Wait, That Wasn’t in 5K Your Way

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.”

Wait, what???

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.”

HUH. T-r-o-u-b-l-e.
“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!
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great info, thanks!! Godo luck on your run!!! That is my goal eventually but I don't feel ready yet!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2205 days ago
    Haha..this is funny. I just ran my first 5K a few weeks ago (and blogged about it) and I got stomach cramps halfway through. I didn't stop, but man...it was not pleasant. I will heed this advice from now on! It does explain the long lines at the port-o-potties before the race though.....
    2205 days ago
    I wish I would have been able to read your blog BEFORE I did my 1st 5K this past weekend!!! If you read my blog My first 5K!(What I learned and gratitude) I talk about wishing I had not ate bacon & orange juice with my breakfast!!!
    It sounds like it was probably the bacon that started everything off whacky! Evidently I not a "puker"! But there as a point I thought I would have felt better if I had been able to clear out my system! I could feel it at the top of my stomach the 1st 2 miles! GREAT ADVICE!!!

    Love the blog! Thanks for sharing!!!
    2205 days ago
    I read an article lately, "The Six Grossest Things About Running a Marathon" The person who is helping me train sent an article to me and there was a link that sent me to this one. I don't think she meant me to read this...EWWWWW!!! I had no idea just HOW gross things can get when trying to put 26.2 miles under your belt, walking OR running!! It's ok, I will make sure I'm prepared, I don't have to worry about at least some of the "female" things that go on (menopause), but I do NOT intend to be scurrying along leaving a "trail" behind me! Oh my goodness!!! I am going to be very aware of where the port-a-potties are when I do the Walk in June, that is for sure! emoticon
    2205 days ago
    I just started the Couch to 5k program this morning. Good to know!
    2205 days ago
    oh, yeah. A morning evac is definitely on the pre-race check list.

    something else 'they' don't tell you is that many of those pre-race energy gel packs contain something to help move the process along. When I ran the Peachtree (a 10k every Jul 4 in Atlanta), my running partner had a relative who was a trainer. The trainer gave us those gel packs. My running partner was furious, because she had to urgently head to the portajohn. Didn't affect me at all, because (like Dragon), I'm about as regular as a person can get. And heck, wouldn't you rather go BEFORE the race than during???

    love your writing style!

    please pray for Aimee emoticon
    (see my blog for details)
    2205 days ago
    Actually, that doesn't surprise me at all. I've noticed that if I haven't had my morning constitutional (I'm as regular as clockwork, generally) that running ALWAYS triggers the works to start moving.

    That is so hilarious, and thank you for sharing. Best blog I've seen in a long, long time.
    2205 days ago
    Wow, I had no idea! Thanks for the post!
    2206 days ago
    There are definitely some things most training programs don't tell you but are good to know! Yes, a 'bio break' before the race (or as many as needed) is smart; I have learned to head to the porta potties or restroom first thing before lines get too long. Watching what you eat the day before and especially the morning of the race is also very, very wise; it's not the time to try something new, eat what you usually do before running. The biggest thing, though, is to try and relax and have fun during the race--run at your own pace (even if walkers are passing you--been there, done that!) and know that you are going to do great. Remember, for the front runners it's a race; for the rest of us, it's just a fun run with a bunch of friends we haven't met!
    2206 days ago
    I'm kind of glad I didn't Google running 5k tips before I ran mine now. Not that I'm disgusted by anything like that (hello, biologist, I can't even tell you what I've either read, seen, or had to do). I think I would have just started over thinking things. But now that I think about it, it does seem to make sense. I would also suggest peeing beforehand? That's just based on my own personal experience of going outside to run and realizing 5 min into my run that I should have emptied my bladder. It just feels so uncomfortable running on a full bladder.

    You've been working with a trainer, are keeping up with the 5K training program, and are already aware of all the really important things (warming up, not starting fast, etc). I am sure you will be fine. I promise, it will be so much fun. You'll have a blast.

    As for the keys thing, I bought a pouch thingie (can you tell I'm a newbie too) at the sporting goods store. It's not that noticeable and is a ton better looking than a fanny pack.

    P.S. If you're a snot-factory runner like I am too, bring tissues.
    2206 days ago
    Thanks for the info. I plan on doing a 5K towards the end of the year. I'll file this in my 'need to no' info in my brain. Good luck on your 5K. Have fun.
    2206 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    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.