So in my spontaneity on the cusp of last Friday, signing up for my first 5k, of which was the very next day, I DID IT!!! Not knowing what to expect, if I was ready, if I could handle it… I just jumped in and signed up… AND I did it, I did it, I did it. Yesssss! I’m still quite psyched. First 5K, DONE….CHECK off the list!
It was… Saturday, September 4th, 6:30pm EST.
The Publix Family Fitness Weekend Miami Beach 5k Run/Walk.
Since it was my first race ANYTHING, in a world where just six months ago I didn’t even think of myself as a runner, it was quite an “operation”…(laughing). Here is the journey of it all…
Saturday morning! Since the race is in the evening (TG!), I remain in avid “rest mode” all day just so I can conserve energy. My excitement and trepidation of the day before has turned into some kind of zen-like calm and I just “cruise” through quite a bit of the day.
In checking my email and spark pages, I was overwhelmed by all the blog luv and support I was getting! It was so much fun. Some Sparkers were even telling me that they signed up for their first 5Ks because of my hub bub. Absolutely made my day! For the support, thanks to everyone a million to the tenth power!!! (:P) And I got a ton of great advice… (here it is for anyone who needs it… *hint, hint* to you, yes YOU, if you haven’t run your first race yet.
1-Carb rich dinner the night before. Carb rich diet day of, but not too heavy. (BTW, I used the “ extra carb allowance” to eat pancakes. Yum! ;P)
1-Don’t wear anything you haven’t trained in (so you know it’s comfy). And definitely a good bra. Fanny pack for camera, etc.
2-Stay hydrated day of... except within an hour of race time.
3-Get there super early, 1.5 to 2 hours is best. Bring bike even to cruise the course beforehand.
4-Yogurt/banana/coconut water/snack before race for fuel.
6-At race time, Stay out of the front as to not get caught up with the fast runners.
5-Don’t start fast!!! Go slow and steady, but maybe a small push per KM.
7-Always glance behind you before walking as to avoid a crash with any runners.
8-Plan for interval run/walks similar to own training style. Like run 8 min, walk 2.
9-Plan to stretch and elevate legs following.
10-Plan ahead to medicate your body if necessary. So have ice packs, bandages, Epsom salt, bengay, whatever, ready, beforehand.
Great, great, great advice!!! Thanks everyone!
So time came and I began to finish packing and get everything going. Would you believe that right before I was about to leave I was worried about what to wear?!? Does this shirt look better, how about this one? (sigh) I am such a girl… (laughing)
(Here come the pics!)
I arrive in South Beach, (without getting lost I might add, woot!), and the whole strip is just alive. Miami Beach is such a fantastic, vibrant area. And I was right in the prime of it… Ocean Drive. Traffic, shops, open air restaurants, Lambourghinis and Ferraris, pedestrians from all around the world, bars and dance spots with their lingered jazz, salsa and hip hop music in the air, mopeds zipping up and down the street and all the half-naked bathing suit and bikini clad people everywhere walking to and from the beach. Then across the way is the beach and the start of the race area.
So I get to the race start/check in point. Right on the edge of the parkside of the beach. There’s a crowd there gathering of all different walks of runners. Ranging from the complete casual same day registrations to the high school track stars to the semi and complete professional runners. One thing I notice about all of them is they all have someone there with them. At least someONE. Family, friends… all gathered around them excited, taking pics. Some were even all running together. (sigh) I move through the area and force myself not to think about it.
It was really well organized, with really nice staff. (Sidenote: Great goodie bag too! They had a free Snickers Marathon Energy bar in the bag…so, soooo good. Highly recommend.) So I get my race packet, attach my number, 319!, and wire my electronic tracker thingie through my shoelaces.
All of a sudden, it got dark. “At this time??” I thought. I look up just in time for the first drop of rain. Within a minute, the sky just opened up and dropped down buckets of rain (this is why I always Ziploc my electronics when I run no matter what the whether is). Everyone on the beach and at the 5K area just ran for cover!!! It was like this massive mass scatter! So funny! It stayed raining like that for about 20 mins. And then, just like that, it was gone. Cooled everything down. And just in time for the race.
Then everyone gathered at the start, I hear the announcer, and then the mass joined in the countdown, “10, 9, 8… 3, 2, 1! And they’re off!”
First stretch was sand (because we started half on the beach). The rain also packed down the sand, so that was good. I stayed true to the advice. I chilled in the back and started off slow. Since I’m in my “1 mile” week on the C25K program, I ran the first mile straight.
