I had two goals going into it: Run the Whole Way and Don't Be Last. I also wanted to be under 30 minutes but the first two goals were the most important. I was nervous.
So, I showed up for registration at 7:15 or so (start time was 8:00) and immediately regretted riding my bike as that meant I had no place to lock up my wallet or sweats. Good thing the husband and Otto were scheduled to come down before the start- I would be able to stash stuff in the bike trailer. I got my bib number and t-shirt (another thing that needed to be stored somewhere) and commenced to pin my number onto my tank top with mildly shaking hands about 47 different times until I was satisfied that it was straight and not going to bug me while I was running.
I also felt like I had to pee every five minutes. Yeah, nervous.
Fortunately, the running gods smiled on me and I spotted a bookclub friend in the registration line. I clung to her like a life preserver until the race start, the poor dear. After she got set up, we ran a few blocks together as a warm up and chatted which was great for keeping my mind off of the "what if's." We did some stretching and then the husband and the kiddo showed up and provided some more entertainment. And a place to put my stuff.
Before long, it was time to line up. The 10K runners left 5 minutes before us 5K-ers and we cheered them on as they thundered past. They looked fast. And skinny.
I lined up near the back of the back of the pack, figuring it was better to start slow and pass others than the other way around. I was so right. The gun went off and my friend and I stayed together for maybe 20 yards and then I shouted at her to "Have Fun!" and got inside my own head and tried to find my pace.
It was relatively cool and cloudy, so heat wasn't a concern. The race course was near my neighborhood, on streets I've run many times so finding my footing wasn't an issue. I was able to just let go and RUN. And it felt good. I was passing people. A LOT of people. I wasn't near the front, by any means, but I was doing it. I was DOING IT! And it felt good! It was fun!
The husband and Otto biked up to the half-way point aid station and cheered me as I grabbed a paper cup full of water and commenced to get it just about everywhere except in my mouth. Running is bouncy.
It was about here that the side stitch started. For some reason, my right side is prone to this and it happens often. I tried the tricks I've read about- shallow, quick breathing for a couple minutes and then deep, slower breaths for a couple minutes after that. The only thing that seemed to work, though, was shoving my fingers into my abdomen and cursing under my breath. That helped.
Since a 5K is only 3.1 miles, however, and I've been running almost double that on my long runs, it went by really fast and pretty much before I knew it, I was nearing the finish line. I could see the big clock! And people were lined up on the sides cheering...for me! I picked up my pace. This could be addicting.
I crossed the finish line with a time of 26:50:4...well under my 30 minute goal. People patted me on the back and brought me water and fruit and the husband said how proud he was and Otto reached up to kiss my neck.
We hung out for a while and then at the awards ceremony, I was surprised and frankly shocked when I heard my name called as 1st place for my age group. I got 18th overall out of 70 runners. WTF? This seemed crazy. And like it was probably a mistake. But I looked at the listed times and...yeah. There I was! 18th overall and 1st for women 30-40 yrs. Holy shit.
I've signed up for another 5K in a month and am seriously considering an 8 mile trail race set for two weeks after that.
I'm just getting started.