Last Saturday was my first 5K. Well, I used to do 5Ks with friends in college, but most of the time, I walked the course. I was never a runner, and I didn’t really care about my place in the race. I cared more about the free jambalaya and drinks afterward. Typical college student, right? MUST.FIND.FOOD. 😛
I have been doing the Couch to 5K training program for weeks now, so I figured it would be cool to test myself and see how I could do. I didn’t have high expectations, because my current pace is very slow, but I was really hoping for a 45 minute time.
Spoiler alert: 45 minutes didn’t happen.
The day before the race, it stormed, which isn’t really a big deal unless you live in a place like this. The day after a nasty storm, it’s usually crazy humid outside. I thought that maybe 8:15am starting time wouldn’t be SO bad, since it was still kind of early, so I woke up, ate most of a Luna bar, some fresh raspberries and chugged down a glass of water. Then, as I was getting ready to leave, I got SO nervous. I kept thinking to myself…what am I doing? Am I really going to do this? Thank God I had my friend doing this with me, because I probably would have chickened out and crawled back into bed.
Then, I thought…hey, it’s just a 5K. In the middle of the summer. How crowded could it be?
So, my friend and I arrived at the zoo, and the parking lot was PACKED. It was a HUGE turnout, and there were so many runners out there who looked like they meant business.
I kept telling my friend “We got this…we’re gonna rock this”, but in the back of my head I kept saying “Don’t pass out…don’t fall…don’t come in last”.
Before I knew it, the race started. I put on my Pandora station, and started my jog. I was feeling pretty good, and noticed that I saw a 13:29 pace on my app. To me, that was CRAZY fast. So, I slowed down to avoid the burn-out. My usual pace is a VERY slow 16:30ish, so I tried to stick to 15:00/mile pace as long as I could.
For the first mile, time flew. I wasn’t staring at my phone to check my stats much, and realized that I was doing a pretty good job with my pace after I saw the Mile 1 sign. Then, around 1.5 miles, the usual zoo canopy of trees were gone, replaced with a side part of the track where we had to run through some sort of back parking lot. OH MY GAH. No shade…humid as all get out….and HOT. I was so sad to do this, but I had to walk. I walked for about half a mile until I got back under the trees, and got right back to running.
The second run was just SO difficult to get back into. I was hot, sweaty and felt like I was truly the slowest person there. I never turned around to see if anyone was behind me, but I felt truly alone at that point. There was one point around this time where I was running on the right side of the track, since I knew there would be mile 3 runners running on the same part of the track (yeah, the loops in this race were VERY confusing), and a volunteer shouted at me to move for the REAL runners (despite already being on the right side of the track).
That guy was the only volunteer who was like that. I have to admit, the other volunteers were truly wonderful. Even though I was one of the slowest ones there, they kept telling me “great job”, “keep it up”, “you’re awesome”…things like that. I really appreciated that, and every time, I’d try to muster out a “thank you” since they really did inspire me to keep pushing.
When I saw the mile 3 sign, I told myself to SPRINT. I can sprint 0.1 miles, and I figured it was just around the curve that I was running. I got super excited, but the curve kept going on and on and on…seriously. But then, I heard my friend. She was screaming “GO AMY!”, so I kept my sprint going to that finish. I saw my time as I crossed the finish line…51:06.
I was SO discouraged….like very bummed, but then I gave my friend a huge hug, and she said “You DID IT! You FINISHED a 5K!” My first reaction was WATER. SNACK. CHAIR., so we walked over to the pavilion where the rest of the runners were and I grabbed what I needed.
After guzzling down the water and slowly eating some animal crackers, I was so relieved to finally catch my breath.
My friend and I took a picture, and until then, I didn’t really realize how much I was SWEATING!
By the way, do you recognize this shirt?
After a few minutes, I decided to check the results to see how I did. I was 6th to last place. (yikes) However, on my Runkeeper app, I noticed that my overall pace was completely AWESOME. Way better than any long run I’ve ever done, and this race was almost twice as much as my longest C25K workout! 😀 So, that was awesome. And, my results can only get better from here!
My friend and I are already looking for a 5K to do this Fall, in fact!