The course went from sand to sidewalk pathway, and then to the boardwalk alongside the beach. It was really scenic and all the beach goers were walking to and fro, supporting and looking on in curiosity. I liked that part, because you felt “with” the beach activity, instead of “against” it, you know? My cadence was ‘pound-the-pavement, breath in, pound the pavement, breath out’.
After that first great mile, which I completely ran in about 13 minutes, we got onto the middle stretch, which was the boardwalk. So I started run/walk intervals. I didn’t do as well with the intervals as I had hoped. I was experiencing cramping in my side despite my breath training. It was just like someone was sticking a knife in me with every breath I took. Also because of the downpour, there were lots of puddles to maneuver. So instead of my planned intervals of run 8 mins, walk 2, I ran 4 mins, and quick-walked 2. I was in a lot of pain and my shoes were soaked, but I just kept pushing through it.
Finally the boardwalk portion doubled back which signaled I was at the halfway point. This is where all the experienced and race runners were barreling back down the course on their back trip. They were so amazing!!! Like freight trains, with legs… (laughing) Boggled my mind, their speed and stamina. And there I was struggling ‘pound-the-pavement, breath in, PAIN, push, pound the pavement, breath out, PAIN, PUSH!’
Anyway, it felt like forever, but I finally made it for the 1.75 miles along the boardwalk. As soon as we got back to the sidewalk pathway and I saw the sand again and the finish line in the end, I was good. For some reason, something just clicked. I just knew… I had it. I completely had it. It was that whole zen-like calm thing again. I pushed my speed for that last .75 mile-stretch and comfortably raced back into the finish area and across the finish line! Shoes squishing and everything. Yesssss!!!
(This isn’t really when I crossed the finish line. Didn’t have anyone to take a pic. But later, me and Sharon “faked” this pic for the blog…lol.)
I get in and cross the finish line and I am just complete rubber. I’m going to fall. I grab a water and start walking out of the post huffing and puffing, but some race official is blocking me, “Good job, good job… You got to take off your transmitter and hand it in before leaving the area.” I was like WHAT?!?! I can barely put one foot in front of the other and you expect me to actually bend down, balance myself AND undo this thing so intricately tied on my shoe?!? People – I don’t know how I did it, but I did… (laughing) TG!
Ok, so back up to right before I cross the finish line, I hear someone calling my name… “Go Aprile, don’t stop, keep going, almost there… yeah Aprile!” It was my SparkPeople friend Sharon (MBSHAZZER). She actually took the time out of her life to come by to cheer me on for my first race. Sharon, for a million lifetimes you don’t know how much that meant to me!! People – can you imagine that she was that sweet?!?
So I go out to meet Sharon and it was so great. She hugged me and cheered me on and kept pushing me to keep walking for cooling down. Mind you, this is the first time we’re meeting in person. And she was just beyond words wonderful!
We walked over to check out my time and would you believe I came in 10th in my age group? Woot, woot! On top of that I did better than I thought I would. With my training I estimated finishing in 45 minutes, at the LEAST, and definitely under 60. But my actual time was 42:25!!! It was great.
The rest of the evening I just was so happy to have a friend there. Sharon and I caught up and talked a lot, took lots of pictures and just kept walking out along Ocean Drive and the whole strip. Really, really nice cool down to it all.
Me and Sharon (MBSHAZZER) who came out to support me at the race.
When I got back in my car, I had no major aches or pains… I was just a little tired. That told me I was ready to run that 5K all along. And that felt really good too, to know that I’ve come this far on Sparkpeople and am fit enough to do something like this.
As soon as I got home I showered, then took an Epsom salt bath soak, iced my legs, downed some omega three supplements and went to sleep. The only thing that would have made it better was some lovely man to come home to who could also have been there to give me a massage…oh, what dreams are made of… (smiling). Maybe some day…
After race day, I am extra tired, but good. Still no major aches or pains and after stretching, everything feels fine. And for everyone who said so, you’re right. It is addicting! I already know there will be a next 5K or “whatever-K” race as I train to build endurance. Now, I’ll be striving to run a 5K straight from start to finish. Always gotta have goals. (;P) And again, thanks to absolutely everyone of you who took the time for support. It meant the world to me…
So I did it! Spontaneity and all. I had such a great time. And I think, even despite the pain, I smiled throughout the race from start to finish.
**9/4/10. First 5K, done! No. 319. Time: 42:25**
Hope this inspires the race runner or even just runner in you. It only takes one step to start… or maybe just the extra push to sign up.
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