The next day, I looked at the weather (a promising sunny and 45°) and registered the both of us. The 5k was a predict your finish time and the closet person to that time wins. So, I randomly guessed, making the numbers easy to remember... 01:02:02 for the niece, and 01:02:03 for me.
The night before race, the promising spring weather started with 2" of snow, followed but some hail, and then turning to rain. The morning of the race, the weather showed a high of 35° with a possibility of a rain/snow mixture. Ugh, not exactly the most exciting weather for a first 5k.
However, we bundled up and kept our spirits high as we waiting for the start of the race. We made a pact not to run because it was just about having fun, however, we made the exception to run if we got cold, if we had to pee, and when we saw the finish line.
But, once everyone started running, the niece decided she wanted to run to keep up. However, 30 seconds later, both of us went back to the plan of just walking. There were 2 other walkers in the crowd and we kept pace with them for the first mile, even though the niece was already complaining about her legs being tired after 10 minutes into the walk. I had to encourage her to keep moving because if we stopped, we would get even more cold. She took the bait, but I had to reminder her that we were almost near to the water station. To her, that was her salvation! She was so thirsty and tired! She couldn't wait for that water break!
After the water break, we lost sight of the two other walkers because the niece was now dragging her feet. So, I started making up a story about Sonny the Leprechaun who had to travel up the hills, through the magical forest, beyond the mystic swamps, and forbidden tracks. Every time there was a challenge, the leprechaun would take a sip of his magic potion to make it through the challenge. So, I would hand my niece the extra water we took for the rest of the trip for her to sip on so we could make it up the hill, or through the snow slush, or across the train tracks. It was around this time, I noticed the person in charge of organizing the 5k walking behind us, picking up the orange flags that marked our trail. We made small talk and he was really excited to see someone so young participating.
Before we knew it, we were at mile marker 3, and the niece was now on a quest for Sonny the Leprechaun's pot of gold, but as soon as she saw the finish line and several people cheering for us to finish, she couldn't help herself and took off running for the finish line! I picked up my pace while cheering for her as she crossed the finish line, her final time being 01:05:26 (off by 3:24) and I finished at 01:05:28 (off by 3:25). She was the only participant to receive green beads for finishing, because the owner was so impressed at how well she did. We had finished, and she was famished! We headed across the street to the restaurant that offered us a free drink upon finishing. We celebrated with some Sprite and then filled our bellies with food. We headed back to my apartment and found ourselves on the couch with the massage mat on and watching Anne of Green Gables.
Though I rarely saw or spoke to the person who told me about the 5k, I did end up talking to one of the other walkers, who mentioned she started doing 5k's in order to make new friends. I volunteered and we had great conversation for 20 minutes before becoming facebook friends and parting ways. I imagine I will be doing more 5k's in my future, and I'm okay with being a walker, or coming in last place... after all, it was kind of our goal to come in last place because it was all for fun and for a good cause!