Running Like Hell (228th new thing).

December 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

I had been simultaneously dreading and looking forward to Day Two Hundred Twenty-Eight, the day I would run my first 5K. Actually, I had probably leaned a little more toward dread in the weeks leading up to it. I hadn’t been whole-heartedly embracing my Couch to 5K plan and by the the time the Run Like Hell Halloween-themed race came around, I was only at about week five (out of eight). Maybe even day one, week five, which is basically week four.

So race day loomed and I was barely running for more than five minutes at a time. Regardless, Patrick was super supportive and my friend Kallen was running as well, so we could be a trio of champions. I had originally (like six weeks earlier when I signed up for the 5K) set my time goal at under forty minutes. As each day passed I added a little more to that figure. On the actual day of the race I was just hoping I would finish before my play list ended. I mean, I could probably speed walk 3.1 miles in an hour, right?

It turns out, running a 5K wasn’t actually as difficult as I imagined. At the beginning the runners bottlenecked through the starting line so I did a strange jog/walk/stop for the first couple minutes until I could really let loose. My play list reverted to shuffle as soon as I moved my arms at all, so all my careful song planning went out the window. I ran at least the first mile nonstop, until I hit a hill and practically tripped over a woman bending over to tie her shoe in the middle of the race. The rest was a run/walk combo for me. I ran when an older woman in a poofy tutu came close to passing me (no way was I letting her beat me) and walked when I knew my face was redder than a beet (which was pretty much constantly).

The race ended in the cemetery, after jogging around what felt like dozens of different curves. I would speed up, thinking I was almost done only to round a corner and be confronted by yet another path lined by gravestones. That was kind of cruel of the race planners, I thought.

After what seemed like forever I caught sight of the finish line and struggled to plow through. I imagined myself tripping over a paving stone right at the end and failing to finish. That would be beyond embarrassing. More embarrassing than how red my race turned after so much exercise.

My official time was 39:12, but since we didn’t really get to the starting line until 2:00 minutes after the clock began, I completely believe that my real time is around 37:00. Which is pretty damn good for my first race. Kallen and I wrote down our “clock times” (as opposed to “real times”) and ended up in 423rd and 424th place. At least we weren’t last. Patrick, however, earned a respectable 121st place in the race. I think. You see, his handwriting is so terrible that when I looked up the results, based on his finish time and name and age, I could only assume the officials misread his surname. Or he’s living a lie. What do you think, Mr. Hu??

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