I finished my first 5k race of the year last night. It was an event through my work. Every year the city of Edmonton has this event called Corporate Challenge. It’s basically an Olympics style event in the city where all companies can compete against each other in various sports. It’s pretty huge….this is my first year actually participating in it. I decided to do the ‘Road Race’….there were two lengths of runs, 8k and 5k. I knew as soon as I signed up that I was going to do the 5k. I don’t have too many lofty speed/race goals this year….I just want to finish a few events….and a 5k was right up there. There were 6 of us on the team, 3 of us did the 5k and 3 the 8k.
So of course yesterday afternoon, I’m not sure how, but I ended up having the worst stomach pains. I thought it had something to do with my nerves but I wasn’t really all that nervous. I felt good about the run. We had had weekly practices as a team and I had done a couple runs of my own at the gym. So I was prepared. Ok, maybe I was a little nervous, but that came later and generally nervous stomach feels different than sick stomach. I think I just reacted to something I ate yesterday. I was in the bathroom a lot in the afternoon and was starting to get scared that I wouldn’t be able to run. I managed to get home after work, still not feeling completely 100%, had a few crackers and kept drinking my water. I started feeling better….
The three of us….me, J, and Gimli jumped in the car and headed out to the site. I love that J and Gimli were there as our team’s little cheering section. :) J was even wearing her running gear, just in case I couldn’t participate…she would step in. We got there and I ended up being the first of our team there. It was a bit crazy with all the other teams milling about. I’m not sure how it worked….maybe by the size of company….but depending what company you worked for you were in a specific color category. We were in the red division. My team finally gathered and we got signed in…..the 8krs went on ahead as they were out of the gate first while us 5krs hung out a little. As it turned out the red division was the last division sent out of the starting gate. I was starting to worry a little bit….with the 5k runners starting after the 8k runners and red division last would I be the last person running around the track?
The course started on a track at the University…..the runners made a 3/4 loop of the track and then exited out to the bike trail leading away from the field…..2.5 km out, 2.5 km back. I didn’t want to be last off the track but I also didn’t want to overdo it on the first half kilometer or so.
I ended up doing a warm up lap of that track…..a brisk walk. I seem to do better once I do a 5 minute walk. My stomach was behaving so I knew I was definitely running! No turning back! hehe We then went to the starting line and basically stood like a herd of cattle waiting for our division to start. I looked at my watch just after I went through the gate and it was 7:15pm. It was hard to find my pace at first…..running in the midst of the crowd. I kinda put my head down and followed the track line until we rounded it and I had more room. I ended up not being last out of the track but not overdoing it either, so that was good.
See?...not last! (that's me in the blue jacket!)
I decided to do 10s and 1s. I would run for 10 minutes, walk for 1, etc. My first 10 minutes landed me at the first water station along the route. So it ended up being a 2 minute walk as I drank a bit of water. I was never alone along the route, which was nice….I was always in the midst of other runners…..or had them close in my sights. I started running again after the 2 minute break. My next 10 minutes would end at 7:36 so I had that time in my mind. After a few minutes I realized I felt pretty good. The first 10 minutes is always the worst but now I was feeling really warmed up and I had a good running and breathing pace going so I decided in my head that I would just run until I felt I needed a break. I wouldn’t look at my watch or give myself a time limit.
Then, of course, after a few minutes I had the thought in my head that maybe I could finish the race without anymore stops. You know how that goes. The inner dialogue is intense sometimes. ‘I’ll just make it to the half way point’, ‘should I check the time’, ‘I’ve run 20 minutes straight before’. Lol By this time the other girl who was doing the 5k had passed me going the other way heading towards the finish line. The route was a loop basically…..as I was running people were on their way back….finishing the loop. I still felt pretty good. I actually ended up thinking of a Spark blog I read about a beginner runner who had ran a 5k without stopping…..she ran it slowly, but still finished it. I thought if she could do it…..I could do it too. If I started feeling tired I would slow my pace a little but I would try to not stop.
I reached the 2nd water station at the half way point…..the turn around came up sooner than I thought it would. I slowed down, kept running but grabbed some water. Just took a few sips and then I was on the way back! Sweet.
I still kept going…..still felt good. Breathe in, 3 strides, breathe out, 3 strides. There’s the LRT crossing….that’s the last time I’ll see that. This is where that girl passed me earlier, I’m close now. Here’s the sharp left to head back…. Oh there’s the 1st water station again….do I need water? No, I’m just going to keep going. Pass the water station I can see the final turn in the distance. One more long stretch and wait a minute………my shoe’s untied!!!!!
Note to self: double knot your running shoes before every race!!! My one extra stop due to wardrobe malfunction. Now that was frustrating. I made the quick fix, which combined a little hamstring stretch….I guess that part was good! I seriously thought oh crap, if I stop I’m not going to be able to start again…..I think I was at the 4 km mark at this point…..not totally sure of the distance but the final turn was in my sights. I did manage to start again and felt good…..I thought ok, you’re feeling good get around that turn and head to the track.
I saw the track and made it in…..a quarter lap to the finish line. The finish line was not very clear….the organizers had taken down the big starting gate so it was just marked by the huge crowd of people gathered around it. I passed J and she snapped a few pics of me finishing.....
Not sure how I have the same smile on my face as the start. lol
The ‘finish line’ was basically an area divided by division. I just headed to the red division area and stopped. The participants all formed a line as they finished and a portion of our race bib was detached to record our order of arrival. Yeah, so the race wasn’t timed but I looked at my watch as I waited in the line and it was 7:50pm. That would put my time at about 35 minutes, give or take a minute. Before I looked at my time my guess was that it would be 8:00pm or 8 something. My last practice run was on the treadmill at the gym and I clocked it at 45 minutes. I was excited to see 35 minutes. It was better than I had thought and I know it was better than the 5k I ran last year….that one was somewhere between 36 and 38 minutes from what I can remember. Again, I have no lofty time or speed goals here but to know I ran it in 35 minutes with only one 2 minute stop was really awesome.
After they took my little bib thing I found J, got a big huge hug, and a little teary. Gimli was excited to see me, jumping up on me. I got some water and free cookies (yum!). I met up with the rest of the team and got some free swag from our captain with work logos on it. I was the second last of our team to finish…..one of the 8kers came in after me but again, that was ok by me! We got some great team pics and then J, G, and I went on our way. I felt good, and I actually feel good today…..not sore at all. I can definitely tell that I’ve done something with my body, but I’m moving really well.
Me with the team....my hair was caught by the wind....it sure was windy!
So I ended up being kind of emotional as I was coming around the track to the finish and then after I was done the race. I think I still carry the belief inside that I’m not going to be able to finish. That I’m not strong enough to do these races or pull off these athletic events. And to actually finish overwhelms me. I mean really, 2 years ago I was a lump on a couch….and yesterday I finished a 5k with energy and breath to spare….. That 34 year old lump is still pretty loud….she likes to bully the 2 year old athlete a lot. I kinda hate here but she reminds me of where I was back then and where I don’t want to be again and just how far I’ve come in my journey. haha One day the athlete will be as old as the lump and then we’ll see who has the last laugh. lol
Next race report to come…..June 11 and 12 bike tour from Leduc to Camrose and back…..185 km! Eeek….ok, 2 year old stay strong. You can do it!