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My first race report: Jingle Bell 5K for the Arthritis Foundation

First, let me say thank you to all you wonderful generous sponsors — within two days I raised $400, four times my modest goal!

Yesterday was a beautiful day and a fun race. And a humbling one. I learned a lot. This is the first time I’ve ever tried to run part of a 5K and the first time in almost 20 years that I’ve done a 5K walk, even. (I walk and bike 5K for exercise on my own pretty regularly now.)

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Random thoughts:

  • First, excuse my indelicacy, but I should have gone to the bathroom before the race. Don’t think going at home is good enough. As soon as we were at the starting line, I had to GO. Halfway through the race, that feeling disappeared until after the race. Phew. Number one lesson. No pun intended.
  • I couldn’t understand why all the experienced people where running for like 30 minutes before the race. My husband and I walked around a bit. Turns out it took me half the course to warm up and hit my stride. It wasn’t until the last mile that I really felt warmed up and like I could go for a while longer. My husband, who runs 5k almost every day but for whom this was his first event, had the same experience.
  • Running up a hill from the Start sucks, but it sure feels good to run downhill to the Finish.
  • I went in confident and had my confidence pulverized in about 10 minutes. In fact, after 90% of the people passed me just up the hill out of the Start area, I stopped running and walked and totally had a pity party in my head. Finally, after about 3/4 of a mile, I got out of my head and said, whatever, I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and stop feeling like my pride is taking a beating and give it a shot. I ended up meeting my goal of roughly running half, walking half, but it was a shaky start. I was happy with the end, though. I ended up being able to run most of the second third of the race along with some on and off running in the first two thirds.
  • I confirmed that I really can walk faster than I can run. Yes, you read that right. I can walk a 15 minute mile. But I “run” a 17.5 minute mile. My husband said, “it’s amazing, you’re running, but you’re just sticking in the same spot!” Um, hmm. OK. I think part of it might be that I’m afraid of putting to much stress on my arthritic knees, so I take small soft jogging steps. I need to take a lot more steps running than I do walking. I need to see if I can run safely while actually covering some distance. On my own, I don’t mind not covering much distance, but in a race, I didn’t like being that slow. (And maybe I need to listen to something with a faster tempo than the Grateful Dead — maybe I was a little too mellowed out.)
  • I think I need to run out on the road more — it’s much different than a flat track. Much more interesting, varied, etc.
  • I didn’t come in last, but it was close. (The police even told us to move onto the sidewalk because they were opening the street, even though the course was supposed to still be open for almost 10 more minutes!) I really appreciated the few people who stuck it out to cheer for us!

So, in all, my goals were to:

  • Finish within the allotted time
  • Run at least half of the race and walk the rest
  • Have fun

I met all three goals, so it was a success. But I had some mixed feelings. I  guess I had a secret expectation that I would finish better than I did. I finished in 54 minutes. So, next time my goal is to do better. I find it ironic that had I just walked, I would have probably finished in just over 45.

I was really happy my husband came with me today. We didn’t stick together — he ran the course in 26 minutes and that was with stopping to help a kid who had a bad stitch in his side — but just knowing he was there was great.

Next year, we’ll do this race again and bring the kids. It was a very kid-friendly race. It was a very everyone-friendly race, actually. I encourage you to check out the Jingle Bell run/walk for the Arthritis Foundation in your area — there were people of all ages, colors, sizes, and abilities and there was a lot of support and camaraderie.

My husband and I came straight home to Google when the next 5K is in our area so we can sign up 😀 We’re hooked!

Sun, December 7 2008 » Race report

13 Responses

  1. Fatinah December 7 2008 @ 10:11 am

    What a great post! Congrats to you on accomplishing your three goals (great ones, by the way!) I’m glad that you got over your pity party there at the beginning because these races are such a rush in the end – now you can revel in the excitement of wanting to do the next one! I run regularly and still get so excited when I’m done a race that it re-energizes me to keep me training! I also ran a race yesterday, but in my area it was the Santa Shuffle for the Salvation Army! Ironically, we all ran with jingles!
    Anyhow – well done! And good time! Maybe you could have walked it faster, but heck – you ran HALF!!

  2. MizFit December 7 2008 @ 12:22 pm

    YAY!! such a great post. such a HUGE DEAL (types Miz who has never run a race).

    CONGRATS!

  3. Alexia December 7 2008 @ 2:12 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement, gals! I appreciate it!

  4. Merry Mary December 7 2008 @ 2:54 pm

    That is great!!! I am so glad you ran. :) I totally want to do a 5k, but I keep having things happen to stop me. One day I will be as awesome as you and run one.

  5. The Scale Whisperer December 7 2008 @ 6:34 pm

    Congratulations on your first 5K!! I’m very proud of you!

  6. Angie December 7 2008 @ 7:35 pm

    Wow Alexia! That’s truly fantastic!!! It’s no suprise that you’re still in our top three on the BLBE challenge!!

    Congratulation girl, you are totally amazing!

  7. Mark December 8 2008 @ 11:33 am

    Great job! :)

  8. Ria December 10 2008 @ 5:02 pm

    From one deadhead getting fit to another – congratulations on meeting your goals for the race and on your weightloss so far! I also walk for fitness and am thinking about adding some intervals of running – you’ve inspired me to take that step. And thanks for the warning that Jerry might not be the best soundtrack for running :)

    Since my blog isn’t public, I sent you an invitation to read it if you’d like.

  9. Alexia December 10 2008 @ 10:43 pm

    Wow, thanks everyone! I so appreciate your encouragement! (And Ria — Jerry might not inspire speed, but definitely endurance — I download weekly podcast shows from the Professor in Missouri at DeadPod and they each run about 1.5 hours — great shows! :D)

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