My first race!
On February 17, I signed up for the Lake Marion Sprint Triathlon and the Run2Walk 10K. The 10K was going to be on May 17, 2014 and the Triathlon was on August 17, 2014. To that point I had been dinking and dunking with a max of 5K runs on my treadmill in the basement. I started running on August 19, 2013. I figured all the dates must be a sign. I wanted something to take up my obsession after finishing the fundraising for the 2014 Prior Lake Polar Plunge, and I figured that if I didn’t have a goal that I was going to quit running.
On the day before the race I stopped by the dance studio (that’s right, dance studio) to pick up my race packet and to try to change my registration. I asked if I could drop down in distance and the lady at the front desk said it wouldn’t be a problem. Well, that was easy…
On race day, I wore a long sleeve t-shirt and shorts. I had never ran in a long sleeve t-shirt before, but it was a chilly morning and there was a bit of a breeze. I didn’t arrive too early, but I was early enough that I felt self-conscience about standing around. I did my normal pre-run stretching and also felt a little silly. Some say that stretching doesn’t do any good, but I always do it and I usually don’t get hurt so I’ll keep doing it.
The 10K runner were sent off first, and I kinda felt like a failure when I saw them leave. To this point, I had never actually run 5K outdoors. Actually, I had only run outside twice for about 2 miles each time. I briefly thought about taking off with them, but I was able to not be stupid this time. That’s something that I’m not always able to do.
When the 5K runners went off, I began at the back of the pack and started with a slow pace. I really didn’t want to end up walking. The race was an out and back on the same street. Out on one sidewalk and in on the other. There were three reasonably sized hills and you obviously hit each of them twice. On the first hill, I gave up on what I thought was a slow pace (it was still pretty slow) and started passing people. It was a charity race so there were plenty of walker and run/walkers. The run out was into the wind and away from the rising sun. COLD! My hands were nearly numb after a mile. I found my pace and kept going. At one point I passed a couple teen boys and one said to the other, “Did Tom Brady just pass us?” and the other said, “I think it was.” They were joking around, but it still made me feel good and it helped with the cold run motivation.
There was water at the turn around. It seemed silly to me to drink on a 5K so I ran by and started the back side. The back side was with the wind and into the rising sun. It must have felt like a 20° difference. At this point the group had also thinned out, and I ran by myself most of the way back.
There was one teen boy a ways ahead of me that had dropped from run mode to run/walk mode. He heard me coming and kept trying to stay ahead of me. I just kept my pace. I passed him on an uphill, and then he passed me shortly after. I passed him again near the end, when he had slowed. As I passed I said, “It’s that last tenth of a mile that always kills ya.” I meant it to be friendly, but I realize now that I probably sounded like a dick.
I finished at 32:10 with a 10:12 pace. I was a little disappointed with my time, but for my first genuine 5K run I ended up being relatively proud of my accomplishment.
I didn’t stick around for the results at the race; I just checked them out online. When the results were finally posted, I was listed under the 10K racers with a 5:12 pace. I felt like an idiot. I called in and got the listing changed, but still felt like an idiot.
There have been a few moments where, in my younger days, I would have quit running or working towards the triathlon in August. My first outside run was started and ended with my neighbor razzing me by “cheering” me on. He's a nice enough guy and he meant it to be fun, but in the past that would have embarrassed me into hiding. The same goes for the mis-listing of my 5K time. Now, it doesn’t bother me so much. I love running, and I’m not stopping.