Thursday, March 22, 2012

My 2nd 5K!

Last Sunday (3/11) I ran my 2nd 5K. This one was done by a local running store. It was also the morning that Daylight Savings Time started. D'Oh!

I had the time wrong and thought it was to start at 8:00 so I arrived around 7:30. On the way there I had a packet of GU Gel. I normally get the kind without caffeine but, since it was so early and Daylight Savings Time robbed me of sleep, I decided to use the full caffeine variety. I parked and walked around for a bit and then ran into a friend from the local running group. We walked a bit - what I thought was going to be my warm-up since I was still off on the time - and then stood near the starting area and chatted. I also met someone new there and chatted with her as well.

I checked the time and it was a few minutes after 8:00. I figured they were running a bit late. Finally at 8:10 I asked when it was supposed to start. They told me 8:30. Oops! My husband was going to be bringing the kids up around 8:30 so I knew he'd be waiting around longer than he intended.

When it was almost 8:30 we went over to the starting area. I try to get towards the back of the crowd since I'm not that fast and it's race etiquette to do so. There were just over 1000 people in this race so it was a LONG starting line. This was also a "chip timed" event - and in this one timing didn't start until I crossed the start line. I was really excited about that since I wanted to see what my true time would be.

And we were off! It's always a bit crowded at first. We ran through the parking lot and behind the local Target. Then we got to the main road that we would be spending the majority of the race on. Did I mention that we were on the UPHILL part of this road? It was so cool, though, running down this particular street. This tends to be a very busy road and I've driven it thousands of times before. But on this day I was running right down the middle of the road with about 1000 of my fellow runners. It was awesome!

Being uphill, my hamstrings did start to tighten up a bit. I found myself needing a walk break before I got to the 1 mile mark. I've learned, though, that if I take walk breaks when I need them then my overall time is actually faster than if I insist on muddling through and running the whole time. So I picked a spot in the near distance and told myself that if I still felt like I needed to walk when I got there then I would. I still felt like I did so I got over on the side of the road and started walking.

Now please indulge me while I go off on a bit of a tangent here. Notice how I said I went over to the SIDE of the road to walk? That is proper race etiquette. I was surprised at how many people don't seem to realize this. There was a group of 3 that spent some time right in front of me and they would all stop to walk at once without looking to see if someone was running directly behind them. I was not pleased.

Tangent over.

I walked for a few feet and, when I got to my predetermined "start running again" spot I started running again. It was around this time that we passed the 1 mile mark.

It was also around this time that we could see that the pace car was on the way back which meant that we all needed to move over to one side of the road instead of being spread across both lanes like we had been. Right after the pace car was the guy that was in first place. Now let me just say that he is quite possibly the fastest person I've ever seen run in real life. Later on I found out that he finished the 5K in 17:42 which is a pace of 5:43. Amazing!

At least 30 seconds after he passed us, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. place runners came along. I spent the rest of the first half looking for people that I know that would be ahead of me. I saw a few and we waved as we passed by.

Soon I could see the stop lights where we would be turning around at. One thing I really liked about this race is that I know the area really well so I knew about how far I had gone and how far I had to go at any given time. We got to the turning area and there was a timing clock there. It was at about 20 minutes.

Soon I was on my way back in the 2nd half of the race. Now remember, the entire first half was UPHILL which meant that the 2nd half would be DOWNHILL!!! Woo-hoo!!! Now the really good part about that is that it's not such a steep hill that I really had to work hard at controlling myself and, in the process, winding up going even slower. No, it was a slight, steady decline. The perfect area for picking up some speed which I decided to take full advantage of.

At one point on the way back we passed a really nice, enthusiastic volunteer. We went back and forth with the pleasantries. He asked how I was and I said "Great, how are you?" He, too, said he was doing very well. It's things like that that really pick me up and put a smile on my face.

Soon we were off the main road and back in the parking area. Now this is a really big parking lot and the store is on the opposite side of it so I'd say there was probably close to a half a mile left.

As I was getting close to the store I could see that my husband and 2 sons were there watching. My husband got this picture of me:

My older son was waving and smiling and my younger was saying "Mommy!" and waving. Let me tell you, it was all I could do not to burst into tears at the sight of them, it was so sweet!

So now I was getting close to the finish line which meant it was time to MOVE! I could see by the timer that I was going to be in at under 40 minutes! I ran as fast as I could and stopped my stopwatch as soon as I crossed the line. I stopped at the place where they were cutting the timing chips off our shoes and then gratefully accepted a bottle of water from the guy who was handing them out. By my stopwatch I was in at about 38:30. This time the tears really did come to my eyes. I walked around looking for my family and, when I found them, very excitedly showed Rex my timer. He congratulated me and said that he had seen me cross before 40.

We stood around for a while waiting for all the rest of the racers to finish. My older son was registered to run in the 1/2 mile kid's run.

Soon it was time for him to start. You can see how quickly and enthusiastically he started the race:

He moseyed along like that for the first several seconds after he crossed the starting line. :-P

Then he started running:

And, since it was 1/2 mile run, they were soon on their way back:

And I was able to snap this picture of the timing clock about 10 seconds after he crossed the finish line.

Afterwards we took a picture of the two of us together:

Oh, and the shirts for this race are really cool! The adults got a green, long sleeved tech shirt and the kids got a green, long sleeved cotton t-shirt.

My official "Chip Time" was 38:11 - a PR!!! My "Clock Time" was 39:03 so there was almost a full minute difference between them. It definitely makes sense to use the timing chips in a larger race like this one!

It was such a fun day! I'm also thrilled that my son has decided that he wants to run in a 5K! We'll be signing up for one to do together and starting our training really soon!

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