I wasn’t planning to do another race until Thanksgiving, but a little over a week ago I got an email about the Girls on the run 5k in Forest Park and I couldn’t help myself…I signed up. Then I thought it was going to be cold and rainy and considered chickening out. In fact, even the morning of, when my alarm went off, I thought…hmmm…I’m not meeting anyone, I could just turn over and go back to sleep. But I would feel super lame them, so I got up and put on my clothes and got going.
So, yes, this was my first all-alone race. Well, me and about 3500 other people. The Girls on the run is a program for young girls where they run and also do community service (I learned a bit about it when I was there!). I would almost consider volunteering, but I have enough on my plate (not to mention that much of what I do is practically volunteer work since the pay is so little), plus I feel that I give a lot to young children through my work (I have been giving this a lot of thought over the past few days!). In any case, this race was the culmination of the hard work for lots of groups of girls. I knew it would be crowded and I knew it would be the first race for many girls, so I knew I would have to have patience. However, I’m pretty good with that sort of thing (again, from my teaching), so I just figured I possibly wouldn’t beat my last time.
I picked up the race packet on Thursday from Big River Running. It was so warm that day that the table for pickup was comfortably set up outside. I don’t run as well in warm weather, so I was really hoping it cooled off. The forecast said it would, but also predicted rain, which I was not looking forward to (and again, made me learn towards chickening out).
Contents of the race packet. I finally wised up and ordered a “small” t shirt which fits pretty well. I do not consider myself a “small” person so I feel badly for actual “small” people who must constantly be swimming in their clothes. The red tag is for the timing—you wrap it around your shoelaces. The water bottle was a nice touch! Mike is constantly bugging me to drink more water, so more water bottles are a good thing. I
Okay, so back to Saturday morning. I woke up, ate breakfast, and went. I planned to get there early in case of crowds, and sat in my car for a bit, drank coffee, and read until it was closer to race time. This was a big race—3500 or so people! Considering my last two 5ks were between 200 and 400 people, that’s quite a lot. My goal was simply to run the whole thing (with the usual water table exception).
A couple different shots of the starting line up. The balloons were at the starting line. It was pretty windy (cold) so I hung back near a bit of shelter until it was truly time to line up. I thought I would feel weird being alone and not knowing anybody (you know, like people would point and laugh or something) but I felt great, and noticed there were several other people in my position. (Maybe next time I will say hi to them…or not…). I also knew that Chris, though he wanted to sleep in, would be proud of me for finishing, so that helped!
Finally we got going! It took a little to cross the starting line, but then we were running. The race was VERY crowded, but that was actually pretty fun. I had to weave around a lot, and people were weaving around me as well, but it was great fun to run with so many others! The course was much hillier than I was used to so I tried to go very slow up the hills. The water station was VERY slow, as several people got completely in the way, stopped, stood there, etc, but I stayed patient and figured my time was just going to be pretty slow. I got moving again though! Mile 2 was the toughest as far as being tired and feeling like we were just running completely uphill (maybe we were). I figured that the 3rd mile HAD to be more downhill, and I was correct. I picked up some speed, and finally the end was in sight. I pushed toward the finish line with all I had in me, and noticed that the time was just past 33:00..which meant I would have another personal record (or pr, as the “cool kids” call it.) I was completely spent and actually thought I might throw up.
The best part of the race was that they had the water/food lined up RIGHT after the finish, no delirious wandering around for it. I downed some water and some “vitamin water”, and sat down.
You can see I was super tired. I thought I was going to die, but after a few minutes I felt better! Then I went to my car and drove home.
What’s with all the 5k’s giving out medals?
The times/placement went up later in the day:
My time: 32:03 (10:19 mile pace, wow!)
Place: 612 out of 3254
Not bad! I am glad to be improving all the time