…Running a 5K!
I’ve enjoyed reading other people’s stories, so I thought I’d share mine too!
Saturday night (the night before the race) I went to a family wedding. Knowing that I had to be up early for my race the next day I made sure to drink extra water and had very minimal alcohol (I didn’t even finish my champagne from the toasts). DH, DS and I were home by 10:30 and I was in bed by 11:30. Unfortunately DS was a little restless and wasn’t quite ready for sleep. He kept dozing off and then wanting to nurse, so I wasn’t able to fall asleep right away. I’m not sure what time I finally fell asleep, but I’m guessing it was around midnight.
At about 5:15 in the morning I woke up to go to the bathroom. DH was still up putzing around on his computer. I tried to fall back asleep, but I was so excited it was like waiting for Christmas morning! I got some rest, but no actual sleep for the rest of the night. At 7:15 I heard my alarm go off, and I was up and at ‘em. DH was sleeping at this point, and it didn’t look like he was going to get up any time soon – small wonder knowing he only had 2 hours of sleep at this point. I made myself a small breakfast (peanut butter apple, tea, one frozen waffle) because I knew I didn’t want to run without any fuel. I ate just enough to give me energy but not enough to weigh me down, and I had plenty of time before the race started so I wouldn’t be running right after eating.
I left the house a bit later than I planned, 8:12am. The race started at 9, registration/pick up was over at 8:45, and it takes about 15-20 minutes to get to the park from my house. DH and DS were still sleeping, and I admit at first I was angry and disappointed that they weren’t with me. I had been to the park before, but had never driven myself there (I had only ridden my bike through it and kayaked there, so I wasn’t sure how to get there by car – DH knows how to get there). I looked up the address online but when I plugged it into the GPS it couldn’t find it, so I just started driving to the road that it was on. There was construction on the highway so traffic was thicker and slower than I expected for a Sunday morning, and I was just trying not to get frustrated. So I was mentally cursing out my DH for not being there to help me navigate or cheer me on, speeding, and was just stressing in general. I was starting to worry that I’d miss registration and wouldn’t be able to run. Not a good way to start! When I got to the park it was so full that they had opened up overflow parking across the street, and I missed the driveway so I had to do a Michigan U-turn (boulevard turn) and finally got to the parking lot.
Fortunately I got to the registration booth at 8:40, and there were still a lot of people picking up their packets so it wasn’t like I was the only one. I noticed a lot more people getting registered after 8:45, so I didn’t feel too bad for being a bit behind. I had enough time to do a quick warm up walk, and a complete stranger asked me to take her picture so I did, and then she did mine for me. People always say that there’s a sense of community at these types of events, and it was the same experience for me. Everyone was so nice and happy to be there! As soon as I arrived I calmed down despite my frustration at DH and beginner’s nerves.
Finally it was time to line up! I decided to wear my headphones and I’m glad I did. Even though it was early in the morning it had gotten pretty warm, and the music helped to distract me from feeling uncomfortable. At the sound of the gun, we were off! When I turned my ipod shuffle on one of my favorite running songs came on and I had to remind myself not to go too hard at first and to pace myself. I still found myself actually passing a good number of other runners at the start, which felt great. The race was 2 laps on the trail, and a little bit after 2 and ½ miles I started to really get tired. Although I had passed a good number of people, a lot of runners were passing me too. I’d say I was pretty solidly in the middle of the “herd”. One of my goals was to run the entire race without any walking, so I really pushed myself at the end, and I’m proud to say that despite the heat I didn’t stop to walk! I saw a man who was at least 30 years older than me pass me by and I told myself that if he could do, so could I.
People were cheering at the finish line, and even though my DH wasn’t there it didn’t matter anymore. I was so glad to see it and I picked up the pace to sprint across the finish. Race volunteers were handing out much needed bottles of water and after guzzling mine down I stayed by the end to watch others finish and cheer them while I stretched. I saw people who looked to be considerably more "fit" than I feel I am finish 5, 10 minutes after me, which gave me a boost of confidence. Not in the "I'm better than you" sort of way, but in the "Wow, I've really worked hard to improve my body and it turns out I'm actually capable of exercise and fitness!" (I think my body image is still a little distorted at times). It was really awesome to see, especially when other racers gave it their all and started sprinting to get across the line too. There was just so much positivity! By the end I had completely forgiven my DH for not going with me, and it was actually kind of nice to have some time to do something by myself. There was a snack tent sent up with fresh cantaloupe, watermelon, and brownies (yum! I had a piece of everything), and we stood around munching and waiting for the results. They announced winners in each age division, and even though I knew I certainly wasn’t winning any awards I enjoyed being there to applaud others. There was a 79 year old man who ran it in 24 minutes, holy $hit!!! It was impressive and inspiring.
So, before I started, I had set some goals for myself, and I’m proud to report that I met every one!
Goal #1 – If nothing else, run across the finish line: no problem!
Goal #2 – Run the entire race with no walking: nailed it!
Goal #3 – Finish in under 35 minutes: KILLED IT! My final time was 30 minutes 58 seconds!!!
I had a lot of fun and I can’t wait to find another race to do! I think it could become a regular thing, the energy, sense of accomplishment, and positive vibes I felt while there felt amazing. Thanks for reading!