My family has a superstition that whatever you are doing on New Year’s Eve is what you’ll be doing for the rest of the year. So I decided that I better be crossing a finish line, and signed up for a local 5k fun run.
I’m treating all of the events I do this year as prep for the IM so even though I probably could have woken up at 6am, thrown some clothes on and finished before breakfast, I woke up at 4:30am so that I could go through my whole routine including the anti-blister ritual, the pre-run PB&J, and water to be hydrated.
There was rain in the forecast, so I had my raincoat for the pre-race stuff, I also wore a tank top, with a t-shirt over it, and my long running tights because it was “freezing” out (which is to say around 50 degrees, which qualifies as winter here.) As we were doing check-in people around me were shivering and talking about how they were freezing. I think I could have made back my race fee by charging 50 cents for warm hugs or cups of hot chocolate.
It was a small race that included 5k, 10k, 15k, and a half marathon distance. As they started to yell the instructions to us I realized that I had to pee. Damn my 5am hydration! I also realized that I forgot my sunscreen. Double Damn. But since I woke up at 4:30am, I basically felt like I was lucky that I was wearing pants.
This race was clock-timed which means that everyone’s time starts when the race organizer yells “Go” and hand-timed at the end by someone with a stopwatch and a high level of detail orientation. This is opposed to chip-timed in which runners wear a chip that starts their time when they actually cross the start line and stops when they cross the finish line. There were a couple of people near me who were really worried about this but it was no big deal for me – in big races this can make a big difference in your time since it can take 15 minutes or more for everyone to cross the start line after the official gun goes off. In this race I would be surprised if it took more than 3 minutes for everyone to get going.
It was still a bit crowded at the beginning on the running path and I wasn’t going for a big PR or anything so I started toward the back and kept to the right not worrying about passing anybody until things thinned out. My race plan was, as it always is, to walk the first mile to get warmed up (and avoid the weird pain and tightness that I can get in my calves) and then do run/walk intervals for the rest.
I probably should have peed. Sitting here typing this I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t. I wasn’t really concerned about my time, and I had been happy to be at the back and lose a few minutes at the beginning but for some reason I just didn’t want to stop. So I looked at everything bathroom we passed the same way I look at adorable dogs that I can’t pet, and pressed on.
People were all super friendly and encouraging to everyone. I reached the turnaround and heard two women behind me say “Oh thank Jesus!” We all high-fived that we had made it to the turnaround and were going to live to the end! Heading back I felt good and strong. I crossed the finish line, got my medal and then kept running right on to the bathroom and then to my car.
First finish line of this year crossed, first medal acquired, 5k closer to the IM. As always, thanks to the race organizers and volunteers for putting on such a great event!