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

Monday, November 3, 2008

Golden Apple 5K

For the past few weeks I had been seeing signs around town for the Golden Apple 5K race on November 2nd. My plan had been to run one race a month but I had to skip October due to various issues. So, I thought about doing this race as my October race. Two days into November is close enough to October, right? Anyway, I forgot all about it until Friday afternoon. After I found out that my mom wanted to visit, I emailed her to see if she was okay with cheering me on on Sunday morning. She was more than okay with it and on Saturday I went and registered to race.

I was a little apprehensive because I skipped almost an entire week of exercising with my Vegas trip and then almost another entire week due to being sick and work commitments. The only runs I had done were one 45 minute treadmill run after Vegas but before sickness and a 4 mile outside run with Trinka Deu this Saturday. Plus I'd only been to my Ultimate Sculpt class once in the past two weeks. But, I knew I could run 3.1 miles no problem and could possibly PR if I pushed myself.

Aside: I can't believe I am now the type of person who can say "I could run 3.1 miles with no problem." Still experiencing shock and awe.

Plus, when I realized that the start line for the race was less than a mile from my house and the race course went through my neighborhood, well, there was no way I could skip it. So, on Sunday morning I hopped out of bed (which was much easier to do than normal due to the time change), ate breakfast, and gathered my mom, Jason, and Trinka Deu and walked to the start line.

Another aside: I LOVE that I could walk to the start line. How cool is that??

The morning started out a little chillier than I would like but I knew that with the sun and the exertion I would soon wish I was wearing a tank top and shorts instead of a capris and a short-sleeved top.

Once at the start line I got my timing chip (yet another aside: I LOVE that all the races here use timing chips) and Jason took some "before" pictures.

I wore my brightest shirt so that my mom and Jason would be able to pick me out of the crowd.

See the start line in the distance?

With about five minutes until the gun I made my way to the starting line. I started much further up in the chute than I normally do. I was feeling fast and it didn't look like the crowd was all that big or hardcore. My mom asked me what my goal time was. "Anything under 28 minutes," I said. My mom and Jason went off to stand at the side and wait for the race to start. I decided to stay close to the edge of the crowd so that they could see me.

The gun went off with very little fan fair and, for the first time in my life, I was across the start line before I knew it. I saw Jason with the camera and I hear my mom cheering. And I waved.

(The start line and the finish line were in the same place which is why the sign above my head says "Finish". It's the back side of the Start sign.)

I started out super fast in that first mile. That's the hazard of starting so close to the start line; you get caught up with the faster runners. But I knew that if I wanted to meet my goal of 28 or less I had to keep to a 9 min/mile or less pace. That's really pushing it for me so I tried to pace myself off some of the faster runners. For awhile I was running behind a woman with neon green soles on her shoes. I tried to pace her but lost her after the first mile. That first mile, by the way, I ran in something like 8:45! This race was great in that they had clocks at both miles 1 and 2.

I was thankful that the hill in mile 1 is something I've run numerous times before so it didn't wipe me out. But I admit that I paid zero attention to my surroundings during miles 2 and 3. I felt myself slowing down after the first mile but I knew I had to push it if I wanted to meet my time goal. I also admit that there were a few times that I really did feel like walking. That's how I knew I was running harder than normal. Plus, a good section of miles 2 and 3 was run on old brick streets so a lot of my attention was diverted to making sure I didn't twist my ankle. The trade off for running on old brick streets through residential neighborhoods, though, is that the people who live in those neighborhoods cheer from their porches. My mom asked me after the race if having random strangers yell encouragement really helps. "Yes! It most certainly does!" I told her. In fact, the guy running in front of me for awhile was so grateful for the encouragement that he yelled back "Thank you!" to the people cheering from the sidelines.

Mile 3 was the same as mile 1 but in reverse. I honestly had no idea if I was on target time-wise or not. I ended up starting my watch late and I was running so hard that the time on the clock at mile 2 didn't even register. Once we finally got in site of that blasted hill I knew we were close; I run that part of the route all the time so I had a good idea of how much longer it was. I pushed through the hill and cruised through the downhill portion. At the bottom of the hill is the local dog park. As I came near I looked over at all the dogs. There was a line of them running full speed through the park. "Now that's some inspiration," I thought. And then I realized that the last dog in the line was Trinka Deu! Then I saw my mom and Jason. As I ran past my mom cheered me on.

Here's what Jason, Trinka Deu and my mom were doing while I was running.

And here's my mom (in the white sweater) cheering me on:

As I rounded the corner to the finish line I was once again hit by the desire to walk. But with the finish line so close I dug deep and sprinted the last 200 meters. Again, the time on the clock didn't even register. 28 something? Who knew.

The lovely volunteers removed my timing chip, I grabbed some water, and walked around while waiting for Jason and my mom to return. When they got back, my mom grabbed one of the signs they were giving out. She's going to use it again when it comes time for my half marathons.

While we were standing around waiting for the post-race festivities, a man came up to me and said, "I was about 30 feet behind you the entire race and was trying to catch you the entire time. I never did!" That made me feel fabulous.

After a muffin and a raffle drawing where I didn't win anything (but a nine year old did win a night at the Hyatt!) we walked back home where I showered and then we headed back out for brunch.

And my time? I looked it up later Sunday evening.


And 7th out of 31 in my age group! 122 out of 323 overall.

By the way, that time means I averaged 8:49 min/mile.

I kicked my time goal's ass. I shaved 50 seconds off my last 5K time. You think I can get that time under 27 minutes?

Yeah, so do I.