Ok, before I get to the details of my first official 5k, lemme just get this out of the way:
Are you shitting me? I'm still in awe right now. Despite the weather (foggy, cold, drizzly) and all of those damn hills, I (me!), managed to finish in under 30 minutes. Absolutely incredible.
I had my alarm set for 7, but was out of bed a little before 6:30. I wanted to eat a little something as soon as I could so I had plenty of time to digest. Had a scoop of Chocolate Superfood with water, half a banana and half a slice of Great Harvest Cinnamon Chip, toasted.
Started getting ready and got increasingly nervous and excited. Took a pic of myself (or my number, rather):
That's all the hot picture action I have for now, sorry! My mom took some shots about a minute into the race and then a couple of post-race shots. As soon as I get them from her, I'll post 'em here.
SO. I got off to a pretty good start. But after about the first 5 minutes, I started having all of those nonsense thoughts: "Shit, I wanna walk already but we just started! Who am I kidding- I can't keep up with these people! Ugh, I'm going so slow. Fuck, hill coming up. Should I walk?"
But I didn't walk. And I finished another hill. And another. And another. And I kept up with those around me which made me feel really good. They all seemed to be going at a reasonable pace (especially one guy in particular who remained my unofficial running buddy most of the time), so I stopped all of the nonsense talk and just did my best to keep up with them. Ended up being a good plan of action.
No real cramps. Had to be careful clearing the spit out of my throat a few times though. And, even though I thought it would suck, having a light drizzle actually made breathing easier and kept me from feeling dehydrated. Blessing in disguise, I suppose.
The best part about races? People cheering for you along the way! I wish I had people cheering me on all the time, haha.
Making it to the half-way mark was bittersweet because immediately after that was just one long, never-ending hill. I thought I would give myself a walking break, but then I remembered how I tackled the same hill the week before during my practice run without walking. I pushed through, kept looking down and before I knew it, the top was there. A few small hills followed, but the worst was over and I was in the home stretch, more or less.
I approached the finish line and saw my mom and Doug, cheering me on. The director guy was rooting for me as well, and said "That a girl!" when I started sprinting toward the last cone. I was a bit frazzled and happy and then Doug signaled to me to look at my time. When I saw a 2 in front, I couldn't believe it. I remember looking at my watch at 9:24 and figured it would take me another 10 minutes from where I was, but I overestimated, apparently.
Such a great first race experience! It really exposed me to a deeper psychological aspect of running; despite what I thought earlier this week, my body was totally capable of running that course in the time that it did. Running with a group of people just brought out a natural competitive edge. It wasn't so much that I was trying to compete with everyone around me, but their presence made me want to compete with myself, more so than I ever had on previous solo/treadmill runs.
I placed #48 out of an estimated 150 people, so I'm pretty pleased. My final time is what's really making me smile though. I'm genuinely proud of myself.