Entered a 5K on Thanksgiving Day (woo hoo that rhymed)….

Anyway, the idea all started about a week or so prior to the actual run. A friend of mine registered for it and I was like…what the heck why not? I guess feeling like I’m capable of doing a whole mess of things in this life is a good feeling to have! My confidence for various physical activities is growing day-by-day, and I want to have additional challenges that aren’t associated with just biking.

Knowing that the 5K was coming up definitely made me feel like I had a goal in the not-so-distant future that would allow me to wrangle in my focus and work my way to a decent, for me, finishing time. I decided that I would like to finish the 5K in less than 30 minutes. Now to the weirdness…I do not like to run outside. One of my main gripes about running outside is the fact that I do not know how fast I am going.

I ran into the same problem that I did while on my mountain bike…my iPhone’s dismal battery life wouldn’t allow me to use the applications that leveraged GPS for extensive amounts of time. To remedy my mountain biking problem, I ended up getting a Garmin Edge 500 with HRM that I got on a stellar deal used. I then began the search to find something that was within a decent price range and would fit the needs of what I want to accomplish running-wise. I ran across a blog for various GPS enabled running watches. DCRAINMAKER is a triathlete and reviewer for many and anything that is associated. I found an awesome review for the Timex Run Trainer (TRT) with ANT+ HRM and based on that review I pulled the trigger. I ordered it on the Thursday prior to the race and got it on Monday. I had done some indoor running on the treadmill when I signed up and even a little before. I now realize that this wasn’t a mistake, but definitely put me at a disadvantage for running in the great outdoors. After I got the TRT, the next day I went for a 1 mile run around the track at work. I made it around the track, but I definitely felt like running outside was a whole different world than on the treadmill. This was the only run that I did outside prior to the race.

Okay..RACE DAY (lol I feel silly calling it a race because I feel like I’d have to fetch a podium spot to be in the race)

I wake up early (430ish) and drive up to Tucson. The packet pickup starts at 7, the women’s 5K starts at 8 and the men’s at 845. I watch the start of the women’s race cheered as my friend went by then started to stretch and try to warm up prior to the men’s start. Warming up consisted of me walking around a bit, talking to some people, stretching, taking pictures of my shoes, and using the bathroom. After I was all warmed up, I went to the starting area and put myself around mid-pack. This start didn’t have any discernible hierarchy as far as the racers’ times and skill levels. SIDE NOTE – this race also didn’t have timing chips but a system of where they would rip off some portion of your race number and put it on a string (didn’t find that out until the end).

During the race I was going to try to settle in to a 10 min/mi pace, which is how fast I generally run on the treadmill, so I figured that would be a good pace for me to maintain to obtain my sub 30min 5K goal.

And we’re off…
The gun goes off and so do the runners. It took about 15-20 seconds for me to get across the starting line due to the mass of cattle that was engaging the starting line. I start off and  after I get into the clear, I start eyeing my GPS to make sure that it was tracking and that I was maintaining the pace that I wanted. Turns out that I was going faster than pace, but if felt “OK” so I kept going. I ran around a good number of people passing some and getting passed by others (which is fine) into and out of the turns which winded through Reid Park. There were hills which were foreign to me that I went up at a snail’s pace then resumed my pace. I encountered some hay bails and mud pits. There were only 2 mud pit crossings per lap (2 lap course) and of course I made across the first pit then PLOP-SPLASH-SQUISH my left foot landed in the larger of the 2 pits (LAME!!). Now I wasn’t even finished with my first lap, and I have a squishy left foot. I complete the first lap and am still feeling good at my pace. 1 lap down 1 lap to go! The second lap was a bit harder because cardio fatigue was starting to set in. I winded my way around the course over some hay bails and back to the mud pits. Just like the first time PLOP-SPLASH-SQUISH left foot again into the mud! My pretty shoes weren’t clean or new anymore so I didn’t really care at that point. I felt myself slowing at the 2.5 mile mark so I tried my best to keep it up. Mile 3 past now there was only .1 miles left so I tried to increase my pace so I could finish faster but my legs were like FU and my breathing was like FU too but I chugged away! Okay BOOM done! Yay I finished my first official 5K.

I stopped my watch as I crossed the finish and it said 27.22.54 (unofficial) which was better than the 30 minute goal I had set and later I got the race time of 27.23.0(official) which is pretty close to what I timed using my watch. I ripped off my little tag thing and handed it to the people collecting them in the chutes. Went to get some water, ate a half a cinnamon raisin bagel, and went back to the finish to wait on my coworker that was running that day as well and cheered him on as he crossed the line.

Lessons learned:

  1. Running on the treadmill doesn’t substitute outdoor running.
  2. Setting goals and surpassing them makes you feel awesome.
  3. I was out of my league with some of the fasties running (XC skinny legged tall dude types).
  4. Running faster, longer, and stronger is a new goal for the upcoming year.

The funniest part of the whole day for me was after I first soaked my foot in the mud mess, I pass a guy that said “wow that isn’t a good sound” referring to my squishy foot antics. All I could say was nope and keep on going.

Race Data via Training Peaks

This event was put on by the Southern Arizona Roadrunners who hold various running events in the Southern Arizona area. I think that I’d like a timing chip next time just so that the timing will have a more precise mechanism than what they were using, but the event was cheap and it was a good experience. I look forward to doing more races with SAR in the future hopefully leading up to a half marathon.

If you push yourself you’ll end up surprising yourself.

Happy belated Thanksgiving!

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