Saturday, May 2, 2009

I Ran My First 5k!!!

So this morning was my first ever 5k - the 18th Annual River to Bay 5k in Victorian Island Heights, NJ. To say I was nervous would have been an understatement. Yesterday, I was practically jumping out of my skin all day. I got lots of great encouragement from my coach, friends, family and tweeters, so I filed that away to push myself on the run this morning. I wanted to get a look at the course, because someone had mentioned to me that Victorian Island Heights was pretty hilly (yikes!), so I headed out there yesterday afternoon and drove the course. It was fairly flat, but there was one big hill, right after the mile two marker, and I knew it would be my nemesis.

After taking twice as long to get home as it had taken to drive there (um, why did I decide to go anywhere on a rainy Friday afternoon at the beach??), I tried to get myself ready. I packed a bag of the things I would want, a sweatshirt that would stay dry in the car in case I got soaked, a protein bar and a banana, some water, my race confirmation, etc. I set out my clothes for the morning - my running tights, socks, sneakers, tee shirt, fleece and shorts in case it ended up being warmer than I thought. I checked the forecast about fifty times, and it always said the same thing - at 10am, 58 degrees, with a 50% chance of rain and 75% humidity. Ah humidity.

I was happy that I knew where the course was, and that I'd run in the rain before, but I was still nervous. I wanted to leave my house by 7:45 this morning, just to make sure I got there in plenty of time.

When I arrived, it was pouring - lovely. As I drove into the parking lot, I rolled down my window to talk to one of the guys directing traffic, and he said "You look like a runner!" Sweet. I have arrived.

I parked P MINI and headed into registration, which had opened early. One of the guys manning registration thought I looked like a "Carol" (really?), but we sorted out my actual name and I got my bag (plus free tee shirt! And free pens - I love free pens, they're all I write with!). My race number was 101. Now it was official - no turning back!

I cooled my heels in the car for a while, listening to some pump up music, trying to read the paper to distract myself, and posting updates and thank you's on twitter/Facebook. I heard the starting gun go off for the 1mile fun run, and 1mile health walk, and knew we were the next to go. With about half an hour to go, I found some pins to attach my number with, and hit the ladies room (along with almost every other woman there) before I walked over to the starting line. I saw that a lot of people had their headphones on, so I was really glad that I'd brought mine. I knew my playlist would calm me down and make me think it was just like any other run.
I backed up a bit in the group, because I wanted to make sure I wasn't run over right away! Everyone's advice was to start slower than I thought I should be running, because adrenaline would make me want to go faster, and I'd tire myself out too quickly. As we got closer and closer to race time, I could definitely feel the adrenaline racing and my heart pumping - I was so nervous!

Finally, the starting gun sounded and we were off! I forced myself to run a bit slower than I wanted to, and focused on leading with my hips, as per Miss Ive's suggestion. My body felt great for a change, which I think was definitely adrenaline! It was still raining a little, but that kept me cool and I just settled in for the run. A lot of people were passing me, but I knew I'd pass a lot of people later on because I was playing it smart and starting slower.

At the end of mile 1, I was at 10:47 - not bad, but not great. I knew I could run faster than that, but I also knew that I had that big hill coming up, and I didn't want to tire myself out too quickly and be forced to walk. So I just kept going and sticking with my pace and after about another half a mile, a lot of people started walking. I was happy that I was still running and it seemed my playlist knew I needed some great songs, so that kept me going too.

Mile 2, I was at 21:51, so I had an 11:04 pace for mile two. Again, could have been faster, but I was happy that I was still running and feeling pretty good. My hip was feeling a bit sore by this point, but with the rain, that's to be expected! Then, the dreaded hill was coming up...

My sister had pointed out to me yesterday that at least I knew it was coming, so I was grateful for that. A guy next to me sped up so that he could reach the top faster, but I knew that it would kill me if I did that, so I just tried to keep my pace up. My goal was to run the entire race, no matter what speed, so I focused on that and before I knew it, I was at the top! That same guy who sped up had to stop for a coughing fit, and I ended up passing him.

So then, it was all downhill (some of it literally). I knew I only had 1.1 miles to go, so I sped up as much as I could. After another 1/2 a mile, I was at 28:38, which meant I'd run half a mile in 6:27, a bit slow, but again, not bad. I really started to push myself and soon enough, I could see the finish line! There were a lot of people standing there and cheering as the runners came in and I could see one guy ahead of me. I really pulled out all the stops and ran as fast as I could past that guy (who turned out to be 64 years old) into the finish!! I unfortunately missed my official time, but since the race results are up already, I know that it was 32:47 - yay!! That puts me at a 10:33 pace, which is slower than my run on Wednesday, but considering it was a course I'd never run before, and there was that big hill, I'm very happy with it!

So out of 260 people, I came in 195th, placed 77/115 women, and 9/15 in my age group. I'd say that's pretty darn good!

Now, I can rest, but only for a little while, because tomorrow, is 5k #2 - the Hot Pursuit fun run, which I'll be running in with my brother-in-law. Apparently, he's nervous that I'll beat him...but he's a former marine, and a corrections officer, so really, the odds of that happening are slim to none. I just hope it's flat...

And a BIG THANK YOU goes out to all of my friends and family who have been so unbelievably supportive of me during this whole running process! I couldn't have done it without you!



    Funny thing, I ran my first 5K too today!! I think my time was almost exactly what yours is!! I'll know for sure later when they post it, but way to go Lindsay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. You did? That's so funny! I can't wait to hear what your time was - I'm sure you kicked butt with all the training you do and the triathlons!! A great day for 5k's!!

  3. Nice to read about other's first race experience. It brings back dreadful flashbacks of my first race (which I fainted!) You seemed very well-prepared, and it appears like it all paid off. Hopefully you'll do more races in the future where you can really push yourself. Congrats on a great race!