I ran my first 5k race a couple of weeks after finishing my learn to run course. It was only my third time running 5k straight through and wow that was far!
I was very nervous. My husband wanted to come, but I wouldn't let him. He dropped me off and I met up with two women that I had completed the learn to run course with - Linda and Alison. Alison was coming to cheer us on and Linda and I were running together. We were meeting up with Matt who had taught the course. He was going to run the race with us or rather run us through the race.
The Around the Bay Race has two distances the first is the 30k and the second is the 5k. This race is huge. Even now out of all of the races I have competed in it is second in number of participants only to Ottawa. For a first race it was overwhelming.
Temperature wise, the day was kind of cool and threatening to rain. All race participants meet up in Copps Coliseum before and after the race. Everyone is scrambling to use the washrooms before and it was very crowded. It reminded me a lot a entering a concert only I was going to work very hard, not see a fun band. The 30k started first. Then 15 minutes later the 5k started.
We met up with Matt and he took us through a bit of a warm up. I had never seen people warm up before a race. It was strange to see some people running incredibly fast back and forth short distances and others were jumping super high in the air. We just slowly jogged around the block.
We found our place at the start line. I hadn't been crammed in so close to so many people since my days in a mosh pit and I wasn't sure I really liked it. My heart was beating so fast I thought everyone would be able to see it through my shirt. Then the gun went off.....
...... but we didn't. Eventually we began to shuffle forward, then a slow jog and the long beep of our chips sounded as we crossed the start line. That's when things started to speed up. I couldn't believe how fast we were running. We also had to weave in and around people who were walking, but for some reason started close to the front. We kept running and turning corners and passing people. The kilometre markers gradually went by - slowly.
Every time I wanted to slow down a bit Linda or Matt would pick up the pace. Then it started to drizzle. I didn't have a jacket or a hat. I was saying two prayers to myself. The first that I wouldn't die and the second that my mascara wouldn't run. Thank god neither happened. I do remember at one point looking at the boulevard and wanting to curl up and cry there, but Matt and Linda were going too fast and I didn't know where I was.
Eventually we saw Copps Coliseum again. The finish line for both the 5k and 30k finish inside Copps. Matt said to me "We just have to run down the side of the building and we're done" It was the longest building in the world, but we made it. Once we got inside I could see my time - it was under 30 minutes. It was somewhere around 29 minutes. I ran with everything I had toward the finish line. But I didn't listen to Matt's advice about looking good for your picture at the end of the race. The picture is terrible. I tried to find it online for this post, but its gone. I mean this when I say I know what I will look like when I breath my last breath. The only thing uglier than my picture was the shirt.
Needless to say I was hooked at that point, my official time was 28:42 and I felt like a rock star. I couldn't wait to sign up for my next race..