I ran my first race on Saturday. Yes, that's right. I've been running for the past 6 years and never gotten up the courage to sign up for a race. It made me nervous just thinking about it. And I'd rather just run.
Some of my fears included--
being way too competitive.
being mad at myself for any lack of awesomeness.
having to go to the bathroom right as they say "GO!" or at any inopportune times during the race.
not knowing what to do--where to put the racing chip, the bib, all this fancy schmancy racing stuff.
having everyone else know that I don't know what I'm doing.
getting lost on the course.
But since moving to our new town, I've been surrounded with runners. It's fun to have a shared interest with so many people. It's been motivating. And brought out the competitive desire to race.
So I signed up for Pumpkins in the Park 5k. Pastor Randy and Jack were running this race also. (Yes, it was a costume race as well.) My only goal was to beat PR. No, for real. :)
Saturday morning, Kevin and I hopped in the car at 6:30, before the sunrise. I knew I hadn't really done anything "right" to prepare for the race. I ran when I felt like it during the week. I didn't really think about what I was eating. I just did things normally. I didn't want to stress myself out or hype myself up about this race. I figured if I could run every single morning all summer in 2010 and have it be no big deal, I should be worried.
I'm glad I took a chill pill. It seemed to work. It was always amazing to have my husband with me for the experience. There was a lot more down time than we anticipated which wasn't super fun, but we made it through. We sat around for an hour before the race. Then Kevin had to wait while I actually ran. Then we waited for the kids fun runs and the costume competition and then we listened to the awards being read. I was hoping to place in my age division, but I'm ok that I didn't.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
When it was finally time to race, I realized I did need to go to the bathroom, but the line for the women's was out the door. Forget that. I headed out to the starting line and found Jack and PR about halfway back in the pack of 750+ runners. It was freezing. (I like running in the cold, but I don't like standing around waiting to run while shivering.)
Finally it was go time! I quickly learned that I had placed myself in a very inopportune portion of the racing group. Placement is key if you're going to race well. It took me about 5 minutes to weave in and out of the crowds of people, past the slower runners who seemed to make walls all the way across the road. I was dodging puddles and potholes and racing around parked cars to get past the crowds.
Finally, close to the 1 mile mark I had finally hit my pace. It felt great. I had a steady speed. I was still passing people (every competitive girl's dream). I wasn't out of breath or in pain. It was great.
I ran that way for the rest of the race even up steep hills totaling 2 of the 3 miles of the race. I was proud of how I ran. I had fun checking out the costumed runners and cracking up as I heard someone say, "If you run past Gandalf, he'll probably shout YOU SHALL NOT PASS." (Oh LOTR)
In the final stretch I took off. I was full-out running. I crossed the finish line right as I caught my husband's eye. He was waiting for me, photographing me, cheering me on. So great.
My final race results aren't as awesome as I was hoping they'd be, but given my bad starting placement and the hilly course, I'll take it. (Oh yeah, and I beat Pastor Randy! :D Let's just not mention that he had a cold and hadn't run in over a week.)
I finished at 27:02 minutes.
at a pace of 8:43.
placing 18th out of 80 runners in my age category.