This is another post from the running archives. I detail my experience in my first 5K back in July, including horse farms, bad jokes and a little bit of vomit.
July 2, 2011
One week ago today, I finished my first race. I was
nowhere near the front of the pack, but I wasn’t the last one to cross
the finish line either. And I stuck to my goal and ran the whole race
Lining up at the start, I excitedly soaked up the contagious energy of
so many people standing still but poised to run. Of course, once the
race began, the crowd of racers spread quickly and I was soon in the
back third or so of runners. I did not have a time goal, so as I was
passed over and over I just had to keep reminding myself that I was
competing against the course, not the other runners. I think if I’d
pushed too hard in that first mile, I might not have been able to keep
running the whole race.
The race was very close to my house, but took us on a course I’d never
run before. Once we lapped Daffin Park, we headed down a side street
where I saw, to my great surprise, a riding stable and horses in the middle of town. From there,
we took the Police Memorial Trail – a small, paved path that wound through the woods. I had
no idea this wooded area existed in my neighborhood and I was excited to
discover a new quiet, shady place for my runs.
The first mile went by ok, but I soon became convinced they’d forgotten
to put out the second mile marker. Surely I’d done two miles already?
But then, there it was up ahead. I was tiring but determined, so for the last mile I
turned to the self-defense tactic of making jokes – asking other runners
if I could climb on their backs, asking the police officer at the
roadblock if he could give me a lift.
Finally, the finish line was in sight. I fell in step beside another
runner going my same pace and we began to crack jokes together. Eying
the group of spectators at the end of the race, I started repeating
aloud a mantra. “I will NOT throw up in front of these people. I will
NOT throw up in front of these people.”
Side note: do NOT drink a milkshake for breakfast before a race on a hot day. Milk? What was I thinking?
I began to pull away from the other runner in the home stretch, and then I heard her voice behind me say,
“You jinxed me!” I turned around in time to watch her throw up. “So sorry!” I yelled back. I felt momentarily guilty, but pressed on and kept my breakfast down.
Camille and Lee were there to cheer me on as I entered the Sand Gnats
stadium and crossed the finish line at home plate. I’d run the race in
36:48 minutes, an 11:50 min/mi pace. That was faster than
my training runs, so perhaps all that combined energy at the finish line
really was contagious. I was hot, tired and thirsty, but I was proud.
And I definitely want to do it again.