Spontaneity: My First 5K. DONE!!!

Monday, September 06, 2010

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!
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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)

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“OPERATION 5K” emoticon (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.

Bless, everyone! emoticon emoticon
emoticon...for reading. Leave me a note... I love that! emoticon

"If at first you don't succeed... try, try again."

With man, this is possible. With GOD, ALL things are possible.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    WOW, girl sorry for the late reply...but you go girl! Sometimes things that you do without thinking over and over are the best things you could have ever done. Not to mention the most memorable! Girl, you freaken rock...keep it up

    BTW love your smile!
    3661 days ago
    In a week I'm running my first 5K. I've been nervous about it but your blog helped! Thanks for all the great advice! Woo-Hoo to you!
    3664 days ago
    This is one of the most inspiring blogs I have read on here! I am so happy for you! Isn't wonderful to realize that there are people everywhere rooting for you? Congratulations on taking this huge leap for yourself!!

    This is just awesome!
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    3664 days ago
    Wow! I've always wanted to run again. I ran track in middle and high school as well as cross country. I was in ROTC in college and remember sprinting my first mile and a half...running about an 6-8 minute mile. Now...gosh...college, marriage, a child...blah! running is but a distant memory. I want to run again. Your blog has inspired me... i'm going to check out the "K's" in the Nashville area to see what's going on this spring...

    Then...it's off to find a way to "start" to run again... walking, treadmills, and ellipticals--yes..running...oh my!

    Congrats again lady! emoticon
    3671 days ago
    Excellent! Great attitude and perseverance. Congratulations!

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    3671 days ago
    Oh, also, I forgot to say that you look really great in the pics! I love your blue shirt-- definitely picked a good race-day outfit ;)
    3671 days ago
    HORRAY!!!!! YOU DID IT! I have so so much admiration for you to just decide randomly one afternoon that you'll run a 5K the next day-- and then push through and finish strong! Also, I think it's way impressive that you did so well when part of the race was on sand, which makes running much harder I think. So nice that Sharon could stop by to cheer you on-- which I could have been there in Miami as well (for many reasons, haha!)

    Anyways, I have been contemplating signing up for a 5k and reading your blog just sealed the deal. Thanks for compiling all the race tips and for your detailed account of the experience-- it will be very helpful for my first 5K!
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    3671 days ago
    emoticon CONGRATULATIONS on your 1st 5k!! YOU DID IT!! Great pictures! You ran along OCEAN DRIVE....love that area, HOT!! You look so happy, as well you should be...You worked for it girl! WooT! I dig that MB came out to cheer ya on! That's SPARK LOVE BABY!!
    3672 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/8/2010 11:32:46 PM
    Thank you for sharing this!! It is obvious that this was a life changing experience for you. It is so great that your friend, Sharon, showed up to support you! I just started the c25k program, but I know one day I will be signing up for a 5k...especially after reading your blog.
    3672 days ago
    This is TOTALLY AWESOME! I wish I could have been there to cheer you on! I would've put on a cheerleading outfit and everything. Okay, maybe the outfit would be a little overboard! LOL! I am proud of you! It was cool of Sharon to be out there to support you! One day, I am going to run a race with you! Not virtual, but the real deal! You down?

    OMG! I got to see pictures of your pretty face! If you are going to allow pictures without obstructing your face, I need to get you in another race! Congrats!
    3673 days ago
    Yay!!! I am so excited for you! It sounds like you had a great race and you got to meet a Spark friend to boot.

    Thanks for the blog. I feel like I was there. emoticon
    3673 days ago
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    I'm so proud of you!!! I could just cry reading this!!!!
    3674 days ago
  • LUVNY199
    emoticon Great job!
    3674 days ago


    your weightloss gurlfriend,
    (yahoo im: belton_lynn)

    3674 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/7/2010 11:33:21 AM
    emoticon I knew you could do it. I'm so glad you had someone there for support. emoticon Great blog.
    3674 days ago
  • LASHAY74
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    AGAIN CONGRATS.....I couldn't wait to long on to hear about your race!

    3674 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6156797
    Congrats! That's awesome!!
    3674 days ago
  • CRIS76
    I absolutely love this blog - I love that you just up and did it, that you did it well, and that someone from spark was there to cheer you on - you did amazing and as a side note: you look amazing too!
    3674 days ago
    What an awesome experience. You did it Girl! Congratulations and the recap was amazing. I felt like I was there with you. Might I also add how amazing you looked after the race.

    Way to go!
    3674 days ago
    You did GREAT! and Sharon is sooooo sweet to come out and support you! awww!

    I love all your pictures! South Beach just sounds amazing from everything I have heard, so alive and full of energy, I hope one day to visit and experience it.

