Run for the Reef 5K
I did it! My first 5K is in the bag. The race had a 730 am start time and it was an hour away so that meant a very early morning for us. My alarm went off at 430 but I fell asleep for about 20 more minutes and forced myself to roll out of bed. I got ready and everything together then woke my husband followed by the kids. I felt so bad for waking them at 530, especially because last night was a little rough for both of them for some reason, but they seemed fine and in good spirits.
The drive there was uneventful. I brought along a banana to eat on the way there but it wasn’t quite ripe enough yet and had that gross waxy/filmy (for lack of a better word) texture and taste so I could only stomach 3/4 of it. The sun was just starting to rise when we got there and the weather was perfect: low 50’s with a light breeze. I got my shirt, number and pins and made my way back to the car to get myself organized. It took me far too long to get my number pinned right on my shirt. First time, it was too low so I had to try again. I felt like such a newb! You’d think pinning a number on yourself would be easy. It probably is and I just made it difficult. Oy! I finally got the number on and the kids out of the car and organized and I had about a 1/2 an hour before the race start. We hit the bathrooms and took turns while the other stayed with the kids. While my husband was in the bathroom, I met a fellow runner friend I met online and was planning on catching up with. We chatted for a bit and my husband joined us and we chatted a bit more. It was nice to know someone else who was running the race even though Steve would be running much faster than I would be.
Time was ticking by and I still needed to warm up. We scoped out where the start line would be and I did my usual 5 minute long power walk around the parking lot then stretched a bit (with the help of my husband for stability, usually I use my fridge before heading out). Next time, I’m going to try a warm up run 3/4-1 mi in length before the start. Steve advised I should do so to prep my body for the race and he said it makes a world of difference.
A swarm of participants started making their way to the start line and I followed suit. We stood there for what felt like forever. I would say there were probably 150-200 runners & walkers (official results said there were 311 participants. Clearly I fail at guesstimating lol) so it wasn’t a huge race, which was nice and less intimidating for a first race. I placed myself near the back of the pack because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t influenced by faster runners and keep a slow & steady pace at the beginning. One of the organizers started to make announcements on a megaphone but I wasn’t able to hear a word of what was said. Then, all of a sudden, there was a loud noise and people started running. There were no chips to calculate time so being at the back of the pack in this race meant my time started before I actually started moving. I started my watch, started running and hoped for the best. I was very good about keeping my pace manageable and not getting ahead of myself. I was actually behind some of the “walkers” but I didn’t care, I just wanted to finish.
I felt pretty good until just past the 1 mile mark. I started to get a side stitch and thought it was all going to be over. I continued to push through it and eventually was running side by side with an older woman. I thought to myself “she’s not stopping, there’s no way I’m going to stop running!” and I continued to push myself forward. Before I knew it, I had reached mile 2. Then I could start to see where I thought the finish line was. I had planned on sprinting the last bit when I neared the finish line but I misjudged where it actually was and started sprinting earlier than I should have. This meant I exhausted myself earlier than I wanted to and had to slow down a bit before I actually finished. I came in huffing & puffing with a time between 35:25 & 35:35 (I don’t know my official time yet). Using 35:35 as my time, it makes my pace 11:28 min/mi which is a PR pace(best pace time to date was 11:49) and, of course, total time is also a PR seeing as this is my first time running this distance. **Official time was 35:28, making my pace 11:26** I ranked 176 out of 311 participants.
The race route was a flat out & back with a loop through a neighbourhood and the road went along the Gulf of Mexico. Gorgeous area for a run! There were quite a few runners & cyclists getting their runs in while we were racing, too. It was clear this place is a popular route for runners.
We stayed for the awards ceremony, during which Steve got 1st in his age group, and then we headed to the car to start our trek home. It was about 1030 am by this point and the kids were getting restless. We loaded everyone in the car and we were off. Both kids were asleep by the time we hit the road.
I had a great time and am looking forward to participating in more races in the near future. I’m also aspiring to better myself as a runner and to beat my PRs along the way.