Monday, October 14, 2013

Remembering First Races (Newbie Runner Mistakes)

I've recently started following the running blog "Running is Funny", and stumbled across this post

Inspired by the idea of reliving my running roots, I started thinking about my first ever 5K, which I referenced in this post.   Man, things sure seem foggy about that day now that I'm 30+ races later!!

Since I don't recall everything from my first 5K, I figured why not just revisit my first year of running instead...?

So, here it is.  My first year of running, 2010...

New Prague 5K
36:00, 11:35 pace

Oh my!  The fright that was my first ever 5K.  Not wanting to be late, I ended up driving to this race so early in the morning that I arrived 2 hours (!!) early.  I sat in my car for over an hour with butterflies in my stomach, hoping that I would not be the last man on course to finish.  What a way to start my first race! 

Some newbie funnies I pulled off:

- Worried I would get lost on course, I studied the map for days before, hoping that I would remember each turn, and even considered printing a map to carry with me as I ran.  I had no idea there would be people on course directing you where to go, or that there would be so many runners that I could just follow the person ahead of me.

- After bringing my packet back to my car to dump stuff pre-race, I discovered there were no pins in the envelope with my bib.  I kicked myself, assuming that all runners supplied their own pins at races, and started to panic.  I didn't want to admit to staff that I was an inexperienced runner by asking for help.  Instead, I came up with an emergency plan of tying my bib number around my waist with dental floss.  Too embarrassed to actually use the floss, I went back to the check in table in desperation, knowing I'd have to admit my party foul.  Thankfully, before I had to say I didn't have pins, I saw the dish they had and helped myself.

- Even though I had never ran an entire 3 miles straight on my own, I was afraid to walk in front of so many people.  So I ran ... the entire way ... even though it was quite slow at a 11:35 pace.

- As I cleared the finish line, I was so proud and emotional about my finish that I actually cried.  A lot.  In an effort to hide myself, I skipped the post race party and snacks, instead walking straight back to my car.  But I didn't care - I had done it!

Chaska Rotary Run for Polio 5K
35:09, 11:01 pace

This was the first race my husband spectated at... much to my surprise.  He was up to something earlier in the AM, but somehow decided to bike down and caught me before the gun.  I don't remember the circumstances of why he came via bike, but I do remember loading his bike into the trunk of my car in the rain, post race.

I killed time with my husband at the starting line by talking to a local chiropractor who was close to our age and was in the rotary.  He talked about his goal finish time (something totally foreign to me at the time), and asked me how I hoped to do.  When I told him I just hoped to finish, I think he thought I was joking and chuckled a little.  My take away was that I must have looked like an OK runner if he was asking my goal, so I wasn't offended.

This was my first race in the rain, and also my first race with a "hill" (more like a minor incline on a walking trail, but it was hard for me at the time).  As such, it also became my first race where I took a walk break.

In an attempt to have an impressive finish for my husband to watch, I busted it as hard as I could ... hence the great time improvement over my first race.

My final memory of this race was that they offered Snickers Marathon Bars...  and they were disgusting.

Lederhosenlauf 5K
37:20, 12:00 pace

Do you see the girl in above photo wearing a the red t-shirt, black sunglasses, and smiling?  Good, because you are witnessing only time I smiled on this entire course.  I'm guessing that's partly due to the fact that I was still running in cotton...?

This race taught me the joys of hill running.  Oh sure, I LOVED the course.  (I haven't had a single desire to run around the St. Paul Cathedral ever since.)

Unfortunately, despite the fact that this race promised free brats and beers at the finish, I decided I'd rather not hang around for them.  A couple of old, douche bag runners really pissed me off at this one, and I didn't want to risk what I might do once I saw them post "freebies".  In a nutshell, I learned that if you're running a 5K and you're an advanced runner, you don't go back through the course a second time and make fun of all the runners struggling at the back of the pack.  Even without free beer, what I wanted to say to these jerks was: "You finished in under 20 minutes the first time?  Good for you.  GET OFF COURSE YOU GEEZERS."

A sub 40 was good for me at that time, and I didn't need that nasty demotivation.  I was also a bit frustrated that the course marshals let this happen.  So, I didn't ever repeat this race.

Torchlight 5K
40:15, 12:56 pace

Whoops!  No photo.  Lifetime sucked at organizing check in, and the group I was running with barely got our bib numbers pinned on before the gun went off.  In fact, we were still about 2 blocks away from the start and hand to run to the start line as we pinned and listened to the gun fire.  At least with another 1,000+ people still behind us checking in, we knew we weren't the only ones to start late.

Typical Lifetime event.  Too many people, poor organization, and 90+ degree weather.  I thought I was going to die when I finally made it to the finish line and saw a sea of people and no water. 

Although I paid a premium registration fee for this race due to the promise of a post race party, I left and paid for dinner at Old Chicago instead.  And I decided for future years I'd follow the same suit - skip Lifetime races and eat at Old Chicago instead.  What a great tradition!

Gopher to Badger 5K
39:47, 12:48 pace

Whoops!  Another no photo race.  Maybe it was because of my massive injury at the finish line?  With an epic PR in sight (I was thinking I might get in the low 30's), I stopped looking where I was running.  Which resulted in me stepping into a pot hole and belly flopping onto asphalt.  With a 3-5" rip in my compression tights, and blood gushing to my ankle, I hobbled straight past the finish to the medic tent... and then into several weeks of no running.  Boo!

I remember running from Stillwater to Hudson for this race, crossing the 94 bridge over the river.  It was really cool.  Plus, there's the whole border battle thing, and people wear team appropriate gear when they run, which is fun.  I've always wanted to go back, but just haven't made it yet.  Maybe next year.

State Fair Milk Run 5K
40:29, 13:01 pace

 Post injury at the Gopher to Badger 5K, this race was just about suffering through... for my husband!  I finally got him to run a race with me, LOL! 

Although, if I am honest, I was none to happy during this race myself upon being lapped by a person dressed as Goldy the Gopher and running in the summer heat.  Let's just chalk that up to my injury.

Now when I ask him to do another 5K with me, he says "Yeah, I did that once.  That was enough."


Well, that's my first year of running... hard to believe I am where I am now considering 5Ks were such an accomplishment in my first year.  But it makes me proud to see where I've come from, and makes me excited for where I'm going.

So, what are YOUR funny newbie race stories?

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