My race started at 8:30am so I told my friend I'd meet her and her husband at 7:30am at the race site. I figured an hour to visit a bit and them warm up would be okay. She reminded me that people get there early and the parking can get a little crazy, so I decided to arrive around 7:00am.
So, I set my alarm for 5:00am. I decided I wanted to take my time getting ready so I could stay as calm as I could. I didn't sleep much the night before from the excitement. Luckily the race site is 5 minutes from my house. I live near the freeway so I just hopped on I-80 and it was 2 exits down from me. I arrived around 7:20 and there were a lot of people already there. I called my parents and they were actually right behind me.
I found Leslie and her husband and we chatted for awhile and then she walked me around to show me where we were going to start and finish. I found my parents and did the introductions. I can't believe I left my camera in the car :( Luckily Leslie's husband had his and so did my parents.
Finally, after warming up it was finally time to start. I decided to start towards the back of the pack because I knew I would start out slow and didn't want to get in anyone's way.
I heard the start horn but it seemed like no one was moving. But because there were so many people and they were packed in, it took awhile before we could even move forward. And, off we went......
I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to hear my watch when it was time for me to change between running and walking, but the crowds dispersed and I was fine.
During the first mile I was just trying to absorb and enjoy the moment! I kept saying to myself "OMG, I'm really doing this!". It felt good. Leslie told me to not worry about what the others around me were doing and to not get discouraged if someone with a stroller (even the ones w/two kids) went by me. I thought that would be tough, but it really wasn't.
During the second mile was the water station. Leslie told me to make sure I drank some water, so I did. It was strange for me to throw the cup on the ground, but everyone else was doing it, so....when in Rome, right?! There were so many people in this area that I didn't see it until it was too late--a guy standing there a few yards past the water stand with a garbage bag for the cups. Well, I'll know for next time!!
We were running alongside I-80 now. As cars were passing they were honking at us for support. Some of the runners waved and others said they were too tired!! I thought it was pretty cool and felt a little sense of pride that I was doing this.
Finally finished the second mile and we're back in the park. I was still feeling strong at this point, which made me very happy, especially since the weather was getting warmer by the minute & it was a little humid. Then we went up a trail (thank goodness it was my walking portion)and I recognized the area as one I hiked last summer.
Throughout the race there were volunteers standing in areas cheering us on or pointing each racer in the right direction. There were several different races going on: 5K, 10K, 10K Tower Challenge, 2 mile walk, and then later two kids runs. So, depending on our bib colors would decide which way we went at certain points.
The volunteers told us we were "almost there" and it was all downhill. Well, little did I know that it was all gravel?! Since I hiked on gravel last summer and ended up twisting my ankle and falling, I decided I would not run on it at all. I had to skip one of my run times but that's okay--better to be safe then sorry!
Then I was back on the pavement and I saw the finish line. A husband, wife, and a double stroller just passed me right before the end of the gravel. They, along with their friends, were taking up the whole trail. After I was back on pavement, I was feeling great and very strong so I decided to pass that group and run all the way in. It was hard to pass them at first since they took up so much space, but I finally got by them. I ran all the way in, faster than I normally do, but I wanted to finish strong.
I saw my parents and totally forgot to look at the timer as I ran in. I was so happy that I ran through the right lane at the finish line! haha That was my biggest fear, that I would run in the wrong lane at the finish....
So, I completed my first 5K. It was a great sense of accomplishment. I had the best time and cannot wait to do another race. My mom enjoyed watching it all and thinks she may want to walk a 5K. Go, mom!