I survived! Despite a steady downpour and chilly temperatures, I finished my first in-person 5k race on Saturday! It did not go at all like I had it planned out in my little head, but I will overlook that and learn
Packet pick-up was the day before, and I got the race t-shirt. I was not able to get my bib, so I had to arrive by 8:30am race day to complete that step. Fortunately, it was a small local race, so I didn’t have any hassles with lines. I was happy with my bib number (completely made me think of 501 jeans), but I had one heck of a time getting it pinned on (no, I did not run in a blanket like the picture above shows)! I can be a bit compulsive and it just would not pin straight. Eventually I gave up and accepted my lopsided attempt, lol!
Since it was raining, I did not bring my iphone. So I have no pictures of the starting area, or the starting line, or the finish line. Sigh. And when I say raining, I mean total downpour. Hard, cold rain the entire time. And then for the last 1/2 mile, it somehow managed to rain even harder!!
I envisioned arriving at the start, walking for about ten minutes as a warm-up, and stretching. Nope, it totally didn’t happen. I should have (see more below), but I was a chicken about the cold rain and stayed under the shelter area. The temperature was mild, but the actual rain was really cold
yes, I am whining. They called the runners to start first (and we left the majority of folks–the walkers–under the shelter). We were paraded up and got into place. I lined up in the back, and I remember thinking “How cute! They are actually going to start with a gun!”
I ended up deviating from my race plan too. I planned to run a 10:30 mile, walk for 30-60 seconds, run an 11:00 mile, walk for 30-60 seconds, and then run to the finish. Instead, I got caught up with the excitement and kept up with the group in front of me… and started the first 1/4 mile at an 8 min pace. Not too bright, and I ended up having to take more walk breaks than I planned because my quads were pooped.
I had expected some eye of the tiger moments where my competitive self would not want to be passed. By starting at the back of the pack, I didn’t have too many opportunities for that. I did pass a few people in my initial mile, but once I took my first walk break, they went by me (more on that below). I actually think I may have been too polite. There was a women in front of me for the last leg–I would almost catch up to her while running and then create distance when I walked. During the last 1/4 mile, I thought about trying to sprint ahead of her, but then I thought that would be a dick move since she had been in front of me the whole time. Maybe, I need to watch more Rocky?? Lol!
I am thrilled to report that I met not only my primary goal of beating my PR, I also beat my secondary goal of coming in under 35 minutes. I barely squeaked it through with a 34:57, but I will take it!!!!
- If it is raining, wear a visor and do not wear cotton anywhere! I had nylon shorts, shirt, and sports bra. My socks were SmartWool (fantastic by the way). No chafing issues. My visor kept the rain out of my eyes so I could still see.
- You should warm up and stretch. Even if the conditions suck. My shins and ankles are still a little stiff today, and I firmly believe it is because I did not warm up like I usually do,
- Keep to your game plan. It doesn’t matter how other people run their race. Do what is best for you and in line with your goal.
- Other racers will lie about their pace. This was too small of a race for corrals, but folks did naturally sort themselves. I went to the back of the group and indicated I hoped for an 11 minute mile, and I was nervous since this was my first race. There was an older man next to me, and he said “Oh don’t worry, you are going to be so much faster than me. I know I will finish last.” Nope, not accurate at all–he took off like a shot and it didn’t take long before I couldn’t see him.
- Rain will drive away many of the casual runners. The slowest time for this race was 36:19. I was not expecting to come anywhere near placing, but I was not expecting to run a sub-35 minute 5k and still finish in the bottom five racers :-/
- If you are not being chip-timed, you better get moving when the gun goes off. I cost myself a few seconds because I waited for the group if front of me to go before I took off–since we we did not have individual chips, there way no way for the clock to know that I didn’t actually start with the gun.
Overall, I am happy with myself that I went through with it. It would have been very easy for me to call it off due to weather, and I don’t think any of my family that came to watch me in the rain would have minded, lol. Instead, I sucked it up and marked a major “to-do” off my list by finishing and an even bigger “to-do” off the list by meeting my time goal.
I do have one question for the veterans out there. What is the line between encouragement and being mean? I expected to hear pairs/groups telling each other, “C’mon, you got this,” “keep it up,” etc. What puzzles me is the following exchange: There was an uphill portion leading back to the main highway, and I didn’t want to gas myself out so I walked it. A pair of women came up behind me running and one shouted to the other “You got her, beat her, take her down” and then they proceeded to pass me. Am I being overly sensitive, or was that a bit mean girls?????