Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Workout Wednesday - My First 5K

Happy Wednesday! As you know if you've seen my blog, Instagram, or Twitter recently (because I've been making a huge deal out of it) I ran my first 5K on Saturday. And, true to form, I am finally writing about it four days later!

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I know (now) that a 5K is only 3.1 miles and a lot of amazing/crazy bloggers run over 8 times that far in marathons. Is my 5K completion 8 times less awesome? Maybe. But, this was my first race! Of any kind! Ever! Unless I ran one in my childhood and it was so traumatic that I blocked it out. So prepare for way too much detail about how it went.

The Race

Saturday's race was the Anthem Great Pumpkin 5K held in Reston, Virginia around Reston Town Center shopping complex. We weren't able to make Friday's pre-race packet pickup, and I was sure race-day registration would be a madhouse. So I convinced the bf (who I dragged with me) and my friend Deanne (who started this whole thing) to get to the site an hour and 15 minutes before the scheduled start time. Turns out we were among the first arrivals and it only took about 10 minutes to pick up our bibs, leaving plenty of time for great pre-race photo ops!

After depositing our free pumpkin t-shirt in the car, testing out the new Lincoln's automated parking system (to earn a $25 gift card!), and generally killing time, we took a short warm up jog and finally headed to the start line. Race organizers had the line-up organized in order of speed, and we ultimately settled on the last/slowest runners slot.

There were over 500 runners, which seemed like a lot, but I guess is still a small race. It was pretty crowded, but the DJ kept things organized until it was time to start running, signaled by the sound of an Alpenhorn (it was also Oktoberfest).

It was a little cold and had rained the past few days, so I was worried about running in a downpour. The course was a little wet, but the rain thankfully held off. I was also worried about pacing myself (I was worried about everything) so I ran with MapMyRun on my phone giving me auditory cues on pace and distance every two minutes.

When I googled the race route, it looked pretty flat. It didn't feel flat, though, and the steepest hill was right before the finish line. Boo. Other than the last hill, the course was pretty pleasant. Not super scenic, but I was concentrating really hard and didn't notice.


My goal was to finish under 30 minutes, which doesn't seem ambitious but I'd never hit that during real, outside, non-treadmill running. I also told the bf I'd run with him, which I knew might mean running a little slower than I wanted since he'd run exactly twice pre-race.

I felt pretty good through the first mile running at my goal pace and staying together. A little before mile 2, the steady climb kind of wore on the bf and I pulled ahead a little. At mile 2, I felt like I was going to have a lot left at the end of the race if I didn't speed up. Plus, there was a woman next to me who reminded me of my mom who I started unconsciously racing. And she was beating me. So I took off and left him. Bad girlfriend. On the last hill, I could see the finish sign and sped up to beat as many people as possible across the line.

I ended up finishing just under 29 minutes, a whole minute faster than my goal time! But, I didn't feel like passing out after finishing, which means I probably could have run faster. All in all, still pretty pleased with my performance for my first race.

Final Thoughts

I really didn't hate running the race as much as I thought I would. Running in general is still not my favorite form of exercise, but putting a finish line and other racers in front of me brought out my competitive side. Running past people was really fun and felt like victory, even though I still finished up in 224th place. Plus it helped that there was a lot of food after. And beer. Did I mention that it was also Reston Oktberfest?

So are there more races in my future? Am I a runner now? I don't know! Excuse me while I have a mini quarter-life fitness-identity-crisis.

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