Well, I did it! I completed my first 5K!
Here are my stats: http://www.rundouble.com/#map/634280
I ran the entire thing in just over 32 minutes, and my pace was 10:18/mile. This was not only my first time running this particular route, but it was my first time running a route that was anything but flat with perhaps a few gentle but frustrating hills. This route had HILLS. I ran some of them, I walked some of them. This was also my first time running for that long a time and that long a distance - last Thursday I completed week 8 of the Couch to 5K program and ran 2.76 miles - if I hadn't had this planned, Monday would've been my first 3 mile run. (Instead it will be my second!)
What sucked was that although I drank a ton of lemon water about an hour before I headed out (trying to balance hydration with a need to pee - TMI, perhaps, but before the race I still had to hoof it over to a local fast food shop...), I still became dehydrated. First the back of my throat went unbearably dry - but I've dealt with that before. But then I got...THE PAIN. The evil, awful pain. I know this pain well, I've dealt with it many times before. And one of the very first days of the Couch to 5K program, it also struck - but for a change I was very determined and didn't throw my hands up and say "running sucks, this sucks, I quit."
What I'm talking about is a knife-like pain in my ribcage - and it gets worse if I run, makes it hard to breathe, and is all together rather miserable to experience. It's been suggested to me that it is related to hydration and I'm fairly certain that is exactly what it is. But I've been so on top of being hydrated during my training that it has disappeared completely and I thought I was in the clear - but the truth is that when I run on a regular day, I leave my house and start running within minutes, where today I had to get to the venue, wait around, get situated...and too much time had passed. I guess I didn't plan very well, and I'm not advanced enough to carry water with me - so when the pain hit, I had to walk for a longer stretch than I usually walk. And of course once it all clicked in my head, I noticed empty cups on the ground, looked back, and sure enough I'd run past the one and only water station on the race route. Damn.
At first I got really upset. I thought I'd blown the whole thing and I was really disappointed. Then I took a deep breath and I walked as fast as I could. And then I tried sprinting. And eventually adrenaline took back over and the pain faded to the background and I was back to running - I think that saved my time, and I think that my overall time would've been SO much better without that setback. Oh well - a lesson learned for the next 5K I'm doing in a few weeks. (yup)
What else have I learned so far? I don't think I like running in crowds. I don't like figuring out how to navigate someone who is too slow in front of me or a cluster of people I want to pass. I don't like that big mush of people at the beginning. I don't like realizing I need to walk and navigating to the side. I prefer the runs I've been doing that are usually just me or just one other person. And I don't think - at this time - that I'm interested in pushing to a 10K or beyond. Probably.
On the other hand, I did end this 5K feeling absolutely amazing, not too terribly exhausted at all. I like this distance, I like this pace. I like feeling this major sense of accomplishment. I love looking back over the past two months and seeing how far I've come and how fast I've gotten. I love finally feeling in shape - I think I'm in the best shape of my entire life at this moment, actually.
When the race ended, I was in a daze, trying to cool down and keep moving and fill out my scorecard (in my shakiest handwriting ever) and figure out where the hell I was. I stumbled around trying to find water and failed for a while until my AMAZING friend Lindsay (click that - her blog is awesome in general and in that particular post is a picture of me with the fam, pre-race. no really, CLICK IT) and her gorgeous girls found me and helped me figure out what I'd done and get hydration and a banana and find my husband and my girl (who both cheered from the sidelines as I ran past them twice!).
But really, truly, I felt - and still feel - great!
So. Onward and upward. One more official week of the Couch to 5K and then I may try the program to improve my time or just keep on running three times a week. And maybe, just maybe, I'll try to push myself to run a 10K sometime in the fall. Maybe.