September 6, 2011

My First Race and lots of CAPS LOCK

Hello friends! I apologize for the lack of content over the past week. Last week? Was INSANE. I was SO busy and SO stressed and a lot went down but it's all over now and it's a NEW WEEK and it's currently SEVENTY-ONE degrees outside (it was 57 when I left the house) and I feel like a NEW PERSON after a very releaxing weekend.


So, I want to talk about something really cool that happened yesterday, on Labor Day...


It was the Labor of Love 1k, 5k and 10k races sponsored by Stonebridge Racers in McKinney, TX.  The lovely Sarah over at Sarah Snacks sponsored my entry fee (how awesome is THAT? she has met me ONE TIME), and it was just a really cool experience.  I'm feeling newly motivated after running yesterday, but more on that later.  Let's talk about the race!

The race was supposed to start at 8am, so my goal was to be there by 7am to get my registration and bib, stretch, and just kind of get myself in a good mental place.  So that meant leaving the house by 6:15am.  Here's a brief rundown of how the night/morning before went:

8:30pm -- took melatonin and drank a bottle of water and got into bed with a book guaranteed to not stimulate the mind too much (a biography of Mary Tudor, aka "Bloody Mary," if you're wondering).

9:00pm -- start falling asleep.  Put book down and turn off lights.  Say prayers.

10:30pm -- wake up after a nightmare that I broke an ankle.  Go to bathroom.  Go back to bed.

11:30pm -- wake up after nightmare that I ran the wrong course and got lost.  Go to bathroom.  Go back to bed.

12:30am -- wake up after nightmare that I overslept and missed the race.  Go to bathroom (water before bed may not have been the best idea).  Ask husband to please come to bed so he won't be a grouch in the morning. 

1:30am -- still awake.  Husband snoring.  Get up and go to couch.  Sleep on and off until 5am when alarm goes off. 

5:15am -- get up after updating Facebook status, go outside and nearly cry tears of joy that it's so beautifully cool outside.  Eat breakfast (Frosted Flakes with banana). 

5:30am -- wash face.  Wake up husband.  Tell him it's 60 degrees outside.  Why isn't he more excited to be awake?

5:35am -- stretch.  Watch ESPN while husband eats breakfast.  Try not to nag him to hurry up and go shower so we aren't late. 

5:50am -- physically turn off television and get reprimanded for turning off ESPN during baseball playoffs talk.  Give a Look.  Husband gets in shower. 

6:20am -- leave for the race!

7:00am -- arrive at race site. Get bib and spend at least 10 minutes getting it straight on my shirt.  Take obligatory self portrait:

Then take picture of sweet puppy who is being so good despite being SO EXCITED about seeing other people and other pups:

7:45am -- meet up with Laura (photographer, not pictured) and Sarah (right) and Laura's cousin Jennifer (center).  Take pre-race picture.  Start feeling super nervous.

7:59am -- head to starting line with Sarah (Jennifer would be starting the 10k a few minutes after the 5k started).  Take a quick picture of the lovely view around the Stonebridge Beach Club. (I didn't take pics during the race, even though there were a few LOVELY spots. More on that later).

8:02am -- start race! 

8:44am -- FINISH RACE. Laura takes the most epic finish line pic of me...which was inspired by Caitlin's blog about taking awesome race pics.  No, I didn't hurt myself.  Yes, I made one of the race volunteers laugh.

8:45am -- Find husband and pup (they'd been on a long walk, too).  Get water.  And watermelon!  Take pic together (note that both of our Red Sox hats are getting pretty gross.  I think that's the mark of a good hat.).

9:15am -- get in car.  Put on official race shirt and SMILE that I DID IT!
You guys! I ran a 5k!

Was it my best time ever?  Not hardly.  Was it hard?  At times, yes.  This course had some WICKED hills in it.  I'm not talking about "oh hey, this suddenly seems hard...I must be running uphill."  I'm talking "holy crap where did the runners in front of me go??" hills because they were so steep. 

Luckily I had a rockin' playlist that I custom-made based on previous runs and corresponding shuffles and how certain songs made me feel while running.  That helped a lot.

There was only one time where I got genuinely frustrated, and that was around the 2 mile mark, after all the worst of the hills.  I slowed down to a brisk walk at the water station and, after throwing away my cup, started back to running and immediately had to stop and walk again because I couldn't catch my breath.  I was wearing Laura's Garmin (AND NOW I WANT ONE) and I was frustrated that I was going more slowly than I'd hoped, and I did not want to be walking but I knew I needed to catch my breath if I didn't want to finish the race at a walk. 

Then I told myself to stop being crazy and just catch my breath and get over it and start running again when I was ready. 

My goals were to:

* Take pictures (check)
* Take some pictures along the route (NO check.  There was one point where I wanted to take a pic b/c the view was so pretty, but I was hitting my stride and didn't want to break it just for a picture.  I'm glad I listened to my gut.  Too bad there was nothing pretty to look at during the aforementioned unwanted walk break).
* Finish in under 45 minutes (check. According to my MapMyRun app I was at 42:00 exactly)
* Have a pace <14:00/mile (check.  13:17/mile according to MMR app)
* Get an awesome finish line pic (check)

In the 24-ish hours since the race, I've done a lot of thinking.  I feel SO accomplished, and I'm anxious to run again tomorrow.  However, I looked at a couple of the professional pictures of me along the race and concluded the following:

* I really have let myself go a little with eating, and that's why, despite my run schedule of late, I'm still not losing weight in the areas I need/want to (stomach...)
* I have to start cross-training on non-running days again.  That's why my calves don't look as good as they did last summer, when I was doing yoga AND running AND elliptical-ing.  (I was also tapping during a show, but whatever).

Please be aware, I am not focusing on these more negative thoughts.  But shouldn't we learn some things after a race/event that we'd like to improve in our healthy living aspirations?  I think it's okay that, despite my thrill at having done the race, I have also found areas to improve upon. 

I'm excited and already starting to look towards running another race (or more!) this fall!  Thank you all for your support via Twitter, Facebook and emails yesterday!  You're awesome!


  1. Great job girl! Now you know why us crazy race folks try to get a good nights sleep 2 nights before an event. It's never going to happen on the night before! Congrats on your first 5k!

  2. Congratulations! I remember my first 5k and how good I felt after completing it. And I think it's great that you can be happy with your oerformance but still look for areas to improve. Great job!!!

  3. Nicely done! I'm so glad you had a positive experience for your first 5k. I hope you sign up for lots more and enjoy the growing collection of race shirts. Also, your husband looks as if he's in the witness protection program. Or possibly undercover.


  4. I'm pretty positive I couldn't be prouder/ happier/ envious/ in awe of you and for you. Way to go girl!

  5. Very cool to hear about your run... You look like you are several feet off the ground in that finish pic, that is a great picture... Maybe you need to get into high jump! ;)

    Great job, and I think it's perfectly OK to look at any aspect you want to improve, as long as you do it with genuine self-care, and not be hypercritical, nor take away from the accomplishment... You ran 5k!!!


  6. I'm SO proud of you :) Glad I could be there to witness you cross the finish line that first time! :)