Facebook friends will recall last Wednesday when I posted something to the effect of this on my wall:
I finally convinced Patrick to join me on a 3 mile run. And by “join” I mean that I watched him run away from me until he became a very tall, very skinny, speck on the horizon.
Well, if anyone was surprised that I talked Patrick into doing it once (he says that he hates running, after all), then they will probably be downright flabbergasted to know that he was doing that neighborhood jog because I also convinced him to run an actual 5k race with me on Saturday.
Apparently, my persuasion skills know no bounds.
I honestly never thought Patrick would agree to it, but there were a few things working in my favor:
1) We had no other plans, so there was no way he was getting out of it.
2) The race took place entirely in our neighborhood, we were able to walk to the start line, run, enjoy jambalaya and a few beers and walk home
3) Super cheap registration.
Finally he gave in and agreed to do it, and I hurried to the computer to sign him up before he could change his mind.
But, enough about Patrick, who’s blog is this anyway?
Let’s talk about me.
I was excited to go do a little run around the neighborhood, sure. But also, I was kinda scared.
Let me be clear, this was a pretty stupid way to be feeling and I knew it. (The knowing never makes you feel better though, does it?) Basically, I was just taking what I already do 2 or 3 times a week and adding a small crowd.
For me , the small crowd part was the problem.
See, so far I’ve only run 2 open 5ks, the Second Empire 5k in Raleigh last May and the Komen Race for the Cure in February. The race in Raleigh was a pretty good size, (not to mention a run/walk, so I didn’t have to worry about being last), and the Komen Race had several thousand people. I was worried that since this was a race through my neighborhood put on by a local running club, that it would be small.
More specifically, I kept getting mental images of lots of super fast runners standing around the finish line, stretching their calves, looking at their watches, and wondering where in the heck that last girl was. I mean, did she get lost? Did she walk home? Cause there’s no way she could still be out there running.
In case you were wondering, “that girl” I pictured them talking about was me.
Have I mentioned before that I am a pretty slow runner?
I mean, you know those people who say, “Oh, me too! I’m so slow. For heaven’s sake, you could hardly call it running, what I do!” and then go for an easy run at a 7:30 minute per mile pace?
I hate those people.
And I hate that, even though I know I can run faster, whenever I get out there and start doing it, I freak myself out. At the first sign of heavy breathing, I tell myself to slow down, chill out and just relax. I don’t ever push myself, and I hate that. It’s the fear monster getting the best of me.
I was determined that things were going to change. I was going to push, I was going to hurt, and I was going to run sub-30 for crying out loud. No fear monsters allowed.
At 6, Patrick and I lft the house to walk down to the Kenilworth Club House and the race start. On the way we get turned around and sort of lost, and then we get worried because there are lots of people out running the streets. We look at each other, unsure of what to do. Did we miss the race?
“There’s no way.” I say, “I know it starts at 7. I know it does.”
However, the number of people out on the roads begs to differ.
Finally, we figure out that these are just people out warming up their legs (who knew?) and make our way to sign in and pick up our t-shirts.
There’s a decent crowd, but not a lot, not by a long shot. I’m already sweating so bad that I stop worrying so much about finishing last and start worrying about not actually saying “screw it” and running home at the turn around point (not that I know where that is, we never actually saw a race map).
Soon enough, it’s 7 pm and time to race run. I have to say, I made sure not to start too fast and I was feeling really good. Patrick didn’t run with me for too long (he says that trying to match my short stride hurts his knees), but I found a comfortable pace behind 2 girls and I would have been content to follow them the whole time. Unfortunately they slowed down pretty quickly (bad pacers!) and I had to make my way out on my own.
Regardless of that small set back (since you can’t exactly draft like if we were on bikes), I was going along and feeling just fine. There were no mile markers of any sort on the course that I ever saw, but I would estimate that I was running slightly faster than my normal running pace, but not so fast that I wouldn’t be able to hold steady for 30 minutes of (hopefully) less.
Everything was right with the world until we hit the first water stop. I got a cup, slowed down to a walk for a few steps and drank all my water. Picking back up to a run I remember thinking, “Huh. That doesn’t feel too good in my stomach.” Nevertheless, I kept on trucking.
I traded places with a few people, including a girl in head to toe (or head to knee?) mint green workout gear, 2 guys in shirts from Wisconsin, and a girl with a highlightedryellow tank top and purple compression socks. You may think I’m joking, but she looked awesome. Highlighter yellow really set off her tan. These are the important life issues I think about when I run.
P.S. This is where things get a little gross. We can still be friends if you stop reading here. Danielle, you have been warned.
Before I knew it, I was back to the water stop. Free water. Yay, who wouldn’t want that? Well, I would want it, even though it was apparently the last thing I needed. After my 3 steps or so of walking and drinking, I set back off on my run. Immediately, and I mean, immediately, I was not feeling so hot. I slowed down my pace a bit (ha!) and took deep breaths. It didn’t help. I pushed on until my stomach seized up on me. At this point, I’m not going to lie, I was pissed. This has never happened to me before. I couldn’t believe that I was going to throw up in the middle of a race. In someone’s front yard, no less. But I did. Sorry person. I really wish that’s not how my evening played out.
So after spending a little time doubled over, I figure that maybe I should get going since all those people I worked on passing are now leaving me behind. Ugh. I stand up, try to wash out my mouth (with my own spit I guess? I’m honestly not sure what I was doing at that point) and make sure my stomach is settled a bit, or at least not going to act up like that again.
I looked down at my watch and realize that there is no way I’m getting a sub-30. I don’t even know where the finish line is, but I know I just spend a long time crouched in some poor person’s front yard, and then another minute or so walking. It sucks, I’m not going to lie. So I do what any sane person would do, I start running. I mean, not my little easy-peasy jog I normally call running, I start running, and I want to die a little bit, but I figure that at this point, the least I can do is finish the best I can and try to limit my damages.
A few minutes later, I cross the finish line at 32:31. A full 151 seconds slower than I was hoping for.
After getting a drink (not water, no way at that moment), I caught up to Patrick and found out that he finished just short of his goal time too, but more like by 15 seconds. And his goal was between 25-27 minutes. That guy. Grrrr. But I was super proud of him. Someone could really go out and kick butt if they wanted to ahem ahem.
We indulged in jambalaya from the Jambalaya Shop and a couple of beers, hung out at chatted with Patrick’s supervisor, who also ran, and slowly made our way back home.
So that was my race. It was fun, but if I’m being honest, it was disappointing too. Not to say that I didn’t learn some things. Want to know what they are? Sure you do!
1) Races are more fun when you do it with friends
2) If you usually run 3 miles around your neighborhood without water, you can probably race 3 miles around your neighborhood without water
3) It’s stupid to get worked up about something that is supposed to be low-key and fun
4) There’s always a next race, and another time to improve yourself
5) There are a lot of people who can’t go out and run 3 miles just cause they feel like it. You should be thankful for what your body can do, not upset about what it can’t.
Oh, and on the way back from Patrick’s so called first and last 5k, he began wondering about the entry fee to a race downtown next weekend. Just to see if you know, he could hit 27:00. I was thankful for the cover of dark, because I would have hated for him to mistake my huge grin for gloating. I told him before hand that races were fun, even if it was running. I love it when I’m right.
And now we both know that, yes, it’s fun, and no, there is nothing to be afraid of.