A story of going from being a non-runner to planning for a marathon in three years...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Rattlesnake Master 5K

Yes, I'm already up and coherent at 11:00 AM on a Sunday. Why, you ask?

Because I ran my second 5K race this morning!

The race was the 5K/10K Rattlesnake Master held at Meadowbrook Park in Urbana, Illinois. I did the 5K run. It was nice and sunny and cool this morning as we ran through the sculpture garden and the restored prairie.

The start was kind of hilarious because they had the 10K runners and the 5K runners line up facing each other. At first we thought it was going to be full-contact racing and that part of the challenge was to push our way through the group opposite us. Thankfully that wasn't part of the plan.

The run is really quite nice. It takes you through the Wandell Sculpture Garden and the prairie, both on paved paths and non-paved trails. While waiting to head to the start line this morning we saw a deer bounding through the grass. I started out wearing my leggings, a short sleeved shirt, and a fleece zip-up jacket. Just after the first mile I got warm and unzipped the fleece. Thankfully Jason was waiting for me at the half-way point where I handed off my jacket. "My own personal coat-check," I commented to the people I was passing as I handed him my jacket.

I paced myself by running behind a woman I knew from my Beginning Women's Running Group. I know she runs just a little bit faster than me so I figured that as long as I kept her in my sights then I would be doing fine. And, in fact, I did my first mile in 9:40! In my training runs I aim for 10 to 11 minute miles so I was doing quite well. I conserved my energy and planned to kick it up a notch at the end. Sadly, the trail became quite narrow and I was unable to pass the person in front of me before the finish line. Regardless, I crossed the finish line in just under 30 minutes! That's my new personal record! Hopefully the race results will be posted soon and I can get my "official" time. I forgot to start my watch when the race started so while I know the clock said 29.something when I passed it, I don't really have a better idea of what my time is.

Strangely, although there were two water stations along the course, there was no cold (or even air temperature) water after the finish line. Instead, there was hot water for hot chocolate and some kind of vitamin water with Sucralose. Now, maybe it's just me but Sucralose leaves a horrible taste in my mouth and actually makes me thirstier. So, needless to say, I was disappointed that there was nothing refreshing for me to drink. And, of course, I had forgotten to bring my own bottle of water. Learned my lesson. At least there were bananas and "race rolls" from Great Harvest Bread Company.

Overall, I enjoyed this race and will definitely do either the 5K or (maybe) the 10K next year.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Women's Fitness 5K

My first 5K race was the 22nd Annual Women's Fitness 5K Run. It's held at a local park and we run two laps around/through it. All the proceeds from this event benefit Crisis Nursey and the Center for Women in Transition. This year each organization ended up with just over $1000 dollars.

As for the actual race, the course looks like

We did our warm-ups just before 9AM. It was a little bit of basic aerobics followed by some stretching. It actually reminded me how much I miss my step-aerobics class.

Then we lined up at the start. I made sure to get in the back so that I didn't get run over by the faster runners. My parents, Jason, and two friends came out to cheer me on.

This is me (in the pink) finishing the first lap.

My time on the first lap was around 17:00. That's about what I was expecting. I couldn't find anyone really to run with, but that ended up being fine with me. Running in a group is fun, but running alone allows me to get more into "the zone."

As I neared the finish line, I realized that I had a lot more speed left in me. I pretty much sprinted the last half-mile.

My final time? 33:23.8. I finished 91st out of 132 runners total and 28th out of 39 in my age group. Not spectacular, but I'd say it's pretty good for not being able to run 3.2 miles outdoors at the beginning of the summer. I'm sure I'll just get faster over time. I'll probably never win any awards, but that's not really my goal.

But everyone who finished the race got a free key chain compliments of Skirt Sports. It says "Skirt Power!" on the back of it.

Overall, I had a fun time. I can't wait to do another one!