I promised details from my 5K, and I'm delivering. :)
I woke up yesterday morning feeling excited/terrified. After getting dressed and doing my semi-signature side braid, I made myself eat a granola bar because I knew I needed some fuel to get me through the race.
Then we headed to White Rock Lake, where the race was being held. I didn't make it over there to pick up my race packet the day before, so we spent a little time trying to figure out where to get it. We finally figured out where to go and parked.
Walking up, I started to realize that my foot was probably going to be a problem. After my run on Thursday, I started having pain on the outside of my left foot. Strangely enough, it felt better in heels, so I thought it might be better after I worked all day on Friday and it didn't hurt too bad. And I thought it'd definitely feel better in running shoes, so I wasn't too worried about it. But I should have been. No amount of stretching made it better, and there was a dull pain every time I walked. And if I'm being honest, I might have bailed out on the race if I hadn't blasted it to all of you guys (and everyone else I've ever met). But I thought it might get better as I ran, so I decided to just go for it.
One of my friends from work sweetly agreed to run with me, (Micah had decided to let us girls run together and became the designated stuff-holder/photographer... which maybe wasn't the best idea based on past experience... ;)).
(Yeah, I accidentally ripped off my name tag-thingy, and Micah had to rig it up below my number. I was so obviously a newbie...)
Once Ashley got there, we went ahead and got lined up.
Ashley has done several other races (and a triathlon!), and she suggested that we start in the back so that we didn't get run over. It wasn't actually a super-big race anyway, but I figured I'd be better safe than sorry.
And then, before I knew it, the gun had gone off, and it was time to go.
Since we were at the back, it was a few minutes before we could actually start running, but once we got going, I actually felt really great - apart from my foot. I started out with a good pace, and a little Call Me Maybe. :) And then we hit a pretty humongous hill, so I decided to let myself take a one-minute walk break when we finished the first mile. My foot was hurting, but it was bearable.
The time between the first and second mile markers is pretty much a blur. I remember getting pretty tired, but feeling okay. Ashley was so sweet to stay with my pace, even though I know she normally runs much more quickly.
And then about 2.5 miles, my foot started cramping. I had to stop and walk for another minute, and I worried that it wouldn't stop. But it finally did, and I started running more on my toes, which seemed to help. My stupid headphones wouldn't stay in, so I finally just took them out, without having made it to Chris Brown's Forever, which was definitely a bummer.
I finally made it to mile 3 and saw the finish line and took off with much more energy than I should have had at the end of 3.1 miles.
Here I come!
Almost there! It was right about this point that the announcer guy called out my name and commended me on my strong finish.
And then I crossed the finish line!
(and this picture totally makes it look like I finished dead last. I swear I didn't... there were actually quite a lot of people who walked the whole thing, which made me feel a little more hardcore. ;))
Ha... I sort of wanted to cry at this point.
Micah took Ashley's and my picture.
And then it was all over.
I can't really say how it felt to be done. I was so, so glad to have done it, but I was definitely disappointed to have not been in peak condition, and my time was so much slower than it had been in the past several weeks. Plus, based on the fact that I was able to turn it on and finish so strong at the end, I know that I could have gone faster. I think I just needed to have a little more confidence in my ability to finish. I was so worried about losing steam at the end that I held back a little more than I should have for most of the race.
But, honestly, I was never looking at the race, itself, as the end goal. It was just my "insurance policy" to keep me running, and it definitely served that purpose. I wouldn't say that I've fallen in love with running yet, but it is definitely something I'm going to keep doing (after I take a week or so off to let my foot heal). And technically, because I missed a few days, I haven't actually finished Couch-to-5K, so I'm going to get those last couple of runs logged on the app so that I can officially call myself a Couch-to-5K grad. :)
Bottom line, it was a fantastic experience, and I'm so happy to have done it. Who knows if I'll sign up for another race anytime soon, but at least now I know what I'm capable of. And there's no telling what I'll be capable of if I just. keep. running. :)