Sunday was my first organized 5K as an official “runner.” And it was more than a bit of a rude awakening.
I met up with my fit friend Jess outside Principal Park, as she’d been nice enough to pick up my race packet and my nifty fleece jacket. I met Jess’ friend Lisa, who’s a mother of three and has gone through a fitness transformation to become a regular half-marathoner. So, it can be done, folks! Lisa took this awesome photo of us…
We hid from the rain for about 20 minutes under the overhangs at Principal Park, then joined the crowds at the start. Once the starting gun went off, we shuffled slowly to the start and we were off!
I kept to my training pace, and tried to ignore all the people of all ages and body types and fitness levels who were passing me. I kept to my plan of running nine minutes, walking two, up until about mile two and a half. That’s when I noticed how far off my Nike+ sensor was from the actual distance I was running. Turns out my app is in desperate need of recalibration, and has been GROSSLY overestimating my mileage. That was an awesome thing to discover 30 minutes into my first 5K as an official runner.
But, in for a penny, in for a pound, and I just kept shuffling along. There was a heavy-set woman in a bright pink jacket ahead of me, and I made it my goal to try to catch her without killing myself. She was shuffling it out, and it was awesome to see her friends and family cheering her on and taking photos as we approached the final turn. (I tried to keep my mouth closed when I saw the cameras, so she didn’t have this sweaty open-mouthed redhead lumbering through her photo backgrounds…) I finally did catch her, and gave her a big pat on the back as I told her I’d been trying to catch her for the last mile. As the finish line came into sight, she poured it on and really ran for the finish. I tried to do the same, and was suddenly very aware of the yogurt I’d had for breakfast. Deciding discretion was the better part of valor (and really not wanting to puke at the end of my first race) I kept up my shuffle to the end.
The clock read 43:23 as I crossed over. Not exactly the 38:00 I’d been hoping for.
Nor was the 14:00/mile pace shown above what I was anticipating. I thought I’d been logging an 11:00/miles pace in training. (At least that’s what Tiger Woods told me through my Nike+ app after my runs. And if you can’t trust Tiger Woods…) I also thought I was logging about three miles per run (I wasn’t), which explains why I was so wiped out after running three ACTUAL miles Sunday.
But I got a huge pick-me-up when I saw a couple from my Bible study cheering for me at the finish. I didn’t know she was running in the 5K, and she said recognized me as I passed her. I said, “Wait – I actually PASSED someone?” Then I realized she meant I passed her after she’d already reached the half-way point and turned around. But still – huge thanks to Drake and Cathy for sticking around and cheering me on. That really meant a lot to me.
So, I’m not as far along as I thought. But I’m still farther than I was a year ago, a month ago, even a week ago. And I’m not going to quit now. Eleven-minute miles are STILL in my future, perhaps far in my future – but they’re there, dagnabbit. I’m going out to recalibrate my Nike+ device tomorrow, and I’m gonna keep shuffling. Because at the end of the event Sunday, I looked like this:
Next 5K is December 1. Bring it.