So I've actually been procrastinating blogging about yesterday's race - my first-ever-5K. Once you read about what happened you will understand why. I'll save the juicy story for the end of the post. Read Traci's post here. Based on feedback from many of you, here are few things I've found I need to clarify for my friends out there:
- 5K means 5 kilometers, which is like 3.1 miles. It does not mean 5 miles, and it's certainly not a marathon (26+ miles)
- I'm not in horrific shape or anything. I can play basketball for a three hours at a time and I can keep up with my kids running around outside if I tie their feet together.
- Traci, the Mrs. HTF, is NOT the greatest female athlete ever, but she's in the top 25
- I ran track a little growing up, but only distances 200 meters or less (sprints), mostly because my legs are about the length of your arms, and I figured anything farther than that and I'd get lost or something
I was blown away by all the well-wishes I received from you all and others on Friday. Thanks for that. I'm not convinced you didn't walk away snickering, but I'll take what I can get. On Thursday, Traci and I ran the whole course together. Towards the end I felt like I "had a little left in the tank" so I "sprinted" the last couple blocks leaving her in the dust (rolling her eyes). This part of my story becomes important later.
On the morning of the race I got up, ate a cereal bar or something and we jumped in the Honda. Traci had been up for a while already - she was actually anxious/nervous. (I chuckle) It was warm in our car, but not so much when we got out. I was laughing at all the guys in black spandex until I got out of the car and felt the wind chill on my uncovered legs. I never wanted tights so badly. It was below freezing with the wind chill during our entire race. Awesome . . .
We mulled around a bit and sorta stretched/jogged while we waited for the race to start. It was kinda surreal standing there in a huddled mass of people shivering and hoping that our suffering would hurry up and start cuz we were freaking cold! Although we were standing together when the race started, within literally 5 seconds my lovely wife was 20 yards in front of me. And we stayed that distance apart for the first mile or so. I guess she just didn't want to be seen with me. The first quarter mile was terrifying. I couldn't believe how bad I felt. I later learned that stretching and warming up are good things before a race. Who knew . . . ?!
One thing that I couldn't get over during the race were the "drink stations." I'd seen these on TV and never though twice about 'em. But I'm jogging along and some kind volunteer hands me a dixie cup of Gatorade. Nice, right? Well, I challenge you to run and drink Gatorade out of a cup at the same time. Not possible! I tried and tried - it really got frustrating. In the end I had purple liquid all over my shirt and I was still thirsty. (I'm serious, try it)
Now the part that will live in infamy . . . I had debated whether this was shareable with my little blog audience, but TV cameras caught it, so what the hey. There's a thin line between dignity, pride and confidence. I've chosen to eschew all three of those in sharing this. So remember my little "sprint" at the end of our Thursday run? Well, towards the end of the actual race I decided to do it again. Coach always said to "leave it all on the field" and "give it all you got" and other highly motivational things like that. So I went as hard as I could. The finish line and the throngs of people, cameras, and water bottles were there waiting for me and within sight. But as I pushed hard through the final 30 feet - it hit me. I was . . . done. The knot in my stomach decided it was time to unkink itself and it wasn't gonna wait a moment longer. My legs quit, and as Traci motioned frantically towards the finish line I veered away from the middle of the road towards her standing on the sidewalk (she'd long since finished the race) and there on the side of the road I "revealed to the crowd the contents of my breakfast." I then turned and meekly "ran" the six steps to finish the race - trying to avoid eye contact with anyone.
You may recall that my goal was 30 minutes and I finished in 28:12 and got 10th in my age group. Click here for full results. I was fairly proud of that, but it was nicely tarnished by my little show at the end in front of all the onlookers. Traci did amazing (2nd in her group and a full minute better than a year ago). Will I race again? Yeah. But I definitely learned my lesson. I'll sign up for the 4.95K next time.