I thought is was a good idea to ‘test run’ a few races this spring/summer so I can have an idea as to what to expect come 1/2 marathon time. Sunday morning I was up early to run my first 5K race. It was a Run/Walk event sponsored by the Mental Health Association of Westchester. When I registered for the MHA on the Move Run/Walk, I figured it would be a good fit to get a feel for what running in the streets of Philly would be like since it was taking place at SUNY Purchase College, which has tons of walkways. My ever supportive sister Ka-Ka, signed up to do the walk while I did the run.
It took us a little while to figure out where we needed to be on campus but, we found our way to the sign-in and got our MHA water bottles and t-shirts as well as News 12 bags and visors. Unfortunatly for us participating, it had been raining all morning and continued to downpour till around 915. The rain finally converted to a fine mist and we were able to get the show on the road. After a few short speeches from people who have benefited from the wonderful support, guidance, and services that the MHA provides, runners were ready to take their marks and squish their way across the field of rain-soaked grass.
Remember how I said that SUNY Purchase has a lot of walk ways…well it turns out they have a heck of a lot of trails too. The whole race was a combination of wooded trails, grass, and mud. Since most of my training has been either on the cement at the waterfront or the dirt of the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, the slippery, muddy, puddle filled terrain of the MHA 5K was a challenge. This made me feel like I was further behind the pack than I was, but I kept pushing through. Just like I have learned from my beautiful turtle Cuff, slow and steady wins the race. So I just kept pushing a long the best I could, taking breaks and sipping my water when I needed. I wasn’t running to be first to finish, I was running simply to cross the finish line, to prove to myself that I could do it.
During the third mile, I was starting to feel defeated. It seems that with all the rain, puddles had formed along the trail. I use the word puddles very loosely, these were really small lakes, with water up to my knees. My sneakers were waterlogged and were feeling incredibly heavy on my feet. Every time I got around a series of puddles, I’d try to start to run again and there would be another set of puddles. I couldn’t see how deep they were and all the mud around everything was super slippery, I was worried about slipping and hurting myself, so I ended up walking most of this part. Once I cleared the ‘swamp lands’, I resumed running and realized I was to the finish. I pushed my way up a small uphill path, across the quad, and crossed the finish line. I made it!
I finished my first 5K race in 41 minutes! I activated my Nike Plus so I was able to figure out that I ran at a pace of 13 minutes (although this info is slightly skewed since I forgot to turn off the app when I crossed the finish line and had it running three extra minutes when I was stretching). I ran the first mile in 11 minutes, the second in 11 mintues 31 seconds, and the third (which was mostly me navigating my way through mud and knee high water) in 15 minutes 46 seconds. You can see it all the details on the screen shot of my Nike Plus stats on the left, just click on it. Ka-Ka was the first walker to finish the race. She walked to the 3 mile marker but didn’t actually come thought the corral to the finish line, but I’m still very proud of her!
It’s such a feeling of accomplishment to have done this for myself. This time last year, my exercise was huffing and puffing my way up the hill from the train station, now I run races (and I still huff and puff up the hill from the train station….it is a pretty steep hill!!). It’s like Doc Brown always told Marty McFly – If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything! Next stop, world domination! (well maybe when it stops raining)
**Side Note : Special shout out to my friend B-Rad! While I was doing my 5K, he was running in the Pittsburgh Marathon. He finished his very first marathon, in his hometown, in 3 hours, 59 minutes, and 46 secondsaveraging a pace of 9 minutes per mile!
Congrats B-Rad! I’m so inspired by you!
- How Running a 5k Changed My Life (scrapsofmygeeklife.com)