Sunday, March 14, 2010

Reflections on 5K

Saturday I ran my first ever 5K. It was a gorgeous day (55 degrees and sunny), and I had my family there to cheer me on. What a perfect day! But here's how the race really went.

Since I hadn't ever run a 5K before and I was all alone, I wasn't quite sure where to be and what to do. So I did what any self respecting go-getter would do...I followed the crowd. So there we were, standing in a mass like a gigantic herd of cattle waiting for someone to open the gate so we could roam the plains.

I wasn't sure where I should position myself. Not the front because I know I won't be among the fastest. Come on, I seriously think I saw at least one of those guys in the summer Olympics. But not the back because...well, it's the back and isn't that designated for all the walkers? So the middle it was. I would come in somewhere between first and dead last.

The gun sounded and we were off. Wait, not yet. There are a couple hundred people ahead of me. No one is moving. Wait...and....NOW. Run! Not too fast...slow down. Friends had warned me that I would run faster than usual because of the "pack," but I was determined to run at my own pace and not overexert myself too soon. I hit play on my ipod, took a deep breath, smiled up at the sky, and began my slow run.

I felt a few nudges on my ankles. That guy looks like he is 80, and he is passing me. And she must be at least 100 pounds overweight...and she is passing me? Those kids can't be more than 10 years old. Look at all these people passing me! I began to wonder if there was anyone left behind me. Just focus. You are running for God's glory. You're here to do your best, not compete with the crowd. But seriously, is there anyone behind me? Don't look back. Didn't Paul say to forget what was behind and look ahead? Ok, I am looking ahead. Are you serious?! That guy ahead of me must be 60 years old and he is running with a POW MIA flag that is bigger than me!

This mental badminton game went on through the first two turns, which I am guessing to be about the first mile. But as we rounded the second corner I was able to get a good look at the massive crowd behind me. I was not, in fact, in last place. I was somewhere in the middle...maybe even a little closer to the top third! Ok. Deep breath. You're doing great. See all those people who passed you in the first mile? They are all beginning to walk.Yep, passed her! And her! And him! Now I'm feeling good. Feelin' my stride.

This lasted until I hit what I determined to be about mile 2. Almost there. I can do this! But then about 5 minutes later, I saw it. The 2 mile marker. What?! I have a lot further to go than I thought, and I am getting tired. Just keep running. Keep on running. My legs were beginning to feel heavy. My glasses began to fog over. I felt sweat rolling off my forehead. The hardest part was the stretch between mile 2 and mile 3. I wanted to walk several times. Lots of other people are walking. But isn't that the point of training for a 5K run? So you can run the whole time? No. I won't walk. My goal is to run the entire thing. I have run 3 miles...three times before...without walking. I can do this!

Turns 3 and 4 took considerable effort to keep moving, but then I saw my family. They were down the road and cheering for me. I turned the ipod off so I could hear their voices. It's their voices in the the last half mile of the race...that kept me going. Suddenly my steps were swifter. I felt a burst of energy that I hadn't felt since I left the starting line. I smiled and gave high fives as I ran by, knowing I would finish the race without walking.

* * * * *

My first 5K was fun. It was challenging, more than I expected it to be, but I enjoyed meeting all my goals. My time was just a minute higher than my personal best, but I was very pleased with that. In the end, I came in 622 out of nearly 1,000 women and was ranked 100 in my age group. (There were 1,700 runners total.) Doesn't sound like much, but for someone who just started running 5 months ago, it is quite an accomplishment. In 6 weeks I will be running another 5K in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon Relay. I look forward to improving my time at a lower elevation...and then taking a break!

I'm in the pink top in these pictures.

Emma did the kids fun run, which was 4 city blocks. She did great!

Mommy and Emma after running our races!

After the races we stayed and watched the St. Patty day parade. Tim bought kettlecorn and put it in two separate bags to share. Nate thought they were both for him, and he ate from both bags alternately.

Emma and her cousin Samantha.

My sister Cynthia and my Mom both came to watch. It was so fun having them there!

P.S. I am leaving the countdown widget for my first 5K up for a few days because it shows fireworks going off, and in my opinion, someone should have set off a few fireworks yesterday in my honor. :-) heehee


Martha said...

What a wonderful accomplishment! Great job!!

Denise Cummins said...

So proud of you!!! Wish I could have been there to cheer you on. Love you lots!!

Anonymous said...

oh my goodness, how fun! i loved reading your story, cristina, congratulations! (connilee)

Lorie said...

Oh, girl...I'm just so proud of you! How special to have family there, too! Congrats!

Anonymous said...

I'm so proud of you, Honey! You're my hero, for lots of reasons. I Love You!!

Laurie said...

Way to go Cris!! Congrats!!

Back At Ya Babe said...

YOU DID IT!!!!!!!!! I'm so proud and I would have been totally looking back wondering how many people I was in front of! Love your honesty.

Anonymous said...

great job! looking forward to running with you and cheering each other on in the relay!!! i haven't run a race since high school, so this should be interesting!!! :)

Regular, with half and half and raw sugar said...

Good Job! So proud of you!! You have come so far. I remember when you first told me you were going to start running. I totally know that feeling when you cross the finish line and the sense of accomplishment. Its undescribable. Now your a veteran. Looking ahead to April! Super proud of you!!! Can't wait to do it together!

Tomy Gunn said...

Awesome sis! As your self-proclaimed trainer pro tempore I will advise that you add yoga to your workout regimen. I know it sounds/looks odd, but it's one of the few parts of working out I look forward to daily. It helps like crazy!