever met more supportive loves then these two gems. Not pictured (because they haven’t been posted yet) is the photos of our Run4God group. But they too are my favorite people. I know I say this all the time, but runners truly make the best friends.
So this next part of my story makes me so happy. This sweet girl here ran her first race this day. You know how little kids tend to sprint all out, then stop and walk for a good while, then sprint all out, and walk again. It always makes me giggle inside. Well this love bug was doing the same. And about half way through, I caught up to her, and when she stopped to walk, I cheered her on && said stick with me. As we ran, I explained to her how running is about finding your own pace. So I told her to slow it down && stick with me. No stopping until we crossed that FINISH line, and no SPRINTING until she saw the FINISH line. She was cute, too. She kept saying, “How much longer”? I told her what to expect with every turn, and when we rounded that final turn at the top of the hill (the finish line being at the bottom), this little lovey took off. She was flying. I couldn’t even keep up with her. All I could do was scream, “Go girl!” with the biggest smile on my face. Later, I had to find her to congratulate her and say how proud I was of her. Her mother couldn’t have been more grateful towards me. It’s always the little things like this that mean so much more than any podium finish. Although, the two of us both took first place in our age groups. 🙂 ❤
So let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I may have taken first place in my age group, but my pace wasn’t anything to get all crazy over. Like I said earlier, I just ran my race. The race that was made for me this day. It was nice running without worrying about pace, without worrying about being the fastest, or the first one done. If this journey post partum has taught me one thing, its that my love for running goes way deeper than being the best. In fact, I hate that I ever thought that way to begin with, To be 100% honest, I couldn’t believe I placed at all. There was a lot of people at this race. I didn’t even place myself near the front at the start of the race. But taking first as my first run back is kind of cool. Just saying. ❤
Our Run4God group also took home second place in the team division. I will brag about that, because we are seriously an awesome group. We embody what the running community means. All ages, all abilities, all different reasons && stories, but together we all run because we want something more for ourselves and our Lord. After all, it is because of him we get to run at all. ❤
&& the medals spin!! 🙂