Experience of Running in the Gusher/Kinsel Ford 5K for 2013.
Two Straight Years, and Two Race Bibs hanging on My Wall.
Making the Choice.
Although I've been actively running since the year 2006, seriously running in local races was never really a long term goal of mines until 2012. This marked the year that I ran in my first 5K race, and if you will, you can say that I was bitten by the race running bug. There is something about running with hundreds of other people that gives you a feeling that can't be described when you're jogging all alone.
When the 2013 date for the Gusher/Kinsel Ford 5K was announced, I already had my sights set on participating once again. However, with only a few weeks leading up to the event, I wasn't quite sure if I was physically ready to participate again. Even though I never stopped running since doing the race last year, I hadn't been training properly for another 5K in the months leading up to the race. I eventually threw away all of my doubts, and decided to participate for the second straight year. In this hub, I will give a review on my experience of running the race for the second time. I hope you will enjoy.
Brief History of the Race.
The Gusher Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 5K is an event held in Beaumont, Texas. The event made it's debut in 2010, and brings in hundreds of runners from Southeast, Texas, and areas from all over Texas, Louisiana, and other states. After running the 5K last year, my goal was to run in several other local 5K's for 2012. Although I trained all throughout the year to prepare for more runs, life unfortunately got in the way, and I was unable to participate in any of them.
Besides having my birthday coming two days after the race, running in the Gusher again for 2013 was a way for me to give myself a birthday gift. I also wanted to use it as a spring board to accomplish some of the goals that I was unable to achieve following the 2012 race. Once I made up in my mind to do the Gusher/Kinsel Ford 5K again, I started to increase my running distances in the weeks leading up to the race. I also decided to purchase myself a new pair of Nike running shoes for the race, which is something that I done last year as well. Unfortunately, I didn't get to wear the new shoes in the race. I'll get into that in a bit.
One thing that I like about this particular race is that it gives people in the Southeast, Texas area to set and achieve fitness goals for themselves. The directors of the race are very nice, and always willing to answer any questions that participants have. It's truly a great experience to be a part of.
My mind frame going into the race this year was much more different than last year. For one thing, my goal last year was to do the race in 30 minutes or under - which I was able to accomplish. However it came at a price at the time. With my adrenaline and added excitement, I came out way too fast and burned myself out. Although I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 29:43, I was very tired afterwards.
My mindset this time around was different. Although I wanted to improve upon my time from the previous year, the goal was to take it easy and relax. Most importantly, I wanted to have fun, and enjoy the course. I slept fairly well this year the night before, which was something that I didn't do at all last year being that it was my first time. Upon arriving at the event, the atmosphere was very calm and relaxed for me. I even saw and talked to one of my classmates from high school running in the 5K as well.
Now regarding the shoe issue I mentioned earlier. I brought a new pair of running shoes for this race, just like I did last year. I tested out the shoes in a light run a few days leading up to the race. Although the shoes felt comfortable and fit well, I wasn't quite sure how they would hold on in the race itself. Since I basically decided to do the race only a week and a half before the race itself, I hadn't properly broke in the shoes. Because of this, I decided to wear the shoes that I purchased for the race last year. I just felt more comfortable using something that I was familiar with. I think this turned out to be a good choice.
Moments before the Race.
After watching the start of the Marathon and Half-Marathon, I stretched for a bit. This was important, because I didn't stretch at all last year. With about 10 minutes until the start of the 5K, the announcer called all 5K participants to the course. Upon walking onto the course, one thing that I quickly noticed different from last year was the number of people participating this year. There looked to be way more people running this year compared to last year.
I lined up somewhere in the middle of the hundreds of runners, and listened to my mp3 player as the countdown began. There was a very slight drizzle and some wind, but otherwise the weather conditions were pretty good. When the timer hit zero at 8:00 A.M., the race began. Since there were so many people running, it took me around 45 seconds just to get to the start/finish line to begin running. We were now off and running.
The Race Itself.
I had set a strategy for myself going into the race. My goal was to push it on the short straightaways, and pace myself on the longer ones. The first quarter of a mile went fine, but because it was so crowded, going around and through other runners and walkers was pretty difficult. I reached the first mile marker, and decided not to get any water or Gatorade. About 1.25 miles into the race, I became really hot. Although it was a bit chilly outside, the fact that I was wearing three shirts(one being a long sleeve), made it fairly hot. I was wishing that I could have come out of those shirts at this point.
Things were going pretty great up until reaching the mile two marker. That's when we were beginning to run against the wind, and if you've run in the wind before, you know exactly what I mean when I say it's difficult. At any rate I continued to push through it. By the time I reached the 2.75 miles, my breathing was good, but my legs were beginning to get tired. I kept telling myself that it would be over soon, and kept pressing forward.
As I came down the final stretch heading towards the finish line, I reminded myself of why I was glad that I saved some energy for the end, which is something that I didn't do last year. I sprinting towards the finish line, and finished up the race. However, while coming towards the finish line, I noticed that the timer clock was around 31 minutes. That could only mean one thing; I didn't beat my time from the previous year.
After getting some water and eating a banana, I cheered on other runners as they came across the finish line. After about 20 minutes, I went and looked at my time. I finished the 5K in 30:21, which was 38 seconds slower than last year's time. I would eventually find out that I placed 28th out of 58 in the 30-34 male division, and 270 overall out of 1224 participants. Although I was a bit disappointed with my time, I was still happy and also glad that I made the decision to participate again.
I attribute several factors for my 38 second slower time. The wind was probably the biggest factor. That was something that I didn't have to deal with at all last year. A lot of other runners complained about the wind following the race as well. Also, the number of participants was another factor that I think contributed. There were a little over 900 people in last year's race, compared to a little over 1200 this year. It was very crowded at times, which made it difficult to get around the course. Finally, I am a year older, and I do believe that with age comes decline. I'm not one to make excuses though, and my time it is what is.
Overall, I can say that I had another great experience at the race. The only thing that I wish for was that my younger sister would've been there to cheer me on like last year. However, she ended up going on a trip with some of her friends from college. Despite her not being there, it was great having other family and friends there to cheer me on. I'm really hoping that running in the Gusher for the second straight year will be a springboard for me into running other races during 2013. Hopefully, if and when next year's race comes around, I'll be even more ready.