If you are expecting to read about some ordinary, run of the mill, boring 5K...then try some veteran runner's blog instead. Here you'll get the juicy details of a first 5K: trips, falls, and panic attacks included!
The weather could not have been nicer. Upper 50's this morning, and I got to enjoy every bit of the cool air as Karen whisked me to the Presby Dallas starting point in her convertible Mustang. I was feeling a little nervous, but mostly excited. We poked around the vendor booths, scoring some nice freebies. We figured out how to attach our timing devices and race bibs....two things I have never used before in my life.
At about 8:20 they started moving everyone into the street for the start. We stood there in this throng of people, and I could not believe I was actually there. It was surreal. I got my runkeeper app up and ready and before I knew it we were off! At the beginning, and for nearly the entire race, we ran right behind a pair of men who looked to be in their 70's. Yes, I said we were behind them. They were sort of our pace car, and we affectionately referred to them as "The Gerrys" as in geriatrics.
Everything was going well until a little over half a mile when I suddenly tripped over this stupid huge rubber strip of something on a bridge. I have never fallen while running, until my first 5K! I went flying across the pavement, scratching up my knees and hands as I went. Concerned runners asked if I was okay. I have to say it did hurt, though not as badly as my pride. It also made a leak in my plastic bottle of water which continued to drip water for the rest of the race. I got up, dusted myself off, and kept on running. In no time, we had caught back up to the Gerrys.
Besides falling face first on the pavement, there were other difficulties. Hills. Giant, impossibly steep, menacing hills. Our previous training involved about zero hills, so this was a shock to my poor legs and lungs. It was the last, extremely steep hill right at the finish line that proved to be the toughest. Karen and I had run well so far, but I could feel my desired finishing time of less than 40 minutes slipping away from me. I looked down at the runkeeper and saw the number 39. I looked in front of me and saw an enormous hill. I also saw a 90 year old woman in pantyhose and thought, are you kidding me? WHY is she in front of us? Did someone drive her over to this point and drop her off because there is no way she has been doing this thing faster than me. But back to the hill. I was tired. I could not see how close the finish was. The hill was terrible. I could see I was not finishing under 40. I started to cry, and my breathing got out of control. It was bit of a hissy fit/panic attack right at the very end of the race. I was just so angry with myself because as much as I desperately wanted it, I could not get myself to run faster or harder and finish under 40 minutes.
I think my official finish time was around 40:45, but I have not seen the results yet. After crossing the finish line, I laid down and finished my cry. Then I listened as Karen tried to remind me how well we had actually done, especially since 5-6 weeks ago I couldn't even run 3 minutes at a time. We ran about 80-85% of this 5K and we barely missed our time goal. After I blew my nose, I felt much better.
Plus, I got a really cute shirt. And TWO nice squeezy water bottles courtesy of IMA, whoever they are. I may not have finished as quickly as I wanted, but I have another 5K in a month, and 4 more weeks to train toward my goal.
All in all, I am happy with this first 5K experience and proud of myself for trying. I am starting to enjoy running more and more as time passes. I'm so glad I have another 5K coming up June 12, and I hope I have many more after that, too. I am so thankful for Karen and all the people who have helped me continue with running because of their love and encouragement.