Monday, May 17, 2010

My first 5k!

This is how I looked at the beginning of my 5k, right before they announced it was time for us to go line up. I was nervous. Can you tell? So nervous that instead of my customary oatmeal and banana before a run all I could force down was a banana. A banana is still good, right?

Okay, so the SO and I work up at 6:15. I got dressed, went downstairs and ate my banana, while searching online to see if my bib should go on the front or the back. I didn't want to be laughed at by all the correct bib wearers. I heard it doesn't matter, though if you wear it on the front you can find any race pictures of yourself easier, so that's what I did. I didn't know if there would be race pictures or not, but I wanted to "just in case." (There wasn't, unless you ordered one previously, which I didn't.)

Did I mention I was super nervous? SUPER NERVOUS? My hands were shaking as I put the safety pins through my shirt to hold my bib. Lucky me I didn't poke myself, sheesh. Then I put my chip through my laces, three laces, to be exact. I didn't want that thing coming off. No way, no how. And then, we left. Off to Orange City to join the other 500 people who would be running the race. 500. I thought that was great. Too many people for me to know everyone, but enough for me to follow them when I didn't know where I was going. Did I mention Nervousness? I was very sure that I would lose my way and never come back. Ever.

We got to the race site and I just kept pacing. I was thinking about joining the organized warm-ups, but decided I would stick with what I knew. Butt kicks, jumping jacks, lunges. I felt foolish and didn't do anything except for butt kicks. Stupid Jessica. Next time I'll just do it. I was warmed up enough, but I think it would have just helped me calm down more! Then they called us to lineup. I handed my water bottle and fleece jacket to the SO to hold and left.

As I stood in a group of people waiting for the 10k people to pass before we lined up, I felt calmer. These were all people who were doing the same thing I was. They might be faster, they might be slower, but we were all here to do this.

As the 10k people passed us the organizers shouted instructions. "Make sure you run over the mat to start your chip." "After you get started, move to the right, you don't want to run over the finish line already unless you're hoping for a super fast time." "Run your best race." "Let's make this a personal best." I laughed at the last one. No matter what this would be a personal best for me. My goal? To finish. I kind of wanted to hit under 36 minutes, but I'm a slower runner. That would be shaving a decent amount of time off of my pace, maybe, but to finish, and under 40 minutes, that was my real goal.

If you look past the two lades (who happen to be former classmates, btw) I'm in the green top and gray bottom. Those lovely ladies helped calm me before the race took off. I had looked up the list of people who would be running. I recognized two names (thought it turned out I knew at least ten more people who were there) and they ended up RIGHT next to me as we lined up! They had just run a 1/2 marathon, ran there first 5k last June and were here! Oh was it great. Silly chatting, great talking. Oh, it's time to run!

Those two ladies took off, but rather than keep up with them at a pace I knew I wasn't ready for, I just pushed play on my MP3 player and settled into my pace. I was running. My stomach was in its proper place, and this is what I had down countless times before. I had run this distance, I had run this pace, now all I had to do was keep going. And I did.

The crowd thinned out and I kept my pace up. People who had started a little too strong were taking some walk breaks. People were settling into their pace. And I passed some people! (I did a little dance, mean me). I looked for a few people who were running slightly faster than me, and vowed I would follow them in closely or beat them. That was another goal. We were at mile one! Mile one? Already? Water was there. I wasn't really thirsty but though, hey, this is good, just a swallow. spilled have it on my shirt, part of it in my mouth, took another swig and washed my mouth out. And ran. Always running.

Aside: This course was described as "The course begins and ends at picturesque Windmill Park, winds through residential neighborhoods on hard surface roads and is flat with a few gradual inclines."

Gradual inclines my butt. I should have known as soon as I saw the course went past my old high school that they were liars. The course hills were not "gentle." And when you start up a hill and END up a hill, you should know what you're in for! Luckily I've been training on hills and as I started up the one near the school all I thought was "I get to run down, I get to run down, I get to run down." and it worked. I ran, up, then down and kept going.

I was a little thirsty, but it wasn't terrible. I knew they'd have another water stop at mile 2 and so I just kept pumping my legs. We rounded a corner and I saw a marker for mile 2. I looked for the water stop and saw a lady with a big cooler racing across the street. No. Water. They had run out! So I smiled at the people who held the word "sorry" in their eyes as we went by and kept pumping those legs.

It wasn't hot out. It honestly probably was a perfect race day. There was a slight breeze, the temps were cool and it was clear skies. But that lack of water was getting to me a little bit. Another hill. Then another. I got to the top and walked for about 30 seconds. Rounded another corner and kept going. Took another walk break. Crossed the street and kept running. I heard the girls ahead of me asking each other how far was left. I wasn't sure, but I thought six blocks, I kept that to myself. I didn't want to be wrong and get their hopes up!

Then my guardian angel came. I do say that flippantly in this case. My guardian angel was a man, around age 60, who was telling everyone who passed "Three blocks left." I heard it, smiled a HUGE smile and said thanks and kicked it.

If you look to the far right near the back you can see my green shirt, just rounding the corner.

And then I was through. I tried to remind myself to look up and smile as I crossed, but at that time, my no-oatmeal breakfast caught up to me and I almost stopped right there from a lack of energy, I pushed through, passed the line just over 37 minutes and walked to the left between some trees 'cuz I thought I would puke, not from the hard hard race, but from utter hunger. That's where the SO found me. I came up, big smile on his face, and all I, lovely 'ol' me, clenched his shirt in my hand, said "water" and was rewarded.

Oh how I was happy!

Then we went, grabbed a banana and some OJ. 'Cuz I was gonna faint!

So I finished, I didn't cry like I thought I would, I was too tired and too hungry and too happy. But I finished. I set out a goal and I accomplished it. I have no idea what to say other than I am so proud of myself. I am so excited that it was my first and there will be more. I am so excited that I had the support of my family and friends. I can't wait for my next race. It's July 24, by the way, a 10k this time :D


  1. Love the recap! I am running a 5K this Sunday and I'm getting the nerves! ahhhhhh!

    Nice work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Awesome Post and Awesome JOB!!