Wednesday, May 09, 2012
I’ve walked a 5K before, but have never run one all the way through.
That’s my goal. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
Yesterday, I managed to eke out 3.1 miles in just over 45 minutes. I know, I know, I can feel your jealousy oozing through my laptop – I can run a 5K in about the same time it takes many people to walk one! Trust me though, it’s a very different motion – ask my shoulders. And knees. Or just about any other body part, really.
The basics of a race are common sense: don’t start too fast, bring water, pin your number on ahead of time, warm up, line up according to pace (in the middle of the walkers?) and stop worrying about what I look like. I added stuff for “big girls” such as wearing 2 sports bras, compression shorts, and ensuring no family member takes rear-view photos. I don’t need a snack, but do need to find a place to stick my keys. I haven’t worked out how to get photos for the blog; (no stopping midway!) pre and post race pics will have to do.
Determined to minimize the risk of something going Horribly Wrong, I Googled, “Running 5K Tips.” One of the first links was to a discussion thread on Runners World. Authority! “My First 5K Race Is Tomorrow. Any Tips?”
(We beginners are all alike. It’s so endearing.)
BigDave72 provided the first answer (and I swear, this is as prosaic as this post is going to get):
“A good p00p before the race seems to be the general consensus.”
And when he said consensus, he wasn’t kidding -- literally, the next couple dozen posts all said, yes, that is extremely valuable advice. That, and bring dry clothes. I could almost feel them nodding sagely.
I looked up from my laptop at my 17-year-old cross-country running son. I wanted to ask him about this, but not scar him with a totally inappropriate formative moment. He’d already seen my face though (I wish I could have seen it) and asked what was up.
I said, “So, when you run… do you… um, is it important to go to the bathroom beforehand?”
He didn’t even blink. “Mom, yes, we always go before a race. You’ll be in trouble if you don’t.”
“I’ve never had that problem before.”
“No, but you’ve never tried to run a race when you’re nervous and excited before. Adrenaline does things to your guts.”
Oh, my wise and experienced baby. What else?
“Don’t eat meat before the race. Or drink milk – that’s the worst. You could throw up, too.”
“My trainer said you’re either a puker or not a puker.”
(Sorry, I did say the p00p thing would be the worst, but apparently I am not a woman of my written word).
“She didn’t mean racing. Look, do it if you want, but you’ll be sorry.”
I do not want to be sorry. I called a couple friends who are runners (curiosity won out over propriety) and they were all very matter-of-fact, confirming that this was an essential and routine race preparation – of which I had never heard. They were also enthusiastic, almost gleeful, about sharing their own personal experience. More than one said to watch the lines at the port-o-potties for confirmation. My daughter said she (also a cross-country runner) once lost crucial time in a race due to an ill-timed hot dog. I will spare you the details of the more gruesome “learning the hard way lessons.” You are welcome!
So, for Sparkers running their first races (I know there are a few of us heading out this weekend), it’s not that I want to give you one more thing to worry about. Consider this insider advice gleaned from Those In the Know. Like my kid’s entire cross country team, people who like milk, and specifically, BigDave72 on runnersworld.com -- who has some hilarious posts there and had the guts (pun intended) to put it out there (not intended). Good luck to all!