This morning I ran my first 5K race, along with Samantha and another friend, Tara. We chose to do this race in support of the Learning Disabilities Association of London (Ontario). All three of us went into it non-competitively, aiming just to complete the course and enjoy ourselves. I woke up to rain early this morning but felt so excited that it didn’t matter to me one bit. As it turned out, though blustery and wet, it didn’t actually rain and the air felt quite warm — warm enough that I opted for short sleeves. I picked up Samantha and we got there early. This was a pretty low-key event, so it wasn’t intimidating at all. For first timers, I really recommend the 5Ks that aren’t combined with more serious distances (like 10K, half marathons, and marathons) because if this one is any indication, most people are there just to have fun. Today’s was a walk/run, meaning that some people just walked. This event also had activities for the kids if they weren’t walking or running with their parents — a stage where they learned to play percussion instruments and looked like they were having a blast jamming on the drums.
We went into it with a run-walk plan of 10 and 1 intervals of running and walking. Having not yet run 5K without any walking component, that seemed reasonable. We stuck together for a bit and eventually each settled into our own pace. The race took place on a paved path along the river in Springbank Park. With the dramatic fall colours and lots of people out for Sunday morning walks, it felt peaceful and relaxing, not much different from a typical training run.
Since picking up running again last spring, this is the first time I’ve run with people. I like it and would do it again. It gives a sense of camaraderie and support that solo runs lack. Even when we all fell into our own pace through the last 2K or so, it felt good to know that Samantha and Tara were there, and passing or being passed by other racers made me feel “a part of” — always a good feeling.
We did 10-1 twice and then kind of wandered from the plan. In the end, I’m not sure that served me well because I ended up taking more frequent, though shorter, walk breaks when I increased my pace. It’s something to work on. There must be some strategy — Samantha pointed out that you’re supposed to go faster for the last half than the first half of a race.
The race has resulted in some new goals: (1) run continuously for 5K and, once achieved, incorporate that into running schedule at least once a week; (2) plan for the Santa Shuffle on December 1st; (3) improve on my finishing time of 36 minutes.
Before the race, Samantha remarked that the real competition is against oneself. I agree with that — now that I’ve got a baseline, I have a benchmark for improvement. At the end of the race, Tara sent me an email message saying that she had a real feeling of accomplishment. Me too! And so we’re planning for the next one. Stay tuned!