I completed my first official timed 5k on Sunday, May 30, 2010. It's about time I wrote about it, I'd say.
It was kind of a last minute decision to sign-up, but I decided after finishing the Couch to 5K program, I wanted to actually get a 5K on the books. Lucky for me I found one close by, even closer to my parents lake cabin where we planned to spend Memorial Weekend. As an added bonus, my parents both signed up for the race as well so it lessened my nerves a bit knowing I would have someone there with me to navigate the packet pickup, starting line, etc. I'm kind of a Nervous Nellie when it comes to uncharted territory, obviously.
I can tell you that packing for the lake and including a bag just for my running clothes and gear made me feel so great! I have never looked foward to a rainy weekend at the lake so much!
Unfortunately, I ended up waking up on race day at 4:00 a.m.! We didn't have to leave until 6:00 so I tried to go back to sleep, but I think the excitement was getting to me and it was impossible. So I got up and got ready, ate a whole wheat english muffin with PB for breakfast, and had time for two cups of Starbucks Via before we left.
The event was organized very well in that the traffic was being directed nicely to the FREE parking lots which were close to the festivities. It was all part of the Coeur d'Alene Marathon. We arrived just as the marthoners were starting at 7:00. What a feeling it must be to take off on a marathon! We made our way to pick up our packets which included the timing chip, race bib, and shirt. Now, why do they give the shirts out before the event? That makes no sense to me. Shouldn't you have to earn it?
Anyway, we attached our bibs and timing chips and made our way back to the starting area just in time to watch the Half Marathoners start their race at 7:30. That was by far the largest group. I watched them running by wondering if I would be joining them someday. It's an item on my bucket list, but I just don't know (more on that later). We now had a half hour until our race started and it was fairly cold. The wind was chilling, chilling I tell you! We found a place a little bit out of the wind, but it was still uncomfortable. But the excitement of the event was keeping me going, keeping me feeling upbeat and happy to be there!
We finally made our way to the starting line. The group wasn't huge so we got pretty close to the front which was nice, although I was wondering if we'd get mowed over by people. My husband snapped a few pictures of us lined up and wished us luck. The gun sounded and we were off.
Once I started running, I realized just how cold my feet actually were because they were kind of aching with each step. But soon my adrenaline took over and I felt okay. Mile 1 was the easiest, of course. Running on an unfamiliar course is hard for me, but I had my Nike+ coach to let me know how far we'd gone. I was just reaching the 1 mile mark when the leaders were coming back! Amazing! Since it was an out and back course, there was a turnaround at the halfway point. When you were running back, you got to see all the people behind you. This made me feel good! I was not the fastest, but I was not the slowest either! I was just a couple minutes in front of my stepmom and my dad was just a couple minutes behind her. Seeing them as I was running back made me feel so accomplished. I have never had a fastter time than my dad in a fun run. He just turned 60 last month so I guess it is about time I did so!
When I got to the 2 mile mark at around 22 minutes, I thought, okay, not much more. But the last mile was the hardest! I kept thinking they should have more markers: 2.25, 2.5. 2.75, etc. Instead it seemed that the last mile took FOREVER. I thought once I saw the finish line I'd be able to take off, sprint even. No. I just continued my jog until the end. But the best part was when you cross the finish line because they announced your name and where you are from! Can you believe that? It was a great feeling, hearing my name, knowing that I had reached my goal of running the entire 5K with an average pace of at least 12 min/mile! My official stats are below.
36:27 chip time
11 out of 21 in my age group
93 out of 167 women
142 out of 239 overall
The way I see it is I cannot be dissatisfied with my results at all. The only thing I would do differently is to leave my sweatshirt behind. I felt cold at the start and thought I needed it, but about half a mile in I was wrestling with taking it off, getting it unstuck from one of the bib safety pins, wrangling my iPod armband, and getting the sweatshirt tied around my waist--all without slowing down or walking. I'm sure it was quite a sight. But as to the rest of the experience, I could not have asked for a better one. And I'm so glad my parents were there to participate with me, and that my husband and son saw me cross the finish line. They were all proud of me, but not any prouder than I was of myself.
I was so happy, I even purchased my official race photo!
As for my future in a half marathon, we will have to see about that. I feel like 3-5 miles runs are doable on a regular basis. That is my goal for keeping fit. And quite frankly, spending an hour on exercise sounds like plenty for this non-exerciser. Running a half would require a lot of endurance and speed training. And once you get to that point and complete the event, do you just go back to 3-5 mile runs? For me, that would probably feel like backsliding, something that is a scary, scary feeling for me. After being where I've been and attempting to lose weight and get in shape over and over again, I just don't know what backsliding would do to my confidence. Granted, I might love running 13.1 miles and want to do it often, but right now I do not see that happening. For this reason, I am looking more at staying with the 5K-8K distance and training hard for Bloomsday which is a 12K every May. If I get to the point of wanting to do the half marathon, great. If not, I'm not going to feel bad about it. For this reason, I am officially editing the item on my bucket list. Instead I'm going to change it to "Run a race in another country"!! Hopefully this will coincide with my other bucket items of travelling to Italy, Ireland and Australia someday (probably not all in the same trip). Oh wouldn't it be grand to run 3 to 5 miles through the rolling hills of Ireland??
For now, though, I am looking towards my next running event which is the Cherry Picker's Trot. This is a 4 mile (hilly) run through orchard country on July 15th. I think it's time to start training on some hills.
I also can't forget to mention that this Saturday my son and I will complete a 2-4 mile walk to raise money for our local Humane Society. We have been collecting pledges for the animals and look foward to this fun event.
Afterwards I leave for a shopping spree in Seattle!!! I think I've earned it.