Monday, September 27, 2010

My First 5k Race

Yesterday I ran the Capital City River Run 5k. It was an adventure to say the very least. I have spent the last week debating on whether or not I was ready for this, had a trained enough, was I prepared? The answer was a resounding no. Every day leading up to the race I wavered on whether or not I was actually going to drive to Lansing and participate. One day I definitely was, the next definitely not. Until Sunday morning when I actually rolled out of bed I still knew in the back of my mind I did not have to do this. I could roll over in bed and sleep til 9 if I wanted to. But by then I had made up my mind. I was going to do this. I wanted to do this. So at 5:30am Sunday morning my alarm went off and I got out of bed. I had already laid out my clothes the night before. Black shorts, my favorite pink t-shirt (it says Princess on it) and a long sleeve t-shirt over top. I knew I needed to leave the house around 6:15 to give myself enough time to make the drive and get there in time to pick up my packet and shirt. I got in the truck ready to go and realized that my lovely husband had left my truck on under a ¼ of a tank of gas. Crap, I knew now I needed to stop for gas and that the closest gas station was 7 miles out of my way, crap again. I drove to the station to fill up and see the signs on all the pumps that there debit/credit machines are down! Ahhhh, luckily I had cash on me. So I fill up but now it is closer to 6:45 and I know I am seriously running late.

I drive down to Lansing as fast as I feel safe going since neither an accident nor a speeding ticket are worth it. I arrive at about 7:45, and quickly realize I am not where I need to be. I throw a new address into the GPS and start seeing runners as I drive; I know I am getting closer. I park the truck, grab my music and start following the crowd. I quickly ask some guy I see walking if he knows where I need to go and he walks me to the start of the race, I never did get his name, but I was so thankful to him. We wished each other luck and I ran inside to get my race number. I got my bib and my shirt and headed back outside. I had 13 minutes to spare before the race was to start. I stood in line next to another first timer and we chatted a little. I kept thinking to myself, oh God here we go, I am never doing this again. Before I knew it they were signaling the start of the race and off we went. She had the same pace to begin as I did so we stuck together for the beginning. Eventually she got ahead of me and I needed to walk a minute to catch my breath. That is how the rest of the race went, I would run for a few minutes (I didn’t have a watch so I have no idea how long) then I would walk a minute. I ended up following a mother and daughter team that were pacing themselves the same way and seemed to have a watch on them so when they ran I ran. I barely remember the race, I was focusing on my breathing and my running and not tripping on anything or running into anyone. Before I knew it we were rounding the corner to the finish. I put on a last burst of speed to get to the finish line. I remember smiling as I crossed the line and thinking, that was awesome, I can’t wait to do it again. I didn’t run a fast race, but I finished, my official time being 41:14 for a 13:17 mile pace. I finished 70 out of 83 runners in my age bracket and 669 out of 843 runners overall. The numbers don’t matter to me, what matters is that I did it. I was really proud of myself and I want to do it again.

I thought that once I was done with this race I would cross this off my bucket list and never sign up for another race again. Now I can’t wait for the next one. Now I feel more like I know what to expect and like I belong. I don’t want to quit running I want to improve my time. My goal for next year is to run the whole race without having to walk at all. Who knows maybe by this time next year I will be up to running the half marathon? No matter what I sign up to run though, the 5k or the half marathon, I will definitely return to this race. The capital was a beautiful place to run and I had a great time. I’m hooked.

Only next year, I will plan a lot better. I will find out where I need to be beforehand. After the race ended and the adrenaline rush was over I realized I had no idea where I had parked. I spent 45 minutes walking around downtown looking for my truck. Next year I will make my husband drive me! He had to work and couldn’t be there. (bummer) My sister and her family did come down to watch me finish but they got lost and couldn’t find the end of the race. (That is a huge long saga there I will have to tell another time.) So I ended the race with no one there for me but really I was ok with that. I understood the reasons my family couldn’t make it and I know they were there in spirit and I would probably be more upset if it was the one and only race I was ever going to run, but I know now that it was only beginning and they will be there for some of the rest of them. Gary even said he might like to join me! Time will tell!

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