I’ve been wanting to write this post. But I’ve wanted to sort my thoughts and give you something great. So here we go.
I ran my very first 5K this past weekend and it was awesome. And for a first 5k, I couldn’t have picked a better one.
It’s called the Glo Run, and they do it at a number of large cities in the U.S.
I think it was a great race for beginners because:
1. It’s not timed.
2. It feels more like a party than anything else. There were dj’s at various points of the race. So people partied at the beginning, during and at the end. At the turnaround point, some folks stopped to do the wobble. It was pretty darn cool.
3. You can run, you can jog, you can walk, or dance.
So, even though I was nervous, I felt a lot better seeing all kinds of people-ages, races, shapes and sizes, participating. You should have seen all of the people lighting up the night in their glo gear! It was pretty darn awesome.
The event was held at the lovely National Harbor, a man-made mini metropolis filled with hotels, restaurants, shops and expensive condos, with an exceptional view of I’m guessing that’s the Potomac. It’s the go-to date spot for folks in the DC/Maryland/VA area. No one is going to say no to an evening at National Harbor.
The night was perfect. It wasn’t cold, it wasn’t hot. I wore shorts, but I put my race shirt over my Howard sweatshirt (had to rep).
The woman who originally said she’d do the race with me and had to bail, did show up with her daughter to cheer me on, and even baked me some amazing red velvet cupcakes (half a dozen, not a few, after all I was doing something healthy, she said).
So, being new to this I went to the back of the massive line. The front part was for the “real” runners. More on them in just a bit.
So yes, I was with the slower runners and walkers, which was fine by me. I refused to kill myself and I made sure to pace myself and just get a nice trot going.
So we get out of the gate, maybe five minutes into the race. We are still in the heart of the touristy areas with the shops and things and volunteers are warning our herd to stay to the right.
Then, out of no where, here they come. The professional runners. Yup. Keep in mind there were hundreds of people running in this thing. I’m sure there were a good 1200 folks. So it took some time to get everyone to start so they took batches of folks. Once again, I was toward the back.
We were warned to stay to the right because these folks, who must have been six-minute milers are trotting on like it’s nothing.
SIDENOTE: There’s a cool program called Couch to 5k. They have a bunch of followers on Facebook and a bunch of people sharing videos about their progress. It’s pretty reasonable and here’s the link to the website! http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml
The folks in my group began to say, “hey, isn’t he going the wrong way?” And then it hit me, and it hit other folks, who responded, “Nope. He’s about to finish. He’s already made it to the turn around point and he’s come back.”
Everyone in the slow group started laughing, myself included. We marveled at the folks we started seeing in greater numbers already racing toward the finish line. 3 miles in less than 20 minutes. That’s just amazing. I’m no hater.
But, the one thing I did hate.
I understand we are a society of documentarians. We love to update stati, take pics, instagram and the like, but I nearly tripped over people six times, who abruptly stopped to document that they were actually participating in the race.
This was annoying as hell. You came to participate. Take your pics at the finish line. Like seriously. At mile one, all of a sudden there were just groups of people, stopping, posing and asking volunteers to capture the moment.
I kind of took this seriously, because I wanted to challenge myself. But, I did have to remind myself that I wasn’t crazy enough to go with the serious runners, so this is what I had to contend with.
Folks showed up with crazy colored lights on, costumes, tutus. Two guys ran dressed like Chippendale’s dancers. No shirt, a tie and black pants. Hellllo handsomes!
One heavy-set, jovial, bespectacled man said something really cute as the professional runners flew past us in the opposite direction as we were somewhere around mile 2. He said, “Now see, that’s a shame. It’s a beautiful night. They are just rushing through this. I mean, look at the atmosphere, and all of the nice, interesting people to talk to along the way. Those folks, really. They’re missing out.”
I have to admit, there were moments that really pumped me up. Getting to the first tent (there were about two tents, one with strobe lights which made me dizzy and another with other types of less seizure-inducing lights), getting to the turn around point was huge and then getting back to the area with the shops because I knew it was close. It felt like running through an olympic village. Racers who already finished were cheering us on, saying, “You’re almost there!” Little children stuck out their hands to give out high fives. They really energized me!
As I got closer to the finish line I felt myself getting faster, I had a huge smile on my face. I did it!!! I did it!!!
Oh the joy! Oh the euphoria!!!
Well, once I stopped moving to thank my cheerleaders, when it was time to start walking again…that’s when the pain came.
I could barely walk.
I tried to stop and stretch. That walk to the parking garage was the longest.
When I tried to pay at the machine in the garage waiting in line, I began to get dizzy and nauseous.
It was harder and harder to walk, lift my legs. Pain was shooting all up and down my calves and ankles.
So I stood by the garbage can near the elevators. I stood hunched over, as people do after exerting a lot of energy.
I just opened my car door and sat with my legs out. I waited for a while.
I drunk the bottle of Gatorade I had waiting for me.
Waited some more, and lifted my legs into the car.
By the time I got home, I really had to coach myself out loud the whole way out of the car and into my house. I have another appreciation for people who are disabled and that kind of pain is everyday or they have very limited use of their limbs or struggle. When your body says it’s done, it’s done. There isn’t much you can do. It’s a wild feeling. You aren’t in control. You just have to push through it, but, you are not really in control you got to ride it out.
I ended the evening with an Epsom salt bath, which my friends is a miracle salve. WOW.
I felt a whole lot better and I could actually move.
I went to bed thinking to myself, I don’t care. I did it. I ran/jogged/walked for three miles in about an hour and 10 minutes. I wasn’t last, I didn’t give up.
Now it’s time to figure out the next race! I really enjoyed it.
The Honda CRV commercial, perfectly illustrates my walk back to the car.