Last night I did it. After wimping out last week, last night I went to the track meet and actually "competed."
I have to use quotes because my performances didn't really count as a competition. But I paid the money, pinned on the bib, and toed the line for several events (and crossed the finish line each time). That alone is an improvement over last week.
First off, I ran in maybe the second heat of the 1500. My friend's fiancé was easily talked into running it with me. That was so sweet of him. She wasn't there yet, and he knew I had to figuratively close my eyes and jump, so he stayed with me. I was dead last. Not sure he was braced for that, but oh he was such a good sport. So event one, I end up in last place (but admittedly, it wasn't the first heat). But my time was disappointingly slow. More than 15 seconds slower than my mile time should be (and 1500 is shorter than a mile!). I'm feeling very out of shape. But the only way to get back is to make myself do stuff like this.
Next up was 100 meters. And I pulled along the same guy to run with me. His fiancee still wasn't at the meet, nor was my husband, and he let himself be talked into running that event as well. He didn't run with me, but we both lined up in the same heat. The first several heats were kids sorted by age, all under 10, then 10, then 11, etc. up to about age 13, then he called for "anyone who is not a pure sprinter." I raised my hand very high, and so did my friend's fiance. So we lined up (not using starting blocks) and the gun went off. It was possibly the most fun, mostly because it was over so fast. There's no real thinking. You just pump your arms and run like crazy. I kept pace with a pretty old guy near me (think he beat me), but apparently there may have been a woman behind me. It was the most I've ever felt like a kid while running. It reminded me of running as fast as possible to get away from my brothers, just out of control running as fast as humanly possible. Tons of fun.
Then, since I was on a roll, I asked another friend to join me for the 800 meters. That was tough. The 800 has always been my weakest event. They did a "waterfall start" where we all lined up along a curved line around the track, then everyone could gradually move into lane 1. I started off just a step behind a very young boy in lane 1. I stayed behind him until about 500 meters, then passed him. Then I set my sights on am older guy, and passed him around 650 meters. One friend was directly in front of me, but I couldn't catch her, and her fiancé was way ahead. And one friend was just behind me, but very close. And there were tons of people in front of us. The run was just painful and fairly slow, but it is what it is. The 800 is one of the few events that repeats every single week, so I'll have several more chances to beat my time from last night.
Then for unknown reasons, I opted for a final event -- 200 meters. We started staggered around the track. Me and three friends, and 4 people we didn't know. I was in lane 5. Within about 3 seconds of the gun, lane 4 shot past me. Crazy fast! I finished even with one friend, tied for last in the heat. But smiling. The 200 was hard too, harder than the 100 I thought. I couldn't believe how much I was huffing and puffing at the end. But so glad I'd done it! And my friends were glad too, including glad I'd talked them into doing events they hadn't wanted to do.
So my performance was far from remarkable, but it was insanely fun. Hubby said he'll run next week (he really wants to try the 100, he's more of a sprinter), as well as another friend who spectated this week. So that means next week my group of friends will be at least 6 of us. That's almost enough that we could do our own heat in some events!
So my goal is to show up and run the next three weeks of this meet, and I'll hopefully beat a couple of my times from tonight. Glad I did it and didn't let myself get too freaked out. It was odd being one of the slowest people there, but the only way to get faster is to try! And really, it doesn't matter to me even if I end up always being last. I mean, my goal isn't to be a good sprinter, my goal is to get rid of this weight that has crept up the last couple months, and to get my long run pace to start to feel easier. Oh, and to have fun! 3 more weeks of track meets should help with all of those goals.