I ran my very first race last weekend, and a 10K at that! What’s more? I was the fastest girl in my age group! Although… after a hilarious string of unfortunate and random events, I ended up getting recorded as second place. Here’s the story:
A Little Background
After having fallen into some bad eating habits and having fallen off my going to the gym wagon for a few months, it was time to make some changes in my life. I typically run every time I go to the gym just to get a little cardio in -- about 10 minutes or so on the treadmill at a fairly low speed, and that was it. It wasn't until my friend Lyta suggested that I go for a run first thing every morning that I really got into this running thing and decided to take it more seriously. This was in March and I remembered how my first several runs around my mostly flat neighborhood knocked the wind out of me within about 5 minutes. It was the saddest thing.
How I Got Talked Into It...
Fast forward to July, when I had built up my endurance and could survive 20-30 minute runs. I took up to running three mile outdoor runs several times a week, plus pre-workout runs on the treadmill at the gym, at which point, my run-a-holic friend Jenny suggested that I sign up for races. Then a Living Social deal for the Run in the Parks Series popped up and Jenny told me that she would run it with me, so I had to sign up. I was tempted to do the 5K since the thought of a 10K freaked me out, but Jenny pushed me to sign up for the 10K anyways, saying that I could do it. So it was settled.
I should note that I had never ran anywhere close to 10K before. I only started doing three mile runs in July, and I ran my very first four mile run the week before the race. I had meant to run at least 10K once or twice by the time the race rolled around, but didn't get the chance to.
Come race day, I told Jenny that I’d probably see her half an hour after she had passed the finish line as I wasn’t expecting myself to run at a fast speed all the way. My goal was simply to finish and to keep moving the entire way, even if it was at a slow pace.
The setup of the race was a little funky. The parking lot was pretty far from the registration tables and it looked like they were giving everyone their swag bags before the race. This meant that we had to make three trips back and forth to pick up the swag bag and get our race number, put the swag bag in the car, and walk back to the race. I guess that was a nice warm up. If you're curious about what's in the swag bag, it included a t-shirt, some snack samples and a Chinook coupon book.
The Actual Race
The race started promptly at 8 AM and this race wasn't sophisticated enough to give everyone a chip to keep track of time, so you definitely had to be on time there at 8 on the dot. Even though it was freezing that morning, Point Pinole was surprisingly nice and it was great to have a nice view to enjoy while running. Something else that surprised me -- I never once felt like stopping and actually followed Jenny and a couple other runners most of the way.
Eventually, I somehow ended up making it way ahead of her and everyone else. But then s*** hit the fan when I reached a marker at mile five. I got confused by the arrows and there was no one around me to follow, so I ended up running the wrong way, praying the whole time that I was running in the right direction. The praying didn't work and I did make it to the finish line eventually. ...But in the opposite direction.
RunKeeper Saves the Day
Thank goodness though, that I had RunKeeper running (will have to review them soon)! I actually do a lot of my outdoor runs with RunKeeper because it's such a neat app. I was afraid that I wouldn't get to submit an official time, but the race officials worked with me. They also seemed fascinated by my app as I showed them the path that I ran on a map, the calories I burned, and my average pace, among other things.
With the help of the app, they concluded that I had ran about a quarter mile off course, so half a mile total since I had to run back. They decided to just multiply my average pace by 6.2 and decide on a time that way. Unfortunately, that only shaved a measly 56 seconds off my overall time (I ran an extra half mile!), but it did place me second in my age group, about 20 seconds slower than the person who got first place. I didn't feel like making a case of it though. It was a fun, lighthearted race, and honestly, I was proud of myself for merely being able to run the entire distance.
Oh, and guess who won first place -- Jenny :)
There were bananas, oranges, bagels, water, cider and coffee for everyone to nosh on. When the race was over, winners in each age group were announced, medals were passed out, and that was the end of that.
For my first race ever as well as my longest distance ever, that was pretty darn fun, and I would totally do it again! I'd also recommend it to friends who are just starting to get into running. For those who run on a regular basis, but don't think that you can run 3-6 miles, I bet you can! I went into this having never ran over 4 miles before and not thinking that I could run the entire 6.2 miles, to somehow accidentally running nearly 7 miles straight. Don't underestimate your body's capabilities.
Funny thing, on the way back to the car, Jenny said, "It's okay, Dev, you can say it -- you got first place". Without missing a beat, I said back with the biggest grin, "Don't worry; I'm already thinking it"