I did everything wrong leading up to my first race. I might have been a girl going to junior prom who bought her dress at Goodwill and had her blind grandmother do her hair with foam rollers. Do you want to know how many training miles I logged this week? One. How many miles I logged last week? Three. I didn’t even deserve to BE in this race. Whatever. I read these posts about being an expert and how it takes dediction and daily work and I almost didn’t do this race because of my clear and obvious non-dedication to my training this last week. Or last month. (I’ll give myself a pass on the entire fall because I was ill.) Plus I have a character flaw, maybe you’ve noticed it: if I’m not an instant expert at something, I like to abandon it.
I decided that’s stupid, because it’s a 30 minute run and how will I ever be dedicated if every time I derail for a few days I just start flogging myself and decide I don’t fit in with the elites and quit? The girl with the blind grandma and the goodwill dress can go to prom too, you know. If she bought her ticket she can fudgeing go. So I went, and I beat my best 5K time, which considering I think can count on my hands the number of runs I’ve completed since September, is OK with me.
I get to call myself a runner now and you can take that away from me when you pry my “first 5K medal” from my cold, dead fingers. Hell yes I took the medal, I’m not proud. But I didn’t wear my race shirt to the race, my friend Christian warned me not to do that because nothing screams “I’m a race n00b” like wearing your race shirt in the race he says.
So I left my shirt at home along with my family (vomiting children had us up until 2 a.m.) and I set out this morning when it was still dark and hit up the indie do rag coffee pusher before they opened (because that’s how a pusher treats his best customer) and they hooked me up with some pre-race Rocket Fuel. This exquisite nectar from the Gods consists of several shots of espresso, simple syrup & a tiny bit of steamed milk served in a shot glass. Since I don’t drink alcohol shots anymore this is a close as I get to debauchery.
I know. I’m a champion at Race Prep. Well, I did enter this 5K several ounces lighter then when I awoke this morning. And that’s all I’ll say about that. This may become my personal streamlining tool.
I drank a Green Machine and scarfed a banana in the car, arrived an hour early, chattered nervously to the guys that helped me park and got some important training advice from one of them about my shoes:
Well, you only run 4 miles right now but if you were doing any sort of serious training or running for speed, trying to win races at all, you wouldn’t be wearing those.
I’ll be extremely pleased to see this guy next year (OK, maybe the year after) when I win a race in my Vibram FiveFingers- or better yet, with no shoes at all.
For Future Reference: Next year I’ll sleep in. There’s no reason to show up 90 minutes before the race begins. Bo-RING. Lots of time to stand around and take self portraits.
I took other advice I was given and stuck to the side and to the back of the pack. I let the adrenaline junkies haul ass. Then I passed some of them. Then some of them passed me back. Then a whole lot of people passed me on their way back while I was still headed toward the turnaround. Man, that’s demoralizing., but whatever. Most of those people were 12. Or 22. Same diff.
At mile 1, when I saw the 10:30 on the clock I thought, “well OK, I’m all right. I can pick it up and get in under 30. Or I can stay at this pace and kick it in at 33 ish” I don’t know what happened, man. I just- didn’t pick it up. I did a little, just not enough and then when the logjam happened on the bridge, and when I stopped to get that little cup of water, and put my hat on the table, and got stuck behind that walker on the trail.. Then I decided not to attempt the sprint to the finish. Some 8 year olds were sprinting and I um….yeah. I just decided not to. I don’t know, if my family had been there I’d have done it, you know? If if if.
Does everyone do that after their first race? After every race? I guess I’ll find out, because I’ve decided my resale business needs to ramp up so I can fund my race schedule.
My results: 33.15, after futzing around realizing my chip was gone, looking up at the clock when I saw I didn’t have a chip-I’ll take it. 12th out of 28 in my age group.
I didn’t have to talk too much about my shoes. One guy asked me if I ran the whole race in them- as if I stopped in the middle of the three miles and switched shoes? I said “I run every race in them!” and then he asked me if I was in Avatar. Um, WTF.