Experience and reflection of running in my first 5K race.
This is my racing bib and timing chip.
March 10, 2012 marked a first and special day of my life. It was the start of goal that I've been wanting to achieve for quite sometime now. This was the day that I ran in my first official 5K race. Since completing the "Couch to 5K" running program in December of last year, I wanted to have the experience of running in a road race. Now that the experience has come and gone, I thought I would share how it went for me personally. Please read on.
My running history.
I had previously started running programs in the past, but I never really stuck with them. I began actively running regularly in 2006. I kept telling myself that I was going to stick with it this time, and I did for quite sometime. In a six month time span I managed to get to running 2 miles three to 5 times a week. I also lost a decent amount of weight, and felt a great deal of overall well-being. By the year 2008, I pushed it up to 3 miles. I felt like I was in the best shape of my life. However, by mid 2009 like many others who begin workout plans, I had fallen off on my routine. I became stagnant in my running program, and found it less motivating. That along with other issues going on in my life lead to a period of inactivity. After awhile I realized that I was becoming unhealthy once again, so I embarked on another journey to run again. I quickly realized a huge difference this time around. I was no longer that younger early 20 year old, and knew that getting back into shape was going to be an even more challenging task. This is what motivated me to turn to the "Couch to 5K" running plan.
Months and days leading up to the race.
The "Couch to 5K" running plan is a program that lasts 2 months. It's designed to get "couch potatoes" running a 5K in just two months. Although I wasn't exactly a couch potato, I felt like this would be a good way to get me running a 5K. I graduated from the program on December 3, 2011. The program was challenging in the later weeks, but it was well worth the effort. The C25K program was truly a blessing, it gave me the extra confidence in knowing I was able for a race. After completing the program I started looking for local 5K's that I could participate in. I happened to find the perfect one; The Gusher Marathon, Half-Marathon & 5K. The best part about this event was the date it was taking place on, the day before my birthday. This was the perfect birthday gift to give myself. I had almost three months leading up to the race to prepare myself. During this time I done a lot of research on 5K races. I also continued to run regularly, and write about my preparation leading up to the event.
The start of the race, and the days leading up to it.
With a week left before the race, I slacked off on my training. I done this to prevent any foreseen injuries occurring. I also wanted to break in the new running shoes that I purchased for the race. Since the race was taking place at the university where my sister attends college, I got her to pick up my race packet. She brought it to me when she came home for spring break, which was the day before the race. I honestly wasn't nervous about the race until that night before it. I tried going to sleep at 10:30 P.M., and that's when it hit me. I slept sporadically that night thinking about how it was going to go. I woke up at 5 A.M. The 5K was starting at 8 A.M., and I had about an hour drive. I left around 5:45 to give myself enough time to park and get ready. Upon arriving in the city, I noticed all of the traffic in the direction of the race. I knew this was going to be a big event. After I parked, I put on my race bib and timing chip. The marathon and half-marathon portions of the race had just begun, so I had around 25 minutes to prepare. With about 10 minutes to the start of the 5K, the announcer called all 5K participants to the start/finish line. It was time.
Running the race, and personal goal.
With one minute to go until the start, we all began counting down to the start. At exactly 8 A.M., the race began. It was a great feeling running with hundreds of other people, while having a crowd of people cheering us on. It was honestly one of the best feelings in my life. I wanted to start the race out at slow pace, but my adrenaline was going. I was passing people up, and I found people passing me up as well. I had set a personal goal of doing the race in 30 minutes or under. I made it to the first water station at the mile marker and grabbed a cup of Gatorade. I found it more difficult to drink it while running. I was feeling pretty good--that is until I reached the second mile. By the time I reached mile two, I was physically drained. I spent too much energy on the first couple of miles and burned myself out. I knew that I had another 1.10 miles to finish, so I had to reach deep into myself to finish. I knew that I was beginning to slow down. I saw people that I had previously passed catching up to me, some were even passing me up. Despite all of this, I was still determined to finish.
The finale of the race, and results.
I reached the final water station and grabbed another cup of water from a kind volunteer. As I began to close towards the end of the race, I became more inspired. There were countless volunteers throughout the course cheering us on, but there was one who stood at the final turn cheering for us and giving us high fives. She gave me a high five as I came down the final stretch. As tired as I was, I finished up strong when I saw my mom and sister yelling and cheering for me along with the other spectators. I felt a great sense of accomplishment as I crossed the finish line. A volunteer took my timing chip off of my shoe, and I grabbed a bottled water and banana. I found my family and stayed around to cheer for other runners. Not too long after that, I went to go look at my time. To my delight I finished in 29:43, which meant that I met my goal by 17 seconds. I finished 16th among my age group for males, and 163 overall out of a little over 900 participants. I came away from this experience pretty satisfied with the results.
Conclusion and future running plans.
I had a great time participating in my first 5K race. It was the perfect way to start off my birthday weekend. It was also the best gift that I could have given myself. As for right now I want to participate in another 5K, and then push it up to a 10K later on in the year. My ultimate goal is to be running the half-marathon when the race comes around next year. That sounds like a steep hill to climb, but I think it can be overcome if I put my mind to it and prepare. For anyone who has thought about doing a 5K, just do it. Even if you have to walk some, or you finish in a slow time, it's definitely worth it. I hope you enjoyed reading about my first 5K. Thanks for reading.