Monday, April 30, 2012

How To Run a 5K Without Preparing

I woke up Sunday morning feeling fairly miserable with a cold. I committed to participating in a 1 mile fun walk/run, so I dragged myself out of bed, took some Dayquil and left for the event. Upon arrival, we picked up our packet and T-shirts and noticed a mix-up just before the walk started. Although I received just the normal racing number (I’m sure there’s some fancy facing term for this), my wife received a racing number with a special strip that times you when you start the race and cross the finish line. While we thought that we both signed up for the 1 mile fun walk/run, the event staff signed up my wife for the 5K portion of the event. No big deal as we completed the walk and figured that we were done for the day. However, some friends signed up for the 5K, and since we already had the special race number, I decided that I would borrow her number and run the 5K. This was a mistake.

When I ran a 5K about 18 months ago, I was in decent shape through all of my running as a soccer referee. Now, my only exercise consists of short-distance running. (This is a fancy way of writing that I get most of my exercise sprinting to catch the bus and Metro.) Despite being out-of-shape, not feeling well and not prepared to run a race (meaning wearing heavier clothes than one would normally wear for a race with no music or stopwatch), my competitive side took over. I wanted to see if I could beat the time from the previous 5K and who knew when I would have the opportunity to run a 5K again. The answer to if I could beat the time from the previous 5K was clearly no.

About a 1/2 mile into the race, my right ankle started bothering me. While I persevered through the race, the ankle discomfort, my stuffed up nose and my general out-of-shapeness caused me to finish in 31 minutes and 34 seconds. Not bad, but this was also 4 minutes more than the previous 5K. The good news is that I finished in 20th place for the 30-39 female division! Overall, I finished in spot #215 out of 351 runners. There were a lot of kids in the race, so it was a little discouraging seeing that several 8 and 9 year-old kids had better times than I did; however, a 9 year-old me probably would have ran a better time than the current me.

A personal highlight of the race was running near (as I would later learn by looking at the results) a 62 year-old man. We were close to each other over the last half of the race, and I desperately wanted to make sure I defeated him. (See competitive nature above.) There were a few times when my ankle pain caused me to walk for about 20-30 seconds, but I made sure to stay within range of him. Near the race’s conclusion, I made my move for the big finish and soared past him. It turns out that I defeated the old(er) guy by 20 seconds. I’m awesome!

The lowlight of the race was missing out on the post-race donuts. Although I had plenty of water along with an orange, some bread and a banana, I missed the table with donuts. Donuts seem to be the perfect reward for running a 5K. Yes, I want a donut now!

Despite being sore today, I’m glad that I ran the 5K since the proceeds went to a good cause. Plus, I have a brand new T-shirt and a time to beat for my next 5K when I try this again next year (but not sooner!).


Michael Cole said...

You should do the Krispy Kreme Challenge where you eat doughnuts during the race. That was a fun race.

Sean said...

MC - I'm all for a doughnuts after the race, but I'm not sure I could complete the Kristy Kreme Challenge. Does sound like fun though.