One Down, One to Go

Finally…my first organized 5K run, basically a trial run before the Disney 5K in early January. 

The day started early, especially for a weekend, because we were asked to arrive an hour or so before the race to pick up our registration materials. Out the door by 6:15 for a 40-minute drive, we arrived with plenty of time to spare. The weather was chilly, only about 45 degrees, so we quickly retreated to the relative warmth of the car, but before too long we decided it was important to find the restrooms. By then the sun had come up, the DJ was playing Christmas carols, and enough runners and watchers had arrived to make people watching fun.

Since I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, I deliberately started at the back of the pack to avoid being run over by people who actually knew what they were doing! For some reason I find it much more difficult to run longer distances outside than I do when I’m on the treadmill, so I used a counting method to try to keep track of how long I ran vs. walking (approx. 100 counts on my right foot = 1/10 mile). I don’t think I ran more than a half mile at any one stretch, though I tried to keep my walking intervals fairly short—basically just long enough to recover my breath.

The other thing that made it difficult is that there were no markings on the route indicating how far we’d come, and my heart rate watch is not very accurate at reporting distances. I also didn’t realize that it was a half-distance course, meaning that runners turned around at the halfway point to return to the race start, until I started seeing faster runners on the return side of the route (that was pretty depressing!).

I was, of course, relieved to reach the halfway point and then had to convince myself that I really could finish the race. It helped that I was able to pass a few people along the way so I wasn’t the absolute slowest person in the race. Race workers along the route also helped by cheering us on and giving us an idea how much farther we had to go. I admit I paced myself at the end so I would have the energy to cross the finish line running. I can’t say whether the smile on my face is one of victory or, more likely, relief, but I am proud of myself that I stuck with the training program long enough to actually complete a race.

Results: 37 minutes 26 seconds; third place in the women’s 50-59 age category; 64th of 78 finishers

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