Sometimes a really dumb idea turns out to be a good one...(from November 2008)
I have run a few 5Ks in the past, two to be exact. When I ran them, I did it just to prove I could. It was a life goal or I guess the current term is "item from my bucket list." My daughter came and asked if she and her friends could run the Sacramento Run To Feed The Hungry. It is an annual 10K run and 5K run/walk held rain or shine on Thanksgiving for the past fifteen years. Always one to encourage my children to have charity, awareness and empathy for those less fortunate--combined with an athletic activity--sounded like a great idea so my husband and I agreed that she and her friends could participate, and we would take them and bring them back. Then I got the itch. I playfully told my husband I would run the race if he would cook Thanksgiving dinner. He readily agreed just a tad too eagerly. You see, my focused, specific, dedicated exercise habits have dropped off somewhat here of late. In August, I valiantly decided to start running with my daughter, and after one mile in a muggy, smoggy, unpleasant trot around the neighborhood, I told myself and her that I would wait until the weather was more accommodating. Then life got really busy as it always does...
So when I decided to sign up for the race, I thought I'd have plenty of time to condition, after all, we only intended to run the 5K and not the 10K. I figured daily runs for two weeks would put me right where I wanted to be--ready to race. Once again, a busy life and a minor illness stood in the way of my good intentions (okay, fair intentions, but still intentions). The night before the race I didn't think I was going to go. The morning of the race I didn't think I was going to go. At the very last minute, I said what the hell and we all climbed in the truck.
Now, I've run a few of these races and I know better than to try to show up anywhere within an hour of the start time and of course we did not allow for much more than that. So when we arrived, the race had already started. As you'll note in my chart, we were about 15 minutes late (gun time vs. tag time). We ran about a mile from our drop off point to the actual start line (so I'm counting this as 7K). Luckily, we had little electronic tags attached to our shoes that tracked us from start to finish. Unluckily, our lateness put us behind the walkers, strollers, pets on leashes and so forth and in almost shoulder to shoulder crowds which usually meant if I wanted to pass someone I had to run up on a side walk and across some resident's yard (the race was partially through residential neighborhoods). Sometimes I had to jog in place until a space opened to pass.
The girls intended to try to stay together and I told them not to wait for me--I knew better than to think I could keep up with them. However, I was elated when I crossed the finish line just one minute behind them. Yay me! Then I was deflated to learn they walked for part of the race, oh well. Below are my racing stats that I copied from the website. For you non-believers, here is the link but really, do you think I would make up a 16 minute mile???? My bib number was 25369. The combined 10K/5K numbers went past 30,000 but total participants ended up being about 21,000.
Runner Details Race Results
Bib:25369 Overall: 6059 out of 14992
Name: NeCole Scott Women: 3372 out of 9125
Gender: F F 40-44: 294 out of 762
Age: 43 Age/Grade: 31.45% Place:6171
Hometown: Antelope, CA Finish: 49:53 Pace: 16:04
Tag Time: 49:53 Gun Time: 1:03:13
The race sponsors graciously provided snacks and drinks after the race, and after locating the girls, we walked back to our designated pickup spot and drove home. I immediately climbed into the hot tub and took an Advil. My husband kept his word and made dinner. A few more Advil and a hot pack on my right knee overnight and I was none the worse for wear.
So as the current recap cliche tends to go - running a race without training and conditioning=stupidity. Arriving at said race late=frustration. Having a 16 minute mile posted on the internet for the world to see=humiliation. Setting a good example for my kids and giving back to my community=priceless