Yesterday morning I actually ran a 5K race! Track Shack, the local running store, organizes most of the running events around the Orlando area, and one of the first races this season was the Celebration of Running 5K. I felt like this would be a good first running race for me to do. (These posts talk about how I got into running: July Goals and Journey.)
I woke up early in the morning, around six, and got dressed in my race day outfit. I know they say not to wear new clothes for a race because who knows how it will feel, but I bought some new shorts and that running shirt the other day and felt like they would be good for the race. I really don’t recommend doing that it could be uncomfortable otherwise. Luckily my outfit wasn’t a problem during the race; in fact is was perfect! After getting dressed I went downstairs and enjoyed a mixed bowl of Kashi Cinnamon Harvest and Vanilla cereal and a glass of water. My mom and I took a few pictures and then were on our way to the race.
I forgot my sunglasses initially and had to run back in to get them. Then as we were halfway there I realized I forgot the headphones for my iPod. They were with my iPod touch at home. I was totally bummed. I have never run without my music. The beats help me power through my workout so I was nervous about having to run without it. My mom gave me some words of encouragement and said I could do it and to just enjoy the things going on during the run. I sipped on some more water in the car and ate a strawberry fruit strip as we pulled in the parking garage. After we parked we walked down to the starting line. My mom was the designated picture taker and supporter for this race; I was glad she could come. I stepped into the 10+ minute per mile section and did a few leg and arm stretches to warm up. The race started at 7:30am and before I knew it we were off!
|Serious Stretching Pre-Race|
I wanted to make sure I started slow, so I didn’t burn out too quickly. I found a good pace and ran the whole first mile. Now I said I wanted to run the whole thing, but it didn’t end up working out exactly as I planned. During mile two I took a few short walk breaks. I trained on the treadmill about twice a week and once a week outside, but it was so very hot and humid yesterday morning and it made the run difficult. Also my sunglasses kept getting all foggy and I was sweating like crazy. The race path actually had us run by the Track Shack and there was a DJ playing some upbeat music and it put a bit more pep in my step.
|Racing to the Finish|
I kept saying to myself that I could do this, but the heat was getting to me. As I passed the second water station going into mile three I decided that I had to do the best I could. Unfortunately there were a few small uphill sections in the last mile and I ended up taking a few short walk breaks. On one of my last walk breaks as I was wiping my sunglasses and sweaty brow, I noticed the finish line was coming up. I started to run again, even over the slight uphill section. It got closer and closer and as I turned the final bend I picked up my speed and ran fast through the finish line. As I was running by I heard my mom cheering for me, which was a great encouragement to get me through the end. Seriously people, the heat and humidity were CRAZY and I was a sweaty mess when I finished, but I did it! My time was 39:35 which I am pretty happy about.
I grabbed a bottle of water, some recovery juice, and sample smoothie from a few of the tents set up after the race. The Florida Hospital also had a body fat measuring station and I decided why not get tested. They pinch the back of your arm, your stomach, and inner thigh; it was pretty painless. I wish I had known my body fat percentage before my lifestyle change, but I know that it is much better than it was. It was getting hotter and hotter as we looked around the booths and we decided to head home. I stretched a bit in the parking garage, because my legs really needed it. On the way back we stopped by Einstein’s and I got a delicious blueberry bagel with some reduced fat honey almond cream cheese to dip it in. I think it was the perfect post-race treat! When we got home my leg muscles were a bit tight so I did some more stretches and made sure to drink lots of water after the hot race.
So I didn’t run the whole thing, but I ran almost all of it and it was definitely the most I had ever run before (my usual runs are around 2.75 miles). I would say my Couch to 5K program was a success though. The run/walk method has helped me become a runner. I was a little bummed I couldn’t run the whole race, but the mixture of heat and slight uphills were killer, and not having my music was a challenge. This was really my first race that I have done by myself though, so I am proud!
|Tired and Sweaty Post Race, But Happy|
I learned a lot from this race experience. I now know what areas I need to work on for the next race, because there will be another one. I am already trying to decide when the next 5K I sign up for will be! I am still a novice runner, so I will continue to work on slowly building up my distance, working on my endurance, pushing through tough spots, and uphill work. It feels great when you cross that finish line. The work I put into learning to run was well worth it and I can’t wait to run again, especially when it gets a bit cooler. I think I have come a long way in my journey so far and this race is definitely a highlight!