    You are so strong to be able to pick up and do these events, critical mass, 5K, by yourself, so don't look around and think about how all these people have someone - think about what a strong independent woman you are to do these things by yourself and that makes you a great person.

    emoticon On your FIRST 5K! Not your last! emoticon
    3674 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4286804
    What a good time! emoticon
    3674 days ago
  • BRANDI0074
    I am so proud of you! It looked like a beautiful run!!!
    3674 days ago
    (laughing) I know right...! I'm just grinning like a fool (lol)... I guess I really was just happy in that moment, and that I had a friend there, even just to take that pic... (thanks to Sharon!). It was the best! Thanks friends! I'm so glad you all have shared it with me...
    3674 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5483846
    you look so happy! i must also have the same silly grin on my face after my first 5K and 10K. actually there's a silly grin on my face after every race. it pumps me up! lol. congrats on the run! :D
    3674 days ago
    I LOVE IT!!!!!!!! In Martin's voice: YOU BETTA GO GIRL!!! YOU ARE AWESOME!! You are also GLOWING in your pics!
    3674 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6096849
    My gosh, April, reading this blog has me in tears. I'm just so absolutely happy for you in so many different ways. Crossing that finish line through the pain and cramps is so inspiring. You didn't give up through the pain and just kept pushing on; having Sharon there to met you as your crossed the finish line really touched my heart too. It's always refreshing to remember that through all our doubts and tribulations we have spark friends who always have our back with an encouraging word or just to be there as you complete a major milestone. I'm glad you were spontaneous and signed up for this. Good for you girlfriend. xoxo
    3674 days ago
  • HHI0901
    YAY! Congrats girl!!
    3674 days ago
    LOVED the blog and the pictures! I think the advice you give is great and I hope to refer to it when I plan my FUTURE 5k!
    3674 days ago
    AWESOME I was running with you in my mind emoticon emoticon Keep running God with you all the way. Even sent some rain to cool things off. What is for is for you.God appointed.
    3674 days ago
    I am so happy! It's wonderful having so many SP friends cheering me on in this. And I lost two pounds because of it too! Woot. That alone will keep me going. I swear if I could've moonwalked across the sand and passed the finish line I would've.... (laughing).
    emoticon to everyone!
    3674 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5035425
    congratulations to you! i am so proud of you for doing it and following through. you are definitely inspiring me to get out there and do a 5k myself. you go girl!
    3674 days ago
    Congratulations sis. I was laughing at the same time saying Great Job. It is so much fun to get out there your first time you learn so much for the next time even with the up front advice. Glad you did it and now you can get ready for the next one. WooHoo. I'm so glad you had support and weren't on your own.

    Keep up the great work.
    3674 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon What more is there to say: AWESOME! @ Sharon thanks for showing what a emoticon is made of! April: God bless you and what an inspiration you are. Thanks for sharing your story. Can hardly wait to see what's next...

    emoticon Debbie
    3674 days ago
  • WARRIOR11209
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon so glad to read the blog! You are now hooked ,bask in the post-race glow!!
    3674 days ago
    Yipppppeeeeee April!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    I am so happy for you! What an accomplishment in good time too!

    3674 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon Great job. I love it when you finish ahead of what you thought you could do. And, SAND! Don't believe they made you run on sand! Sand is terrible for running. No wonder you were tired the rest of the way. Anyway, GREAT JOB!
    3674 days ago
    So awesome girl! Thanks for sharing it all with us! You did it!!! YAY!!!!
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    3675 days ago
  • ROBYN168
    Way to go April - knew you could do it!!!!! I felt like I was running the race with you. Wish I could have stood next to Sharon to cheer you on - but MA to FL, too long a car ride.. emoticon

    3675 days ago
    Awesome job April! Congrats on your 5K! Thanks for sharing. You're a Rock Star!! emoticon emoticon
    3675 days ago
    YAY Aprile!!! GREAT JOB GIRL!!! I couldn't wait to read your blog! PS Sharon really is the best!
    3675 days ago
  • CARLA0716
    That's awesome! I love this line in your blog: "... all different walks of runners..." haha. So happy for you that you did the 5K...looking forward to hearing about your next race!
    3675 days ago

    YOU FINISHED!!! That's what matters, VERY VERY NICE!!

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    3675 days ago
    April, nice job! You did FANTASTIC!!! I'm so proud of you for facing the challenge HEAD ON!!! I'm glad you are feeling OK in the "aftermath" ! It was wonderful to meet you and I look forward to cheering you on again soon!
    3675 days ago
    I knew you could do it! And you made great time!!!! So proud of you and inspired. You rock!
    3675 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7632332
    Yeeeeeee Haaaawwwww! You did it----now maybe I will too! Congratulations!!!!!
    3675 days ago
    You go girl! That is awesome! Congratulations;)
    3675 days ago
    Yay!!!! Awesome job! It sonds like you had a great time and accomplished a big goal at the same time - so CONGRATS!!
    3675 days ago
  • MISSY1013
    Great job! I enjoyed reading about your experiences especially since I planning on running my first 5k at the end of October. Thanks for sharing.

    3675 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.