Well, this morning was my second-ever 5K…and I blew it out of the water TOTALLY unexpectedly!
The morning started off nicely. It was about 50 degrees and cloudy, so great weather for running. T and I decided to bring Milhouse to the race to hopefully tire him out for the rest of the day. When we got there, I picked up my packet and we waited around for a little while. Since this was the Jingle Bell Run, lots of people were decked out in Christmas attire and I was instructed by the race packet pickup guy that I had to pin jingle bells to my bib. (I did, but man, by mile two I was about ready to rip those things off. Talk about annoying!)
We had some time, so we took a fambly photo:
Milhouse very kindly sat for the picture like we asked, but the wrong direction. Oh well.
The Christmas decorations were in full force. I love Christmas:
Milhouse was excited to pee on the biggest tree he’s ever seen:
He was a very good dog and got lots of love from people. Everyone thinks he’s a puppy, though! He’s 19 pounds, which means he’s a tiny beagle, but he is definitely full grown. Poor guy.
Anyway, the race got started shortly thereafter. I knew there were going to be a lot of walkers and people for the 1 mile “fun stroll” so I lined up near the front. I was not a fan–I started out WAY too fast and had to slow down. It was really de-motivating to be passed by lots of people!
When the starting horn went off, the scariest thing happened–a guy towards the front tripped and fell and was literally trampled right in front of me. He was shrieking in the fetal position. It was really scary, BUT he must have been okay because I saw him pass me about ten minutes later!
I was also thrown off because there was no starting mat for chip timing, even though there was one at the end. I’m assuming they just started all the chips at the gun, which is fine because I was near the front.
Anyway, the first mile was sad because I kept getting passed. However, I did make the good decision NOT to wear an iPod–I honestly think that running without music forces me to focus on my breathing and lets me push harder. So, thumbs up for that strategy.
T got a good picture of me around mile 1.25 or so:
Around mile 1.5 I could feel the asthma coming on. My throat was closing and I felt like I was underwater and my chest hurt. So, I did what I had to do–I slowed to a walk for about 30 seconds through the aid station. I said, “forget about the sub-30:00 goal, just finish upright and running.”
At about 15 minutes in I seriously considered quitting. I was in a lot of pain in my lungs/chest and my heart rate had spiked to the high 190s. Instead, I just slowed my pace. I also thought about Caitlin’s motto: “Pain is temporary, quitting is forever.” And I did not want to have to chalk this up as a quit. I just kept telling myself, “You’re halfway done…you’re halfway done…” until it turned into “you’re two-thirds done…you’re two thirds done…” and “half a mile to go…half a mile to go…”
Around mile 2.25 I had to take another quick walk break, about 30 seconds, up a killer hill. I didn’t realize how fast I’d been running, so I thought I was doing 10:00 miles and the walk breaks would kill my sub-30:00 goal.
But…I turned the corner for the last .1 sprint and saw 27:55 and thought, “What the eff? That’s weird.” I then realized that I’d paced myself with the fast runners unintentionally since I started up front, meaning that the walk breaks weren’t an issue. Here’s me at the end. I’m a blur I’m so fast!
My final chip time isn’t in yet, but I think it’s 28:45! (EDIT: Final chip time was 28:51!) I feel incredible about this. This race was really a struggle for me, and at the end my lungs hurt so bad I could barely walk. But, now after a shower and and my inhaler, I feel great. I feel bad that I totally forgot my inhaler at home, but I’m new to this whole asthma thing so in the future I definitely will.
Another victory? A race shirt that ISN’T horrendously ugly.
The logo is a little bit obnoxious, but at least it’s white and not pumpkin orange or chimp-poo brown!
Anyway, that’s it for me racing for a little while. There isn’t much to choose from around here in December and January. I did just register for my first 10K at the end of January–the Children’s TLC Groundhog 10K. I am a sucker for races in interesting locations, and this fits the bill–it’s a totally underground indoor race in one of the largest underground structures in the world. Cool! I am also looking forward to not having to race in ice and snow. Also, I am a nerd and ordered the tech shirt for the race, because it was only $20 and it’s my first 10K and it is navy and cute. And I’ve never been in a race that offered a tech shirt before! Anyway, so that’s what’s on deck–I’m also looking at a 5K on Valentine’s Day. Hopefully I’ll find a few more races that will help prep me for my half marathon in April!
What’s been your hardest race experience? Were you happy with the results in the end?