Monday, May 16, 2011

Bitten By The 5K Bug

This weekend was my second 5K race, 3 weeks since my first one in DC and it was quite a different experience from the first one. I was on my own as opposed to running with a buddy, instead of perfect running weather it was humid, drizzling, and threatening to downpour at any moment. The course was a winding, somewhat hilly route through my neighborhood (I ran past my apartment! haha) instead of a flat street in DC. And I woke up with a stomach ache instead of feeling 100% ready to go. So needless to say, I didn't have the highest hopes for this race.
But once I started running, things were questionable. The stomach ache was still there, and I started to get a side stitch entirely too early on. But I cranked up the iPod (thank you Glee music...) and kept moving. This race didn't have markers for each kilometer, just each mile, so my planned pacing method got thrown off. I had no idea how fast I was really going. And then I get to mile marker 1. Alright, 1/3 of the way done... and the girl with the timer  calls out "11:45 since the start!"
WAIT, WHAT?????????????????
I don't run sub-12 minute miles. Not in races, not in practice, only have done it twice on the treadmill and I only ran a mile and then stopped. So, needless to say I was thrilled. OK, I'm feeling not horrible. I can keep this up. As I run up a GIANT HILL! And then they gave me water, thank god.
And then it started raining for real. Bleh. Luckily only a few minutes but enough to get me a bit soggy and uncomfortable. But I kept moving after a short walking break for the water pit stop. We round the bend in the road, get a few nice downhills to pick up some time. And after a small hill climb, i see it. Mile marker 2. And the woman who had the stopwatch said "23:15"!
COME AGAIN??????????
That's still running an 11:30 second or so mile pace. And I WALKED! I'm KILLING the pace I had in my first 5K by minutes. And this is an entirely different beast than the first one. So, I started crunching the numbers (shocking, I know :P). I had 16  whole minutes to get to the finish line. And I still had enough steam to run. So, I kept going, hauled my butt up the biggest hill in the race, running almost all of it. Took a 2 minute walking break and then kept going. I was closing in on the starting area in Town Center and I was thinking...
My 39:33 record is going down!
I'm definitely running out of steam at this point. I can't get my heart rate below 190, I'm having trouble keeping a steady breathing pace. But, I can see it getting closer so I keep moving. Rounding into Town Center, I know it's close to the finish. And then I turn the last corner. 
So my final sprint just got 2 full blocks of distance added to it. Another tenth of a mile. Ugh. I was about to pass out at that point, so I walked for about 15 seconds and then I made a dash for the finish line. And I got there, heart rate hitting 196 or so, dizzy and naseauous. But, I was done, and what did the clock say.
I was in shock. Partly because my heart was threatening to crap out on me given how fast it was going, and partly because I didn't even know I could run sub-12 minute miles for that long. It's amazing what the body can do when you're focusing on a goal. So, my 5K experience was quite different from my first, but in a good way. I feel like a runner now. I finished 227/576 women and 32/53 in my age group. Not too shabby at all. And I'm gearing up for one more 5K on June 5th. I figured I can always sign up for one the day of if I want to run in the summer and it happens to be a cooler morning without thunderstorms or something.
But, I share this to prove to anyone that you can be a runner. I'm 5'2", I like 13 minute miles, and somehow I was possessed by the running gods to finish with 11:44 minute miles. AND I WALKED for short breaks! I can't wait for my next race. I totally have the running bug. And my boyfriend even said he thought about getting into running! WHOOT! 

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