Anytime you suffer a setback or disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead.
~Les Brown (Brainy Quotes)
The PHP 5K was my first official race. I had run a couple of virtual races, but never anything in a particular place with other people. I started becoming anxious as soon as I drove up & saw all the people there, especially so many of them wearing matching shirts like teams. I felt very alone. I guess that was sign of things to come since I ended up walking most of it & finishing dead last. Exactly what I was afraid of 😦 But I did finish it, so that’s something.
Turns out one of the blue shirts was a friend of mine & the shirts were her companies 5K team. If they agree to do 80% of the runs the company sponsors they pay all their entry fees. They even built a track around a pond outside their building. Isn’t that nice?
I knew I should have started close to the back, but I started where she was in the middle. Instead of starting at my own pace, I started at the crowd’s & ended up a going a little too fast. I got winded & couldn’t catch my breath with all of the other people around because I felt very nervous & self-conscious. I checked my gps & I was a half mile in. The good news is I was running at my HM goal pace (15:oo), but the bad news was a half mile was when I would be finishing a lap around the park. When I looked ahead all I could see was road. I was in unfamiliar territory & didn’t know where I was going. I totally psyched myself out & gave up running. People I had been passing were now passing me. *le sigh*
After I had rested a bit, I tried to run a few more times but my spirit was gone. I even got passed by a woman pushing a stroller. It was a low point for me. Once I got so far behind I couldn’t even see anyone else (it was hilly & twisty, & woodsy at some points), I did run some more. I tried to run the last half mile once I saw the sign, but it twisted around through trees & over grass (I never run on grass) & once I got back around the others I felt too stupid to run. I didn’t even bother trying to run through the finish.
When I finished they asked me if there was anyone behind me. I replied, “I hope to god not. If there is they have no legs & are dragging themselves along by their arms.” At least I crossed the finish with my sense of humor intact. As disappointed as I felt, I really made it a point to not get too down on myself & resisted the urge to just quit & go home. For someone who ended up hospitalized the next day, I have to say that wasn’t too bad.
As for the race itself, I give it two thumbs up. For only $20 I got a nice shoe bag, a long-sleeved tech shirt, & a $10 coupon for Fleet Feet Huntsville (which I used for my new shoes). The money went to a local charity which is always a good thing. The course was very pretty & varied. It started out on a road, then went around a parking lot, moved into a woodsy paved path, & ended up over the grass around the starting area. The whole thing was along a lake & it was early fall so the colors were changing. The negatives I’d point out were it had rained earlier in the morning, so the grass was damp as were the leaves that had fallen on the path through the woods. I was especially uncomfortable on the grass because I had never run on grass before (plus it was back where all the people were & I was dragging in behind everyone else). If I’m still around next year I will run it again; hopefully I can redeem myself.
Lessons I learned: I should have taken something for my anxiety when I got in the parking lot & saw all those people, & I need to shake up my running routine to get used to running in new areas. They changed my anxiety pill to daily instead of just when I need it, so that’s taken care of. At least one day a week I am going to run a different path. There’s not a lot of places around here to run, so I won’t be able to run somewhere new very often but I can not run the same place all the time.