Thursday, December 3, 2009

The 5K

Okay, so last time I brought this up I did a general post about running and then begged for some advice. I received about ten responses through various methods of contact, and almost everything was helpful (there were a couple points of contention, but that made sense to a certain degree). Thank you all again for helping me out on that.

On Thanksgiving morning, I took part in a Turkey Trot in Vero Beach. It was a crazy experience. I had picked up my "packet" the morning before, which pretty much just consisted of the shirt, the bib number, and a bunch of flyers and things for local merchants. I wasn't all that thrilled to wake up at 6am to go running, but it was only a one-time thing. Jonathan came with me (and was one of surprisingly few spectators), and we got to Riverside Park shortly before 7am.
ready for the race!

I was still wrestling with whether or not I should carry my own water bottle in the race. I forgot my watch and sunglasses. I also forgot my headband but we stopped at an open CVS on the way and I grabbed a new one for $1. You might say I was nervous, LoL. I got my "chip" and tied it onto my right shoe. I drank some water and stretched. I got completely disoriented trying to figure out the course (there were no maps or anything). At about 7:20 I wandered into the cluster that was forming (there were over 750 people taking part in the event), and messed with my Zune a bit, making sure the earpieces would stay in and that the playlist I had created the night before was good to go. Turns out, probably just under half of the people younger than 50 had mp3 players with them. Also, I had decided to be like everyone else and not carry a water bottle (although I did see one person with one near the end).
part of the crowd

The horn sounded and it was neat taking off. There were several double-backs in the course (that I didn't know about ahead of time), so after the first half-mile or so I saw a bunch of the fastest people headed back. With no watch it was hard to pace myself, but I was trying to pay attention to how many songs had played (I created a playlist of 38:30 or so) on my mp3 player (I gave up trying to keep track around mile marker 2). There was a water station at the 1.5 mile mark. I missed it. Completely. Never saw it. All of a sudden I saw white styrofoam cups all over the ground, and looked around. Didn't see a table anywhere. Looked back... never saw it at all. Continued on, wishing I had brought my own water. Just before 2 miles, I saw a table with people lining up cups on it. Mind you, this was on another double-back, so it was the same table that was invisible to me the first time. Just as I was deciding whether to cross the road and get a cup, I saw Jonathan holding a bottle of water on the sidelines. I headed his direction instead and took the bottle with me. It didn't even last the rest of the race.

As the finish line came into sight, I began to wonder whether I had the energy to speed up and knock off a few extra seconds. Out of nowhere, the adrenaline hit me, and I indeed picked up the pace for the final bit, and it was exciting to cross the little platform things. My time was 39:32, and although that's not all that great, I was expecting much worse given that the humidity was hitting me hard, I was really thirsty throughout the race, and I ended up walking four times throughout.
coming up on the finish line

Jonathan found me as soon as I had turned in my timing chip, and we walked toward the announcer and the goodies. I had a cup of fresh orange juice (yum!) and a sweet potato pancake, courtesy of Marsh Landing. I'm not a sweet potato fan, but I found it to be delicious. (I also found a dish of sweet potatoes and apples wonderful later in the day, so perhaps the vegetable has grown on me recently). As soon as I finished eating, we left. There was an awards ceremony and such, but we didn't feel like staying since it was Thanksgiving and all.
after I caught my breath we got the "after" shot

Overall, it was a lot of fun. I might even do it again sometime. It was really inspiring to see so many people there on a holiday. It was neat to see so many kids (I forgot how fast they run!) and families participating. Running a unique course was also kinda cool... much more exciting than the general paths that people regularly take. That must be why people really like the New York City and Disney marathons!! Those have got to be super-awesome for that factor!!

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