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Finished my first 5K

Sunday, May 06, 2012

For a number of years one of my dream goals was to run a 5k race. Every year it seems I'd get some running program started, then as the weather turned bad, so would my program. Last year we bought a treadmill, which is one of the best purchases in my life. I was able to work on it throughout the winter weather, which was great.

My local middle school decided to put on a 5k, so a few weeks ago I signed up. My training was going well. I was running about 35 minutes at a time (using C25K) as the race approached.

A few days before the race I was getting nervous. What had I gotten myself into?! I knew I could finish, but I just didn't want to look pathetic. The day of the race I showed up right at 8am when registration opened. Way too early (race was at 9:30am), but I wasn't sure what to expect. Then all these fit, athletic runner types show up. Too much intimidation waiting around for a long time.

I had two goals for the race. I wanted to finish under 36:00 and not be the last person across the finish line. I wasn't sure what type of pace I'd run, as I usually probably run a 12 minute mile. I knew I should start near the back of the starting line, so I was one of the last to start the race. I also knew that I should start slow and conserve energy for the end.

Running with a group has a lot of advantages. Throughout the race my strategy was to pick someone up ahead and try to keep pace with them, then eventually try to pass them. There is just a feeling of exhilaration passing someone (probably too much competition in me). I even passed two people on the long hill! I used this to determine my pace for the race and it paid off. Towards the end this kid and me were racing to see who finished first. He won, but it kicked my speed up a bunch.

Great experience, definitely will do it again. Finished in 28:20, much faster than I ever thought possible. For the rest of the day I would just start chuckling to myself and my wife would know I was still thinking about the race.

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