My first 5k
Saturday, June 11, 2011
It was fantastic! I got there about 45 minutes before the starting time and ended up chatting with a group of ladies that were training for marathons but doing the 5k for the cause (it was to raise money for the medical bills of a 5 year old boy that got hit by a tractor). It was a relatively small event - no race bibs or anything official other than a red "be drug free" arm band to show we registered. I'm guessing not more than 50 to 100 people were there and probably less than half ran it which was kind of nice because it was less intimidating than ones I've read about.
After about 30 minutes of speakers and entertainment, the race finally started around 9 am. I read that many people make the mistake of starting out too fast and then are hurting by the end of it so I made sure I kept what I thought was my normal pace. I ended up running beside one of the ladies I had been talking to and we chatted through most of the first mile. I usually run an average pace of 10 min 30 sec and this was a hilly course (although I normally run on low hills in my neighborhood) - imagine my surprise when we hit the first mile mark just after 9 minutes! I didn't feel like I was running faster than normal at all. The second mile was just shy of 18 minutes. One thing I've noticed on my long training runs is that the third mile is always the hardest - that's when I start cramping up but then I get a second wind just before the third mile is done. That's what happened today - as soon as we made the last turn I got the usual cramp in my right side. I slowed a little but remembered my "easy" goal of just running the whole thing so I didn't allow myself to stop. My "medium" goal was to run it in under 30 minutes - I kept calculating in my head what I needed to run that third mile in to hit it. Luckily the cramp eased up with the finish line in site so I was able to sprint the rest and finish at 28 minutes 33 seconds! When I had to slow down because of the cramp, the lady I was running next to took off and finished at 27 minutes - she said she's 50 and has already done several half marathons and is training for a full. I hope that I can be that awesome at that age! I had only seen one other girl in front of us pushing a stroller but I don't remember if we passed her or not and there were some guys that had finished ahead of us. I think that if they had been tracking it, I would have placed for my age group - and that was my "hard" goal (only achieved thanks to the small number of runners, I'm sure :) ).
I am so proud of myself for sticking to running long enough to really love it and today I got to see a lot of the training pay off. Even better was meeting like-minded people in the area. Those women I was talking to invited me to join them on their long runs and shared some of their advice and experience from the races they've done. One thing that really surprised me was the number of kids running. Many parents were pushing jogging strollers but also there were elementary school kids running on their own - one girl I didn't pass until after the 2 mile mark! She had to have been around 7 or 8. I would love it if I could teach my kids to enjoy running too. I know my son is already faster than me - he can out-sprint me any day! I know I can't force him to run but I can set a good example and maybe he'll want to pick it up too :).
Well, just a few more hours until I'm no longer in my 20s... I think I'm going to have another bowl of the peach cobbler I made from scratch. I can always worry about my weight again in my 30s but I'm going to indulge a little tonight and enjoy myself.