The day was starting out craptastic. I set my alarm for 5am, so I could be up and completely ready to go by 6am. I did everything right the previous night. I ate a healthy dinner, full of protein, carbs, and lot of veggies, but wasn’t too filling or would disrupt my sleep. I assembled my outfit and laid it out so all I had to do was dress. I planned my morning routine: take my morning meds with 16oz of water. Chew down vitamin C gummies (to help with exercise induced asthma). Get dressed/ready. One cup of coffee, with fat free milk and minimal sugar (to also help with exercise induced asthma). Chocolate cream of wheat with tart dried cherries and almonds (for energy and muscle recovery) packed in a thermal container for later in the morning. One bottle of water. Backpack with inhalers already inside. Then, I went to bed early, at about 10:30pm and was asleep by 11. Yeah, I know, but that’s really early for me! And would have been adequate for my needs.
At 2:00am, I woke up. And I was wide awake. I seriously didn’t feel nervous or anxious or restless. I have no idea why I woke up. Maybe I was experiencing some anxiety and I just didn’t know it. My mind wasn’t really thinking about the race. I wasn’t panicked that I’d sleep through my alarm. I wasn’t panicked that I’d be thrown off due to the time change, which would be odd ‘cuz I always feel thrown off by the time change. I don’t know what happened… all I can say is, when 5am rolled around, I was pretty pissed off that I had only slept 3 hours.
Oddly, I was still wide awake. I didn’t feel drowsy or fatigued at all. Got ready to go, and with supplies in hand, walked out the door to wait for Leah (SPRING4FAL) to pick me up. It had been quite some time since I’d seen her and the minute she drove up, I realized how much I’d missed her! We drove on, catching up on as much as we could on the short drive to Del Mar. The next step of the process was so smooth and quick, I was stunned. I expected to stand in a long line to get into the fairgrounds, stand in another line to get my bib, another one for my swag… You know, like at ComiCon. I was expecting hours of “Lineception”. Instead, we found parking right away, walked right to where we needed to go (although it was some distance away), got our bibs and bags waiting in a line 2 people deep, and BOOM. That was pretty much it. We began the task of tracking down San Diego Sparks who were arriving or had arrived. We found Jocelyn (WOLFKITTY), who I also missed very much and hadn’t seen in WAY too long, and Heather (NEWSGIRL2177), and then more Sparks trickled in… Linda (SMILEY1LK), Bonnie (ADVENTURE-GIRL), Lesa (ABB698), and a few other lovely ladies whose names I didn’t catch, sadly. One of them had a 13-year-old daughter who was beyond adorable! She was so friendly and sweet.
As I ate my breakfast, Leah and I decided to head back to the car to ditch the “excess baggage” before the beginning of the fun. I puffed my inhalers, licked my spoon clean, and jammed my chapstick and my phone in my bra. We met back up with the rest of our folks, and before long, we were being herded to the race track area. I snagged a plastic bag from a vendor to jam my phone in (didn’t want any sweat ruining it) and stuffed it safely in my bra again. Ingenuity at its finest, folks. You heard it here first. At 7:30am, the 10k began. The racers were off and the 5k crowd surged forward. I was definitely anxious to get moving. I couldn’t stop moving, in fact! I kept marching in place to keep warm and warmed up. It was somewhere in the 50 degree zone at that time… for a Southern Californian, definitely a cold temp! The music was playing and I kept dancing in place to it. Those of us who were running the 5k took off for the front of the crowd, and the rest of us who were walking stayed back.
At 7:50am, our race began! It took 1:10 mins to cross the timing mat. I had the pleasure (and I mean that 110%!!!) to walk the race with Bonnie and Linda! Talk about great company!!! These ladies were so amazing and friendly. Conversation with them was so natural. I enjoyed every single second I spent in their company. No joke. It made the time pass quickly. We were probably 5 or so minutes out of the gate when we had an “Uh… what?” moment. There was a traffic jam, so to speak, of racers. I cannot even imagine how this happened, but we had an “out and back” (assuming that’s what they’re called) at that point… but, while we were heading out, those ahead of us were already coming back. So, we had to dodge and weave through each other to continue moving forward! It was like a 4-way stop where they took out all the stop signs and let everyone just have at it. Once we passed that craziness, we were good to go. We kept at an 18 minute mile pace. There was a water station along the way that was needed by me for sure. I held my cup, not comfortable with throwing it on the ground, and walked up to the trash can that was set up for us, and despite walking right up to it, totally missed the trash can. FAIL! I can only hang my head in shame. We cheered at the mile marker! WOO!
As we started well into the second mile, we discovered a nice hill we were going to have to ascend. Super. Luckily, we were warmed up and good to tackle it! My lungs felt normal. I was sweating appropriately, but not fatiguing. I wasn’t out of breath. By the end of that it was Hill- 0, Me- 1. In that hill’s face! The mile 2 marker was almost at the top of the hill and at that point, Linda decided to run the rest of the race. Bonnie and I continued on at our walking pace. We reached the top of the hill and turned around for the ascent back down. We watched some cheaters cut through the orange cones. (In their defense, some of them had young ones who were probably tired out by that time and just needed to get back to the finish to relax.) Still, you’re only cheating yourself… But, easy for me to say. I don’t have kids. Or pets. Just houseplants. Anywho, we approached the winding road leading back into the fairgrounds and before we knew it, the 3 mile marker was upon us! Only .2 more miles to go!!! Bonnie and I pretty much had one goal: don’t be last. We may/may not have kicked it up a little bit as we made our way down the final stretch of path to the finish. There were a few cheerleaders there. Up to that point, the cheerleaders were the people volunteering at the water stations and keeping track of the racers on the route. And they did a great job at that!
With the end near, we crossed the timing mat and ended our race! What an amazing feeling! I had just finished my first 5k ever! ME! An overweight asthmatic who had only been over an awful head cold for one week and who debated up until the very last minute to do the race. I finished. In under 70 minutes, which was the time limit on the race. My finishing time was 55:10 (gun time was 56:20). Once we were through, Bonnie and I looked at each other… “Now what?” We got our Finisher’s medals and scored some water and a sports drink. Gotta say… the IronMan Perform Orange Mango… not delicious. Glad I grabbed that water. I also grabbed a Muscle Milk, which I have not even cracked open. And probably won’t. I might give that to a friend.
Says: overall place 870 out of 936; division place 96 out of 102; time 55:10; pace 17:48; guntime 56:20
Bonnie and I tried to figure out where everyone was, and in that process we decided to grab our free breakfast. We got a bag with yogurt, a banana, a 400+ calorie muffin, orange juice… maybe something else, but not likely… and met up with some of the San Diego Sparks. We did some stretching and figured out where everyone else was… which was at a table to watch the awards being presented. On the table they had a bowl of fruit. I snagged a Granny Smith from another table and ate everything except my calorie bomb muffin. We took some pictures with us ladies. The weather started to get ominous about then, so most of us decided it was time to skedaddle. A few more pics later (maybe that was stalling since we didn’t really want to go?) and we hit the road.
I have to say, this whole experience was amazing. I had such a wonderful time! I exceeded expectations for myself and the event exceeded my expectations. It was wonderful to spend time with old friends and make some new ones. I am definitely going to do this again next year! (And maybe a few 5k’s in between! ;-) …)