So I did a 5k this weekend

posted in Running on Nov 8, 2010

I have finally made the leap from super-awesome-running-guy to super-awesome-running-guy-that-did-a-race. Yeah, that’s right, one singular race. And it wasn’t even a long one, either. It was only a little over three miles. BUT I DID IT.

The race itself was the Race with the Stars that is hosted by Oklahoma City University. It was on Saturday, Nov. 6, starting in the wee morning hour of 8 AM. I arrived around 7:30 to check-in, the temperature outside hovering around forty-five degrees. The sun was slicing sharply through the morning cold, and a couple hundred people where milling about, some hugging themselves or bouncing up and down for warmth. I was wearing a pair of shorts, a long sleeved t-shirt, my Vibram Five Finger Sprints with Injinji socks for some added warmth, hoping that the actual run would take away all of the evil coldness.

Upon checking in, I was informed that my pre-registration had been either lost or never received, so I wasn’t on the list. Luckily, someone was there that knew I had registered, so I got a pass. I just had to fill out a quick form and that was that (although they ended up spelling my name wrong on all of their paperwork, which is no surprise). Taking my number, I pinned it on my shirt the best I could. I was also given a little tracker device that counted the time the runners left the starting line to when they returned.

I ended up slipping the device into one of the velcro straps that were on the side of my Vibrams. It was almost as if they put those straps on the shoes specifically for the device because it fit so well. With my number pinned down and my tracker thingy ready to go, all that was needed was to get into a big mass of people behind the starting line and wait for the race to begin.

The gun sounded, startling a large group of us, and we began. I happened to be in the very back of the group next to some guy and his dog. In the first little straightaway, I managed to weave in and out around those who where not matching my pace. A few close calls made me make sure that I pay attention to my surroundings better. People who run don’t make a whole lot of noise, as it turns out, and changing direction sharply isn’t the best idea in a jogging mass.

Around the first mile it seemed like everyone had found their pace. From then on I didn’t pass many people nor did I get passed by many. I had the pleasure of running next to a really cute girl who was also wearing Vibrams, but that story ends very sadly (I saw her bee-line to her boyfriend right after the race). The remaining two miles was just what you would expect. I normally run about three miles when I exercise, so it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. So long as I didn’t push too hard, I would probably be ok.

Right at the two mile mark, they had a booth set up with water on it that they were passing out to everyone. While this was nice, the water they gave out was ice cold, and couple that with it being less than fifty degrees outside didn’t help. It actually kind of hurt a little bit as it went down. I grabbed a cup, took one swig, felt pain, and threw it in the trash.

As we pulled into the last leg, with the finish line in view, the cut girl pulled ahead of me. Good for her, I guess. (I get to be bitter because she was in a relationship.) She ended up beating me by about three to five seconds. On the last block, right before the finish line, spectators on either side were cheering for everyone as they came in. I turned up the heat and sprinted those last few meters with the added encourage. No one really cheers for you when you sit at a desk all day paying bills, so it was a very nice change of pace.

My official time, according to their counter, was 27 minutes and 56 seconds. This was about two minutes faster than any time I have done three miles before. I had logged my run with RunKeeper, as you can see from the image up there, but I forgot to turn it off for a little bit because after the sprint I ended up finding a seat in a patch of grass as fast as possible. Once I was able to walk again, I accepted a nice little sticker and some goodies (one of them was pancake mix), and then called it a day.

The one thing that I did not expect and had never until this point experienced was nipple chafing. Writing those words feels weird, but there really is no better way to put it. When I run, I normally go without a shirt on for comfort and because I don’t have to wash another shirt sooner, so I have never come across this evil phenomenon of nipple chafing. I couldn’t feel it during the race, but afterwards, on my drive home, they felt bad and itchy, like I had got chicken pox only in those spots. I will definitely wear a better shirt (or tape them up) next time. Finally, a legitimate reason to tape my nipples!

At the end of the day, the experience was an entirely fun one. I look forward to doing another race soon, but I hope that they – whoever “they” are – decide to hold the race a little later in the day during the winter months. That’s all I ask.