My First 5k – From Start to Finish

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I did it!

I ran a 5k!

You may have read about the little bit of anxiety I had going into this. It was more about the little details and not knowing what to expect.

And while this post is more information than you may need to know, I want to reflect on those details not only for my future reference, but also to offer insight to anyone else who may be looking forward to their first 5k!

~

Friday, the night before the race, was a gorgeous night. It was sunny and 60 degrees. It would have been a perfect night for a run… or a night out to dinner. That’s what we probably would have normally done. Instead, I came home from work and started making dinner. I made a big salad and some pasta.

And I ate too much.

It may have been nerves or anxiety… Or not knowing what to do. I was tired. But I couldn’t go to sleep that early. I felt binge-y. I ate a little more.

Then I felt the guilt.

I stopped myself. I got up. I thought to myself: You have plenty to do! You have this entire kitchen to clean. You can call your Wine Tasting host for tomorrow. You can close out your two tastings from this week. Just be normal!!! Quit thinking about it.

Yes, I was that neurotic.

I decided to do all the things I would normally do when I had “free” time like cleaning and catching up on a little non-Rob-friendly DVR {read: Dancing with the Stars & Smash}. I also got all of my clothes/gear ready for the morning. I knew this was necessary for this non-morning girl not to forget anything! I also took a hot shower before bed because my mom always told me that you’ll sleep well when you go to bed right after a bath or shower.

It worked. It didn’t take me long at all to fall asleep. But I did wake up a few times before midnight when Rob came to bed. I’m sure I was sleeping a lot lighter {more lightly?} than usual due to thoughts of the following day. But after that, I slept through the night.

I woke up to the alarm and my stomach was hurting – worst case scenario. It was the aftermath of my over-eating the night before. Due to this, I wasn’t hungry at all And I couldn’t do the #2 that everyone suggested I take care of before the race.

Nonetheless, I put this together as my breakfast:

water, hard-boiled egg, whole-wheat toast with peanut butter, banana

I knew I needed the energy. And in true non-morning-Carrie fashion, I had to scurry out the door. I ate the peanut butter toast before leaving, the banana in the car on the way there and ended up skipping the hard-boiled egg. We stopped for some Caribou Coffee on the way. I’ve read mixed reviews on coffee on race day, but since I’m not a morning person, I knew I needed it! {I thought it might help my stomach and #2 situation as well}. And of course, I sucked down water.

We got there early – like right when check-in began. We were confused about where to go because we were some of the first people there and we didn’t see any signs. But we figured it out eventually and I still didn’t have to wait in any lines. In addition, I had enough time that I could use the bathroom {real bathrooms, no Porta-Potties!} in the pavilion several times {three, to be exact} before race-time.

Pre-race

I was so glad Rob came with me to support me! He kept cracking jokes to make me laugh. It took my mind off the rest of the race and any nerves I may have had.

He took a picture of me patting this Bear’s belly – I decided it was for good luck!

Good luck belly pat

The jacket I’m wearing in the photo is brand new. I bought it at Kohl’s on Wednesday. Everyone told me not to run in anything new. But I am glad I wore it. It was a cold mid-40’s during race-time and the forecast showed rain. I wanted to be prepared. I hadn’t run in colder conditions nor in a downpour before. And although I did get hot mid-run and would have loved to ditch the jacket, it wasn’t unbearable. I think it was better to have worn it for the early part of the run and be a little warm at the end than vice versa.

I was feeling pretty laid-back before the race. It was like we were all just going out for a run. That’s something I’ve never felt before. I normally would have to psych myself up all day for a run and just do it.

At the start of the race, they congratulated and wanted a photo opp of people who last 20 to 200+ pounds. I loved checking out pictures or signs on the backs of those people who had worked so hard to lose massive amounts of weight. It was so inspiring!

We lined up what was supposed to be according to pace, but I think it mattered more for those at the very front with fast pace-times. I ended up really slow for the first 100 yards because there were so many people just walking in front of me. It took a while to pass them. I was really surprised by how many walkers and run-walkers there were!

However, before I even hit a mile, I remembered just how difficult this is. “Wow! I’ve got a ways to go,” I thought. It was a gorgeous location, running around Lake Como in St. Paul. It makes me want to give the other lakes in the Twin Cities a try! I want to say that I’ve run them.

Sidebar: Maybe I could make that a goal for the summer? Make a list of lakes and cross them off throughout the season? I do know that I’ll have to do them earlier in the day, though. I don’t think I’ll do well with heat. Running this summer may have to occur in my neighborhood before work and earlier than usual on weekends. Although I’m not a morning person, I have to remind myself that it’ll be much cooler in the morning and that I’ll have my whole evening to myself.

Back to the race…

A 5k is almost two laps around Lake Como. The second lap seemed to take F-O-R-E-V-E-R. I found that I was mostly running by myself, too. I was never really running in a cluster of people at all. Sometimes, people would pass me and later start walking. So I’d end up passing them again later.

But at this point, I was no longer passing anyone. My heart rate monitor showed I was in Zone 5 {highest level} and I wasn’t sure I could get much faster, which is what I wanted to do at Mile 3. But I kicked it into high gear and as I neared the finish line, people cheered! They yelled my name! {What a cool benefit to being in a small enough group that they check out your name by your bib number and cheer you on!}

Final stretch!

~

My goal was to run this thing in 40 minutes.

~

Official Time: 38:54

My fastest time yet! And I was finished! It felt great to be done. I could hardly believe what I had just accomplished. I grabbed some water and chose an apple over an orange or banana. I stretched a little and watched a few more people cross the finish line before we left.

To give you an idea on the size of this race: there were 161 total finishers. People were of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities. It was low-key enough that I didn’t feel intimidated, but official enough that the course was certified and the race was timed. The lake was beautiful and I lucked out by missing the rain. {Though it did rain later in the day when I was napping!}

It feels good to have one under my belt and to know now what to expect. And while I still find it a challenge every time I run, I’m signed up for two more 5k events in June. Time to get back to training…;-)

I want to thank all of you for your overwhelming support!

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