Ava’s First 5K
I started running approximately 22 years ago. My husband knew that when he married me, running would be a part of the deal. One day we had kids, and they had to become runners in a sense, because they had to ride along on my training runs. The running stroller was filled with a baby and then the running stroller had to turn into a double stroller for my twins…. but how they loved those long runs along the river with Mommy pushing?! My family watched me cross finish lines, break personal records, meet new friends, train hard, recover from injury, and sometimes even fail. They saw me cross many finish lines from 5Ks to full marathons. I ran and that was normal; come on, it was life!
Then one day the coolest thing happened. My seven-year-old daughter, Ava, asked me if she could run too. I was so excited of the thought of a running partner living in my very own home! We sat down and searched for 5Ks. One of Ava’s main goals was to finish a race and receive a “cool medal” … in her defense, my medal rack hangs in our kitchen paying homage to all the age groups I have won and all the big races I have finished. We searched high and low for a race and came upon the Reindeer Fun Run in Aberdeen, NC. We are North Carolinians, but I was not familiar with the town of Aberdeen. In fact, Aberdeen is 3 hours east of my home in Morganton, NC. But, we signed up, for the “cool medal.
Ava and I trained together for 6 weeks. I ran her pace and pushed her along the way. It was a wonderful bonding experience I will never forget. Then race weekend came. I checked Ava out of school a little early so we could hit the road for Aberdeen. I was scared to leave late and be scrambling through an unknown land, in the dark. We arrived around 4:00 pm and easily stumbled upon the packet pickup. Ava told everyone “this is my first 5K,” and squealed at the sight of her very own Reindeer Fun Run antlers. Everyone was so kind and inspiring. It was magical! We left packet pickup feeling elated and settled into a local hotel for the night. The next morning we woke up and got ready. Being it was only Ava and myself, I had no cameraman and our only photos are iPhone selfies… but goodness gracious… they are great photos! After getting ready we headed to the race… parking was a cinch and we easily made our way to the starting line. I have never in my life seen so many happy and excited people! It was a race but everyone seemed so ready just to run and experience life — not to win and PR! At 9:30 the race started. I was flooded with emotion seeing my daughter start her first race. I even cried under my sunglasses. We met so many encouraging and lovely souls along the course. We laughed along the way and talked to everyone who ran along side of us. Then it was over. I cried again watching Ava accept her first of what I hope to be many medals.
Running in Aberdeen, although my slowest 5K, was one of my best experiences of running ever. The race sign-up is easy, packet pickup is effortless, the race is rewarding, and the after party is amazing! I have so many fond memories and encourage other families to check it out! Plus, you’ll look super cute in your very own antlers!