Monday, February 11, 2008

Tales of a 5K Nothing

subtitled: I Paid Money* for Pain.

Yesterday morning was the Florida Hospital Lady's Track Shack 5k. After 5 days of grueling preparation, I was ready. Oh wait. That's right. I didn't prepare.

As we arrived at the starting area, we saw signs that designated what kind of mile you run. There were 6, 7, 8, 9, 10+ minute mile signs, and then a sign that said "walkers" (not to be confused with the device that aids one in walking). The three of us looked at each other, as if there was much of a decision to make, and headed to the 10+ minute mile section.

When the race began, I realized that there wouldn't be much running for the first minute, as it is somewhat difficult to run when there are 1000 people right in front of you. Once we cleared the bottleneck, the running began. We ran surprisingly longer than I expected. (in case I haven't made this clear I don't really run much. Or ever.) Hitting the first mile (a combo of running and walking of course) was exciting. There was a little mile marker and a clock that let us know how long it took. As we approached it, we saw that it had not quite been 15 minutes yet, so we suddenly sprinted to be sure we got in under the 15 mark and then cheered wildly at our accomplishment. People around us were amused.

Somewhere into the second mile my sister attempted to point out a squirrel, but the lack of air in her lungs led to a very weak and breathy "squuiiirrelll" which set us off laughing. Which stalled out any running. Laughing and running are two things I can't do at the same time.

Shortly after that, we hit the halfway mark, where there were volunteers providing us with a tiny Dixie cup, half filled with water. The water to Dixie cup ratio resulted in quenching your thirst with liquid that tasted a lot like, well, Dixie cup.

Second mile marker I didn't even see. It may have had something to do with the man standing on the corner we rounded yelling (yes, truly yelling) at us, "Don't walk! No walking!" It was more of a "I will kill you" yell, then a "way to go" one. So, of course, we ran, all the while yelling back that negative reinforcement was our favorite motivators. (and again, there was amusement to be had by the crowd around us). Fortunately, Linds noticed the mile marker and our time - 31 minutes.

The next corner we rounded was manned by a police officer, who yelled "GO NEW YORK!" as we passed. I realized that he was talking to me (I was wearing a Yankees cap), so I felt the need to run again. I didn't want to let my new NY friend down.

The last mile was tough. My heart was not happy with me. My sister kept wondering aloud why her legs were itching so much, and our third friend kept wanting to run more. I was very happy as I realized we were approaching the third mile. And then I remembered that 5k is slightly more than three miles. So we started to run again - we could see the finish and the big clock and were so close. Run run run. As we ran the last .1 mile, I could feel the valves of my heart that actually work properly cursing me, but there was now a crowd of people on the sides cheering us in, and as much as I wanted to give up and just walk it in, I kept running.

47 minutes and some number of seconds I didn't quite care about - I had finished my first 5k. I felt like I was going to pass out, and was wondering if there was a defibrillator close by, but I finished.

Despite the pain during the run (and, oh my, the pain now) I have plans to do another in April, although this time, I will actually prepare.

Can anyone tell me at what point exactly I became this special brand of crazy?

Listening to: The District Sleeps Alone Tonight by the Postal Service
Current Mood: Feeling good! Oh, except for my abs, shins, butt, thighs, etc...

*the money was for a good cause - the proceeds went to the local hospital's breast screening program, which pays for screening and mammograms for women who can't afford it


seadragon said...

Congratulations on finishing!

I remember when I once ran a 5K without preparation and I was amazed that I was able to do it. And then I didn't run again for years. :)

After I have this baby, I'm planning to go back to the Couch-to-5K program. That was the only thing that ever worked for me and made running actually enjoyable.

amber said...

I have NEVER been much for running. In gym class, when we had the choice of laps or stadiums (where you run up and down the stadium steps repeatedly) I was one of the few who always would rather do stadiums.

But I can see where, if I did it more, I might actually enjoy it.

Maybe we can do a 5k in Philly after the baby? :)

eden said...

Congratulations !!!

That special brand of crazy that is Race Adrenaline. Such fun. Your entry makes me want to sign up for a race (yes, even with the three days of residule pain).