On Saturday March 12th, 2016, I woke up very early in the morning and was READY TO RUMBLE! It was race day for the Flushing Shillelagh 4mile Run/Walk, and I was about to take on the very first running experience of my life.

Before I tell you about my first race, let’s go back six weeks prior. My lovely ELGA co-workers at the Lapeer branch were all talking about the ELGA Wellness Club, and they were encouraging me to join in their quest for fitness through various activities and local running races.  My first thought was, “Absolutely not!”  Although I am an athlete, I am not a runner.  I played basketball in high school and college, but running was never on my list of fun things to do.  However, once my co-worker Brie told me that we would receive some free fitness gear and entry into the races if we join the Wellness Club, I began to reconsider.  I thought to myself, “Ok, free stuff?  Now we’re talking.”  After giving it more thought I decided that getting healthy wasn’t going to hurt me, and why not go ahead and give it a try.  So I joined the ELGA Wellness Club, and started training at the end of January by running my first mile around my neighborhood.   It was a bit of a struggle, but, I did it and it felt AMAZING!  I continued training throughout February, and in time, I was getting closer and closer to that four mile mark.

Fast forward back to the beautiful March morning of the Flushing Shillelagh 4mile Run/Walk, and I felt I was ready to run the first race of my life. The race started at noon, which gave the butterflies in my stomach plenty of time to begin fluttering about in full force.  I had forgot how the butterflies used to pump me up with excitement and adrenaline before a basketball game, and oh-boy, I sure had missed that feeling.  I missed the feeling of competition, and the feeling of team and family.  When I arrived to the race, I was greeted with exactly that: competition and my new team, my ELGA family.

What a day and what a race! When we first took off, I finally understood what the fuss what all about. The high-energy was contagious and the atmosphere was breathtaking.   The course was lined with beautiful homes and many volunteers cheering us on.  At first the competitor in me didn’t like that people were running so fast and passing me, but I was learning to pace myself, and soon enough I found my stride.  The first mile went by really quickly.  The second mile still felt pretty good.  The third mile was my biggest challenge, but once my adrenaline kicked back in for the final mile, I was elated.  As I came to the last leg of the race, I was surprised to hear my name being cheered on by voices on the sidelines.  My face lit up when I realized it was my Mom and Dad who had come out to surprise and support me!  As I crossed the finish line I immediately began to feel the joy of triumph; a similar joy I had felt in years past while playing basketball.  It was such an incredible feeling and it brought back so many great memories.

I am so glad I joined the Wellness Fitness Club, because now I am addicted to running. I would encourage anyone to give running a try, even if you never considered yourself to be a runner before.  Taking on this running challenge reiterated to me that, “You never know what you are capable of accomplishing until you try.”   Set goals, pace yourself, and you too will find your stride.

-Becca Hitchcock-

1st time runner

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