Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Contrary to what it looks like I am NOT speedwalking in this picture. I actually am running. Just somewhat slowly...and with minimal lifting of the feet. And I felt like a big dork but Dave made me put the medal on for the post race picture. I was so tired and weak that i couldn't muster a proper expression or pose. Sad but true.
It was only a 5k, but since it was technically my first 5k (that I was running alone, anyway), I was ridiculously nervous from Friday afternoon until just before the race. Would I be super-slow? Would I have to stop? Would I look like a colossal jackass? Would the race people even have my info?! This was a big worry as I just mailed the entry form along with a check, on the very last day "early" entries would be accepted. I did see that my check cleared, so I figured that was a good sign. It still stressed me out though because I wasn't sure how that worked, i.e. if I would get some sort of confirmation email or something. Apparently not. These worries plagued me so much that I actually considered skipping the race. The only thing stopping me was that I couldn't come up with any excuses that would not make me seem like a total crapbag.
Saturday morning we got up around 7, got dressed, had a light breakfast, and headed to the VA Center where the race was held. While we were on our way there I was slightly more calm but apprehensions about the race kept running through my head. I think I might want to get a lobotomy prior to my marathon because otherwise my friggin head might explode. About halfway to the race, I almost wanted to turn the car around and change my clothes. I thought, "Maybe if I'm not dressed like a "real" runner, I won't feel like such a jackass if I come in dead last or fall or do something stupid (as I tend to do). I can pretend I entered this on a whim, just for the hell of it". Unfortunately, there was no time for that. We got to the race around 7:30, I picked up my packet, got a banana, and put my chip on. It was a pretty small race. I have no idea how many people entered but it couldn't have been too many more than last year's - which was just under 400 people. I decided against wearing my ipod in hopes that I might strike up conversation with some peeps (I was secretly hoping to find an awesome new running partner that would whip me into shape and make me the most kickass runner in the 'Boro). No dice.
The race began at 8 and we were off. I wanted to make sure I didn't start out too fast and burn out quickly. I just ran comfortably, trying not to be too upset with the number of people that were passing me. The first mile of the race was on some sort of one lane service type road that circles a large field. It was really beautiful. There were a few dilapidated barns and other old deserted buildings off the side that were actually kind of charming. It was a very peaceful place to run. There was a water stop about 1/2 mile into it, which was surprising but I went with it. As I grabbed a cup of water, the plan was to kind of gently toss some in my mouth while running because I didn't want to stop. I tossed the water with a bit more force than was required and about choked myself, but I didn't stop. woo hoo. Just prior to the stop I'd started running alongside an older woman who'd met up with a friend. Their pace was comfortable so I ran along with them for the remainder of the first mile. When we hit the 1 mile mark I checked my watch: 9:52. Holy hell! MUCH better than I'd expected. I attributed that time to my unsuspecting running buddies. Unfortunately, just after the 1st mile, they sped up and as much as I tried, I couldn't keep up. Dammit. I just kept plugging along at my own pace. It was troubling how few people there were around me at times. I thought "Am I really going this slow? Is everyone up in front of me?" I tried to push those thoughts aside. I ended up stopping to drink a bit of water at the 2nd water stop. I took this opportunity to pick up the pace to pass some 6th graders who were just ahead of me. Haha suckers! The end of mile 2 was at the bottom of a small dip and as I checked my watch I noticed I'd slowed down quite a bit: 10:13. Oh well. It was still better than I had expected. The last 3.1 was more difficult than I'd expected. Fortunately, the last part was a repeat of the first loop and then some, so at least I had an idea where I was and how far I had to go. I had zero energy though and all I could think was "Oh sweet Jesus, this is killing me. How the hell am I going to do 9 times this? Maybe this whole marathon thing is a really BAD idea". At the last water stop, I stopped again. Damn. I'd always seen people pour water on their heads but since I had a hat on I didn't want to do that. So what was the next best thing? I poured the water on my arms (and shoes. oops). As you can guess, that did absolutely nothing. Oh well. I shuffled along, wanting so badly to stop and walk but knowing I'd be upset with myself if I did that. Finally, I turned the last corner and could see the finish line. I ran and ran and I swear to God the Finish line kept moving farther away. I had no juice left. A couple people passed me and as much as I wanted to catch up to them, there was no way my legs were going to move me fast enough to do so. I crossed the line at 31:16: well over 2 minutes faster than my goal time, so that was good. I felt like I was gonna die. My legs were sore and weak and I really thought I was going to fall over. It was pretty dramatic. Overall, I had mixed feelings about my performance. I was happy to have beat my goal time, but I felt like I could have done better. I wonder if this is inevitable?! It makes me feel like I definitely need to push myself harder during training because I thought I was running pretty hard last week when I did 3.1 miles in 32 and change...and I shaved over a minute off that. Next time I'd like to have negative splits instead of...positive splits (?) or just splits or whatever the hell you call it when each mile gets slower. My times were: 9:52, 10:13, 11:11.
My adjustments for the next race will be: 1. Warming up prior to the race 2. Not stopping to drink water 3. Having a running buddy or just doing a better job sticking with someone whose pace is comfortable with me (even when they kick it up a notch) 4. Taking pictures with the race characters. I was kind of upset after we left and I realized I didn't get pictures with the Doughboy or the Lucky Charms guy. Oh well. Live and learn. I hope everyone had a great weekend!
P.S. I must give "mad props" to Dave, who was the paragon of a supportive BF. He took lots of pics and listened to my worries and did a fantastic job of reassuring me that I'd be 'awesome'. He rocks. :)