I love how exhilarating running in a race can be. The atmosphere is just so different than running at any other time. Nothing can compare to the excitement, nerves, and crossing that finish line. It just makes you want to do it again and again.
I had my 5K on Saturday and it felt like my first “big girl” race where pictures were taken and I had to clip a tracking badge to my shoe to receive my official time. The only other time I’ve raced was with the Turkey Trot which is very low-key and no official times are posted. Here’s the run-down:
4:30am: Alarm wakes me up
And I’m not happy about it. I let myself “sleep” through one snooze and then force myself up and attem. I take Dutch out, get ready, and then sit on the couch, looking at the race papers. I don’t eat breakfast because a) I’m so not a breakfast girl and b) I’m way too nervous to eat!
5:15am: We leave
The race is in Clearwater Beach, which is about 30 minutes from us. Plus, if we get there early enough, we can get free parking. And we’re all about that!
5:50am: Arrive at Pier 60
We find a free parking space. And then sit in nervous anticipation for the next hour. I read a little, we get out to use the restroom and freeze our tooshes off, and then I prepare for the race by pinning my number on and attaching my tag to my shoe. Butterflies are making babies in my stomach.
7:00am: Make our way to the starting line
One cool thing about this race was that the 5Kers and 15Kers run together, until a turn-off where the 5Kers leave. I’ve only run in the Turkey Trot before where all three races start at different times and in different places. So it was cool to be able to stay there with my mom before the race began.
There’s really nothing that can compare to race day and standing in the crowd of all those people who are active and fit, and even those who aren’t yet at a fit level but are changing their lives in amazing ways to become active and fit. It really pumped me up, especially since it was an Iron Girl race and it was all women! Talk about some major girl power!
While we waited there, an announcer was talking and pumping everyone up. Periodically, he would talk about one of the runner’s who had signed up. (When you registered for the race, you put a short statement about why you were running in this race.) I really wanted him to mentioned my mom because, hello, she’s lost 80 pounds and is a Serious Runner now. But then he mentioned a lady who had lost 150 pounds and another one who had lost 135 pounds. Simply crazy weight loss stories! And then, around 7:20ish, he said my name! And my reason for being there! I was shocked and may have even shed a few tears! My reason for running the race was because of my mom. She has inspired me in so many ways, least of all getting fit and becoming a pseudo-runner. That 30-seconds of fame was unbelievable!
7:25am: Minutes away
Once 7:25am hit, the butterflies were going crazy. I was so nervous! I was nervous about just starting out. I was nervous about being able to even run a mile. I was nervous about shin splints. I was nervous about cramping up. So I turned on a little Don’t Stop Believing by Glee. Seriously, it’s the best song to pump you up! I was ready.
7:35am: Race begins
Mile One – Running
My goal was to run my first mile, walk my second mile, and run my last mile. And I did manage to run the first mile. It hurt a lot. I wanted to stop so many times but I found the strength to keep pushing until I saw the first mile marker, no matter how bad the first hill hurt my calves or how many runners passed me. I was running this race for me, not to win any medals. I still had to keep telling myself to not worry about the other racers.
It was very, very hard to run that first mile. I was so close to giving up when I saw the Mile 1 marker. Then, I got a little cocky and thought I could keep running the whole thing.
Mile Two – Walking/Running
About 20 steps into Mile 2, I knew it was stupid to keep running. For one thing, I didn’t want to ruin my shins. They were feeling OK and I didn’t want pain to start before I began my last mile. So I started walking, which really hurt just as much as running.
I did run three times during this mile. One time when I was coming down a hill because it felt easier than walking it and the other two times were for the cameras. (Stop laughing!) The times I ran were probably less than a minute long, though.
I swear this mile felt so incredibly long! During the mile, I had to walk up a bridge. Luckily, I only had to walk up part of it and not the whole thing. My mom, on the other hand, had to run up the whole thing TWICE! Do you see that incline? That’s just nuts!
Mile Three – Walking/Running
Once I hit Mile 3, I knew I had to run. So I did. I started running, except the bottom of my foot, near my toes, was numb. Numb! It felt as if it had fallen asleep but tell me, how does a foot fall asleep during a 5K race? I don’t understand it! I kept running but then my entire foot fell asleep and it gradually moved up towards my ankle. One would think that running would shake a foot from slumber but alas, it just made my entire leg fall into a deep sleep. Honestly, it felt as if I were running on a stump.
Also in Mile Three was The Most Annoying Runner In The History of The World. I was running and she was walking/running. Every time I passed her, she would run ahead, get in front of me, and then start walking. She did this six times and it felt so deliberate that by the sixth time, I ran as close as I could to her and then got right in front of her. I think she got the message because the next time she ran, she was on the other side of the road.
I ended up walking for some of Mile 3 because I didn’t think it was safe to run on a foot that’s fallen asleep. I couldn’t feel that leg at all! I probably ran 3/4 of it and walked the rest. I did end up running for the last leg of it and zoomed my way to the finish line. I was happy to be done, but not too happy with the race itself. If only my foot hadn’t fallen asleep!
My final time? 44:54. I’m not happy at all about it but it gives me a lot to work toward. My mom ran her 15K in 1:54, which was awesome for her. She wanted to do it in under 2 hours and she did it! I was so incredibly proud of her and inspired by her accomplishments. It’s amazing all she has achieved in these past few years. We’re planning on another 5K on Mother’s Day to run together. It’ll give me about a month to get in better shape and I’ll be farther along in the Couch-to-5K program by then.
In any event, it was a great experience and makes me want to keep running and training to get better. I’m hoping to compete in one race a month which will keep me on the consistent exercise path! Some pictures:
Oh, and a video. This is my dog, Dutch, and an Aflac duck I received in my little race grab-bag. When you squeeze his toosh, Gilbert Gottfried screams “AFLAC!” at you.