Sunday, March 15, 2009

My first 5k - Race Report

Today I ran in my first 5K! It was the Shamrock 5K Fun Run and Walk. It was fun too.

I had no idea what to expect. Because it was a fun run vs. a RACE, there was a big mixture of people there. We had people running with their dogs and their kids, some in strollers, some not. There were people who walked the whole way or walked a lot of it. There were serious people who were wearing real racing gear with all sort of logos plastered on it and much less serious people in St. Patty's Day get-ups with google-y shamrock hats.

I put myself somewhere in between all these. I had on my running clothes though I did put on the event T-shirt on top, both for warmth and to meet the "wearing green" criteria. (The first 1200 finishers wearing green got a free lunch bag.) I started back at the 10:00 pace marker, but I think I should have started farther up. Even though my real pace is around 12 min. per mile. But I had to wade through too many people from where I started.

Weather:
After days and days of sunny weather, the forecast changed the day before to rain! I managed to convince myself that it would rain that night and clear in the morning. I was mostly right as it continued to mist throughout the morning, but not during the actual race. It was damn cold, too. I started out with my St. Moritz Ice Skating jacket on, which is designed to keep you warm in a 40 F (or lower) ice rink and was still cold. But after I warmed up, I traded it for the event t-shirt on top of my technical shirt. I was comfortable for most of the race, but was a bit warm at the end.

Pre-Race:
I woke up at 6:00, but really I never slept all night. I don't think it was nerves. But I'd been warned this would happen and to get a good night sleep the night before that -- which I had not done. I'll do that for my next race. I also woke up with a headache and a horrible pain in my chest and throat. I was worried I wouldn't be able to breathe, but the headache was gone by the time we left and the chest pain diminished enough that I forgot about it during the race.

When we got there, I wasn't sure what to do. Mostly I hung out with my bored family and talked to other racers. I finished my protein shake at about 8 o'clock, giving my stomach time to settle before the race. Fifteen minutes before, I walked around the block to warm up. Then some Jazzercise ladies showed up and started leading the crowd in Jazzercise. I figured this was a good way to warm up so I jumped in. And promptly remembered why I hate Jazzercise. So I bailed and just did my normal stretches.

Then I bounced in place every time I started to cool off. This got me warm enough to ditch the jacket. But it was still cold so I put on the event t-shirt in its place.

Every time I changed my outfit, I had to replace my number. I am so going to get a race belt for my triathlon so I don't have to deal with that.

The Race:
When the race started, I was psyched! Until my pants started falling down. I also realized that I had bounced out of my sports bra. So I spent the run up to the start line and a bit after that adjusting my clothes. I kept tugging at my clothes until they fell into place (but not to the ground) when I realized I hadn't turned on my Nike+. But I couldn't get it to find my sensor. Eventually I gave up.

So I was quite pleased to hear at the 1 mile split "11 min. 40 sec." That's better than I do at the gym! Where my clothes stay on and my Nike+ works. I tried to grab some water, but there wasn't a way to do it without stopping so I skipped it.

For the second mile, I tried to at least keep that pace, if not improve, but the split was 24 min. 42 sec. so I had slowed down -- probably because of the hill just before the split. It wasn't a horrible hill, more of a steady climb. Lots of people walked it though. However, I did the math wrong on the course, so I actually though I had improved. This gave me a boost mentally, even if it wasn't true. I also was able to grab water this time. But not drink it. Apparently there is skill involved. I just choked on it, so I gave up, figuring it was just a 5K after all and I wasn't going to dehydrate myself in three miles of running.

For the last mile, I wanted to push as much as I could, as our track coach taught us. When we got to the trail part, I knew we were in the last stretch. At some point, I heard a local say "there's the finish" so I poured it on, even though I couldn't see it myself, but it was sooner than the last 400 m and I ended up slowing down a bit to survive. I did push more than the first two miles though and, when I saw the finish line and clock at 36'10", I sprinted to the finish line, finishing the last 1.1 mile at 11' 39" - slightly faster than the first split for a total time of 36' 21".

That's faster than I've ever run the whole 5K and I never practice with hills.

I am confused though. I thought the race timing would have my personal time from the place my chip crossed the start line to the place it crossed the finish line. But my personal time is listed the same as it was when I crossed the finish line. Making it my time from when they pulled the trigger -- which for those of us back in the pack, was before we even started running. It would be nice to know exactly how long I did the race, but I'm guessing the difference isn't big enough to worry about.

Results:
Final time: 36' 21"
Overall rank: 585 out of 1089 - squarely in the middle of the pack
Age group rank: 25 out of 75 - top 1/3 in my age group. Woot, woot!

Post-race:
There was food to eat -- bananas, pizza and banana bread -- and the worst water I've never had. A band was playing on the stage -- blues and classic rock. I was starving and started wolfing down a banana before I remembered I can't really eat an entire banana these days, at least not at once. But I stopped in time, so no harm, no foul. I skipped the pizza and banana bread. I drank my own water and eventually finished the banana.

Then they started giving out the door prizes. I didn't win anything. I really wanted the mountain bike grand door prize, too. Darn. I also didn't place in my age group. But my time would have been competitive, if I was sixty. Heh. Oh and the kids who placed in the 5 - 8 age group all run faster than me too. (Some family with a stroller and a little kid smoked me on the race, so I wasn't too surprised by this.)

Then we went to the St. Patrick's Day festival and checked out some booths and rode the Tilt-a-whirl. Whee! The rides were too expensive though and it was freezing so we went home. Where I promptly took a nap. I was beat, probably from not sleeping the night before.

Next Steps:
I want to do more races! I picked up some brochures in the festival area. There's a 4 mile race about 10 days before my first triathlon, which also will have me running 4 miles. I think that might be good practice. There's also a 10K in October. Being able to run 10K at the end of the season will set me up well for moving up to the Olympic distance next season.

I don't think I'll bring my family to those though. It's too boring for them. They still have to come to my first tri though, boring or not. After all, it's my first tri!
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