This past Saturday (May 15) I participated in my first 5K race. I walked the “Riverfront Revolution 10K/5K run/walk” at the National Harbor in MD.
I’ve done 5K walks during my teen and college years but never a race. I signed up for this event as a training exercise for myself. I thought as long as I had a goal it would give me incentive to keep going to the gym and eat correctly. I was really nervous. I wasn’t certain that I would be able to finish the race within the required timeline. The organizer told me (via e-mail) that they recommend people finish within 1 hour but they did have some people finish within 1:20:00 in the past. I received two pieces of encouragement from some friends and my therapist.
What are you committed to? Are you more committed to your health and getting out there or being last and not being embarrassed? Being the last person over the line as the tear up the track you would still be better then the 100's of people who never got off the couch, better yet you can do it for all the people who could not walk if they wanted to.”
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
When I picked up the race packet the organizer told several of us that if we didn’t get parked by 6 or 6:30am we’d have a hard time finding parking because they were going to close the roads and that’ll block the entrance to the parking garages too. So, Friday I decided I would reserve myself a room at the Gaylord National Resort/Hotel. I made the reservation for 2 days but only intended to stay for 1 night. I ended up staying both night and I’m really glad that I did.
I am so glad I did. I woke up and got ready for the race completely stress-free.
I prayed a lot before the race began.
The whole day was fun. I came in at 1:21:06 and averaged a 21-min mile walking. One section of it was hard because it went from pavement to gravel to sand for a short period. Then there was this rather long hill. It wasn't steep but long. I looked at the map afterward and this hill was basically the first ½ of the 2nd mile leg of the race. There were 6-8 people behind me when I hit the hill and then about 1/4 way up I realized I was all alone. I guess they quit and turned around. The only reason I noticed I was all alone is because of what happened next.
The hill was the stretch to the 5K turn around. I could see people jogging and walking in front of me but there were a long way ahead of me. I began to notice quite a few 10K/5K joggers were coming down the hill. The first few gave me thumbs up, smiles, waves, said “way to go” and then it changed. One by one they started cheering me on. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t organized. God just worked it out that way that I would feel encourage. Of course, when I finally was coming back down the hill I was getting passed up but they kept encouraging me. There was a spot about ¾ of the way through the race course where I could have cheated and cut across a field and cut probably ¼ mile off my walk. It was very tempting but I passed it by.
When I came into the finish line several of the 5K joggers waited for me because they didn't want me to be alone when I finished. Some weird young guy gave me a hug, took a picture with me on his camera. He then asked if he could have a drink out of my camel-pack. What a weirdo. A bunch of people came up and hugged me and called me brave. I came away with a few battle scars. I have an enormous blister on the bottom of my right foot that thankfully never popped. If it had I don't think I would've been able to finish. I hung around and sat outside for a while before leaving the harbor. Got some sun on my face.
I felt really good when I was done. The organizer gave out prizes for the best times in all the age groups but by the time he got around to giving them out most of the people were gone. So, when he was done, I walked up to him and told him it was my first 5K and that I had done well and deserved a prize. He looked shocked for a moment and then reached into his bag of goodies and gave me a free admission pass for DC Trolley Tours.
There was a woman there who I talked with for a while. She was 250lbs when she started walking/exercising in Jan. 2009. I forgot to ask her how much she weighed now but she's kinda thin. She was telling me all the different things she had done and that she didn't do her first 5K until after she had lost over 100lbs. She kept telling me how impressed she was that I did it on my own. She just kept saying that she never would have done it when she started off. She was too self-conscious too. I’m self-conscious too but I just had to do this. I had to prove to myself that I could do it.
I twittered a bunch before and after the race = http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23riverfront5k
Below are some random photos I took before and after the race.
I was glad to see that I hadn't finished last. However, I have no idea where that person who came in behind me was. There was no one behind me as I was walking up the long hill to the turn around point and I didn't pass by a single person as I was going back down the race route.
I didn't wear this shirt. It's a nice XL shirt. It fits very nicely too.