Saturday, September 20, 2008

My First (practice) 5K Race

As I've mentioned before, my goal for my training was to be able to complete (without walking) the Principal 5K that's part of the Des Moines Marathon on Oct 19. Today I ran my "practice" 5K to get used to the race environment so that come October I'm semi-prepared for the nerves, people, etc.

The BeaverDash 5K was the race that I chose as my "practice" race since it's almost exactly a month from my "real" one.

This is was my very first organized race ever. I was a nervous wreck before it started and my stomach was in a knot. I don't get nervous very easily but man, I was a freak this morning. There were 1000+ people there (we'll see the official numbers when the results are up later) and it was a flat course, as promised. Oh, here's a course map for anyone looking for it. I couldn't find one to save my life before the race until I checked in. It was a beautiful morning for a run, too.

Here's the thing though - and this isn't me making's me trying to figure out what I need to do to improve for next time - I know I could have done better had I known better how to prepare for a run in the morning. This was the first time I've run any great distance in the morning and I wasn't sure what to eat before hand or anything. I always run at night where I've had food during the day so I have some energy to use. I looked on the internet for breakfast suggestions and I went with a Clif Bar, a banana, and half a bottle of Gatorade. Not a good plan. My stomach was already in a nervous knot before the race, then add on top of that WAY too much food and you have a recipe for an upset stomach. My goal was to run the whole thing and not walk....but I walked when I felt my stomach starting to try and re-gift the Clif Bar. You can see in my Runner+ Jog Log where I walked a bit in the run..just after mile 2. Luckily I didn't have to walk much before my stomach righted itself so that's good.

Overall, not a terrible run but I know I can do better. I'm going to do the following to ensure that I improve over the next month:

1) Make sure I don't have big gaps in my practicing. I've given friends permission to verbally abuse me or even kick my ass if they see anything more than a 3 day break between runs in my Runner+ logs. Those 5 and 6 day gaps are unacceptable. I'm definitely shipping my shoes to DC next week so I can get a run in while I'm on my mini-vacation (yes, I said shipping....I refuse to pay American Airlines to check a bag...bastards).

2) Haul my ass out of bed in the mornings a few times to try and find the perfect amount of food to consume before a run so that I have enough energy but don't have to hold back from throwing up. I'll still run at night because I enjoy it and it works best for me. But I need to get my body used to running first thing in the morning.

3) Get in several runs that are longer than 3.5 miles so that I'm well practiced so that 3.1 doesn't seem like a challenge.

My results will be posted later and I'm sure that my time will be different there than it is in my Jog Log, but since my distance was spot on in my Nike+ thingie I'm going to go with my times since I was near the back of the pack so I didn't get to the starting line until a little bit after the gun went off. I waited to start my Nike+ thingie until I crossed the start line so I know it's accurate.

I knew I signed up for a "practice" 5K for a reason!! :)

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