I ran in my second 5k race on Saturday, and it took place at the local YMCA. I was really excited the night before the race and took great care in selecting a playlist that had the perfect blend of uptempo songs to carry me through. I wasn’t too worried about the race itself but was anxious to beat my previous 5k time of 34:19. I felt that my chances of this were fairly good, since I am a more experienced runner now, and the weather was predicted to be cloud and cool–great running conditions.
We got to the race site around 8:30 a.m., 30 minutes before start time. After checking in and getting my free stuff, including a long-sleeved shirt (score!), we hung out for a while, I went to the bathroom twice (just to be sure!), and I realized that it was quite chilly outside. I had a debate in my head about whether or not to wear my jacket on the run, but I finally decided to go without it and hope for the best. Around 5 minutes before the race, someone called for all the runners to head to the starting line, which was at the base of a small hill by the Y. As we were walking down there, I heard a woman talking about how she was sure the men were just going to breeze past her as she “trudged” across the finish line in 27 minutes. I turned around and said, “I”m a lot slower than that, so you’ll be fine.” I know that for experienced runners, 27 minutes isn’t a great 5k time, but it would be a DREAM time for me, so it kind of annoys me when people talk like that’s a turtle pace or something.
Anyway, there were only about 50 people at this race, so we just kind of assembled in a random bunch, and then we were off. Just like last time, I started too fast, but I tried to then slow up a bit so as not to wear myself out. I definitely felt the chill in the air as I ran (I think it was about 50 degrees), and the wind blowing didn’t help matters, but I just hoped I would warm up (and I did–fairly quickly). When the second song started playing, I realized I had forgotten to take my iPod off shuffle, so none of my carefully selected songs played in the order I had intended. Oh well!
It wasn’t too long before I realized that something odd had happened: I was practically running by myself. There was a group of runners ahead of me, barely within sight, and then there was a group of runners behind me, and then I was all by myself, apparently running at some bizarre, in-between pace! It was like that for the first 15 or 20 minutes, and while it was a little weird to me, I didn’t mind it too much. The first mile came and went, and when I realized I had completed it in 10:30, I was elated. I was sure to beat my previous time if I could keep up this pace.
Then the hills came.
I thought the last 5k I ran had some bad hills, but this course had even steeper ones. There weren’t as many as in the last course, but the ones there were were long and steep. I started out trying to jog up them, but had to stop to walk a bit, and then I would try and run really quickly down them. As I was going down a particularly steep hill, I saw the first of the runners coming back up, and I groaned inwardly, realizing that I too would have to go back up the hill. I hit mile 2 at exactly 22 minutes in, and I realized I was losing ground, but I knew I had to deal with more hills, so I just focused on my breathing and tried not to be discouraged. Mile 3, just like my last race, seemed to last the longest, and technically it did because it was my slowest mile. The hills just took it out of me, I once again choked on the water offered at the water station, and my chest started burning from the cold. I took several walking breaks and began to wonder if I would even finish in under 36 minutes. When I rounded the final corner and saw the end of the course in sight, I just made myself run as fast as I could, determined to at least finish strong.
I crossed the finish line at 35:34.
I’m not gonna lie, I was really disappointed in this time and completely frustrated after I finished. I felt like I should have easily been able to beat my previous time, but I didn’t. Still, I tried to remind myself that I finished, and I had now done two 5ks, but I still haven’t managed to run an entire one.
When I crossed the finish line, I was given a card with my place number (#34) and took it to a table, where I filled in my name, age, and gender. I wrote my last name a bit sloppily but told the woman, “I don’t think it matters that you can’t read this because I doubt I placed.” She said, “You never know because we give prizes according to age group.” I just laughed and went inside. There was a pancake breakfast (I had one pancake and doughnut hole), and we waited for the awards. A man brought in the board with all the age ranges and the cards attached to them, and I was trying to see if by some miracle my card was up there, but a man was blocking it. Then he moved, and I told Stephen, “I think I see my card up there!” And sure enough, when the winners in the 25-29 age group were announced, I won second place in my age division! I got a little trophy and everything! I couldn’t help but laugh to myself about it because I thought my time was completely terrible and was so unhappy with my performance, and yet I got a trophy for it. Life is funny sometimes, isn’t it? All in all, I’m glad I did it, and I am determined to do better in my next race!
Here are a few pictures from the day.
Waiting to start:
My fabulous trophy:
And here’s my playlist, for those of you who are curious:
1. “Mother, We Just Can’t Get Enough” by The New Radicals
2. “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay
3. “Spotlight” by MUTEMATH
4. “Girl Named Tennessee” by Needtobreathe
5. “Sahara” by Relient K
6. “Clocks” by Coldplay
7. “Control” by MUTEMATH
8. “Burn Out Bright” by Switchfoot
9. “The Nerve” by MUTEMATH
10. “The More” by Downhere