I’m not a huge fan of running, but my love for outdoor fitness always wins. When I saw there was an all-women race in Central Park, I signed up on a whim because what’s six miles and change? Great decision on my part — it was one of the best races I’ve ever completed.
I don’t participate in races solely for exercise (or the participation medals), I thrive on the sense of community, sportsmanship, and empowerment. There’s something to be said about a group of individuals who leave their cozy beds early in the morning to get out and move. You instantly feel a connection with complete strangers, and these strangers soon become your motivators. The NYRR New York Mini 10K, the original women-only road race, was my first all-female race, and I loved it.
Women of all ages, nationalities, and athletic abilities painted the New York City streets bright neon with their attire. Before the race, I stood in the middle of the crowd with over 8,400 females surrounding me — talk about girl power! The trail started and ended near Columbus Circle, and covered the park’s circumference. Throughout the entire race I followed hundreds of swaying ponytails, and took in the GORGEOUS NYC morning.
So how did this race earn the top spot on my list?
It’s the first race I ever signed up for and completed by myself.
When I saw Well+Good post about the race, I wanted to be one of those women running, so I made it happen. I put myself and my body first, which is something I didn’t used to do. It didn’t matter that people were going out the Friday night before, I told myself there will be other nights spent drinking with friends. I wanted to wake up (not hungover) and be apart of something!
Not to mention I ran it with thousands of bad ass women; you can’t help but feel empowered running through New York City 8,400+ women deep. I never felt alone, despite not knowing anyone around me. We crossed the finish line together, we earned our medals together, we were handed pink flowers together, and we celebrated together.
I will admit, at mile four I questioned why I always sign myself up for runs when I really REALLY don’t enjoy the form of exercise, but I kept reminding myself I completed a half marathon less than a year ago. It kept me going. That, and knowing my other half and our dog were both waiting for me at the finish line.
And I obviously fantasized about the protein smoothie I would blend up as soon as I walked home. Rewarding myself with chocolate milk or smoothies (that are glorified milkshakes if I’m being honest) always get me through my runs.
Participating in races, whether they be obstacle or road, restores my faith in humanity.
They take me away from all the hate in this world and transplant me in an environment where everyone is working for the same goal: to cross the finish line together. There’s an endless feeling of positivity that flows like the sweat dripping off racers. And like I said before, I’m big on outdoor fitness.
Whether it be a 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon, triathlon, obstacle race…get out there! Sign up, get pumped, and enjoy yourself. Even if you’re running (or jogging, or walking, or crawling) solo, submerge yourself in the atmosphere and focus on your body and mind. It’s such a fun and easy way to stay active, and you get a medal 😉
I may not love to run, but I love the feeling I get when I’m running a race — both physically and mentally. This might have been my first 10K, but it certainly won’t be my last.
Cheers to living your best life!