I finished my very first ever 5K today! I have so many thoughts about it -- where do I begin?
First of all, it was a very well-run race by the Alzheimer’s Association. It seemed like a good turnout for a local race, and I hope they made lots of money to fund their very important research and support for families.
The most important thing I learned was that I need a pre-race checklist! I did okay with my prep the day before, paying attention to food and getting my gear together. I should have drunk more water throughout the evening – that will need to be on my new checklist.
I arrived in plenty of time to check in and get my number, hit the restroom, get a pebble out of my shoe, go back to the car for a hat (it was 48 degrees with a blustery Michigan wind coming off the lake), pin my number on, take a pre-race picture, go back to the car to drop off my goodie bag and relax before it was time to go to the start line.
But once I started I realized I should have checked my shoelaces – I felt like one might come untied during the race. And I forgot to put on lip balm – my lips dry out when I run. Those things are kind of more important than a pre-race picture!
When our group went to the start line (after the 10K group had already taken off), I was in the middle of the pack of 60 or so 5K runners/walkers. I expected an announcement and/or countdown. But one minute we were milling about, and the next minute we were taking off! And boy, did people take off! I was quickly left behind by most of the 5K runners, even though we had an uphill start – welcome to the world of running!
I was huffing and puffing a little because of the uphill start, but I quickly got into my normal running pace. And I kept it steady during the first mile. After the first mile I picked up the pace a little, but generally stayed near the few people that were running near me. I have to admit I couldn’t really see any casual walkers behind me, but I was hoping there were some back there so I wouldn’t finish last!
After the turnaround at 1.5K, I honestly was thinking I would never make the 13 miles at Disney. Even though I’m up to running 5-6 miles on the treadmill, and I had run 2-3 miles outside twice before this race, and all my running has been under a 15-minute mile pace, those doubts crossed my mind.
Now I was in a real race and I knew where I was in the pack, so it was a good dose of the reality. I was doubting whether I could really finish the Disney race, but I also focused on the fact that I still have six months left for more training! And I also realized I really need to run a 10K next, probably in September, to prepare me for the big race.
Not too long after that, I could see we were in sight of the finish line. And I was happy with my pace, and feeling okay. And for a minute, as I was nearing the finish line, I imagined what it would be like at Disney World. It will be fantabulous!!
I had hoped to do the 5K in under 40 minutes, and I ended up finishing in 39 minutes! I averaged 12.2 minute miles, which I am very happy with. It was definitely a good experience, and when it was over, I definitely wanted to do another one – but not next weekend! I think I’ll look for another 5K race in June.