Scratch One Off the Bucket List

I had a goal this year to run a 5K race.  Yesterday, thanks to the fine folks at the Hintonburg Community Association, I accomplished that goal by running in the Hintonburg Centennial 5K Run. I can't believe how long it took me to get to this point.  I have to send a big thank you to the lovely Nadine Thornhill who told me about the race and was a real inspiration in getting my ass in gear.  (If you haven't already, you should read her Triathlon story!)  Here's some of my tweets pre & post race, as well as my thoughts on how it went (which was better than I could have possibly imagined).

7:54 AM - My tummy is in knots. This is ridiculous.

8:01 AM - Great. I went to the wrong spot to pick up my kit. Sigh. At least I'm getting a warmup walk in.

8:10 AM - So I could use the porta-potty and leave my backpack unsupervised OR I could go to @GCTCLive...

8:20 AM - I'm official!

8:29 AM - Haven't seen @nadinethornhill yet. I bet she's wearing something cute and functional. (ed. note - She totally was! I covet her shorts... well, not the ones she was actually wearing.  I'd like a pair of my own.)

8:49 AM - Lots of ppl here. Apparently @Yasir_Naqvi is somewhere in the bunch. #Hintonburg 5K (ed. note - I didn't actually see him.)

8:52 AM - Some ppl have Gatorade. Should I have brought Gatorade? #clueless

8:56 AM - Oh hey, there's @PaulDewar! #Hintonburg 5K

8:57 AM - Starting in 4 min! Yay!

And we were off.  I tried to get my Nike+ program to work on my iPhone to track the race, but somehow it didn't work. Ah well.  I just let myself be absorbed in the bouncy sounds of Lady Gaga as I ran.  I had a brief chat with Nadine as we ran were I commented on how difficult it was to fight the impulse to bolt ahead with the rest of the pack.  Before we had hit the 1K mark, some crazy dudes were already on the way back.

My throat was already burning from the get-go and so I was grateful for the water station when we hit 1K.  I grabbed a cup as I ran and had a sip.  Then I noticed the people in front of me pour their water all over their heads.

"Yeah!" I thought.  "That's hardcore! Me too! Grrrrrrr. I'm a runner!"

But about a split second before the water came tumbling out of the cup, I suddenly remembered the headphones in my ears, which were connected to the precious, precious  iPhone on my arm... I pushed my hand further back, quickly throwing the water somewhere over my head, where most of it landed on my backside.

Well, the feeling wasn't entirely unpleasant in this heat.

I kept going, super excited, thinking I must be nearing the half-way mark now.  Then I noticed a sign: 2K.  What the...?  Ok, ok, no big deal.  Just keep going.  My lungs were already burning.  I noticed people coming back in the opposite direction.

"A-ha!" I though.  "Almost there!"

I'd round a corner and realize, nope, it's still going.  I figured I must be at the 4K point by now.  There was no way this was still going to go on much further.   Then there was another sign: 3K.


How long is 5K anyway?

The volunteers along the course were an absolute blessing.  Every time I started feeling like it was over they'd start clapping and cheering and I'd just push through.  I made it to the second water station (probably at the 4K mark though I didn't see a sign).  I tried to drink some water as I ran, but I started chocking.  I pulled my headphones out with one hand and tried to pour it all over my head, but in my hurry I just threw it right in my face.

Is it possible to drown on dry land?

Nadine was approaching the water station and she started to cheer me on when she saw me.  Ok, just keep going.

I tried to keep up the same pace I normally did when I ran, though with all those other people around, I'm guessing I may have been going slightly faster.  Closing in on Parkdale, the volunteers started screaming that I was almost there.  I rounded the corner and I could see the finish line.  It looked so far away!  Thinking back on every movie I'd ever seen about people doing a race, I patched into whatever energy reserves I had left and picked up even more speed.  I could see the timer.  It had just hit the 30 minute mark.

But, that's not possible!  There must be some mistake.  I figured I would be lucky if I could finish the race in 35 minutes, but 30?  I pushed even harder.  I'm not sure what my end time was exactly, but I know it was around the 30:30 mark.

9:33 AM - OMGI I DID IT! Hoped to finish in 35 min, but finished in under 31!!!

So, I did it! I ran my first 5K race in an approximate time of 30 minutes and 30 seconds.  And now?  I'm totally hooked on running. It was an absolutely amazing experience and I already can't wait to do it again, though I'm having trouble finding another race in Ottawa.

Future goals now include running a 5K in under 30 minutes (so totally doable!) and prepping for a 10K.   Really, after accomplishing this, it feels like there's nothing I can't do.