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<i><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;">Written April 26, 2009 by robmckim2:</span></span></i><br>
WOW, what a first time experience. I have a story, some comical and all true that is great for my first 5K race experience! WARNING: LONG POST!!<br><br><br>
Here’s a little bit about the setting: My wife and 8 yr old son and I drove from Poplar Bluff to Rock Hill, Mo (about 3 hours drive) on Saturday, to pick up my pre-enrollment packet, number and t-shirt for the CASA 5K that took place this am, Sunday 4/26/09 0800 hrs. I expected a mostly flat, down and out course, according to the only info on the website. Upon arrival to P/U packets, I do the necessary documentation and ask about the course. They explain to me that there are some hills and give me the course directions…<br><br>
So into the truck and off to drive the course...<br><br>
At the very start I see a long hill, climbing UP for the first 1/4 mile or so (remember I'm a novice). I get over that hill and start down, I even said to my wife, "Well, at least I can get the hill part done in the beginning and can get my pace for the rest of the rest." HA-HA-HA! Once down the hill, we come to the first right hand turn. Once around the corner, guess what...ANOTHER HILL! Not even as small as the first one, it's much steeper and longer! Now at this point I'm like, "Man, when they say a few hills, they mean it!" But we drive on up and down to the 2nd right turn with a nice little flat spot and then....wait for it, wait for it....ANOTHER HILL!!! This last set of hills was a continuous grade UP until I got to the top of the darn thing to Manchester. The 3rd right turn and it looks all down hill from here to the finish lane, which is at least 3/4 of a mile, more or less. Now, that was just the DRIVING!<br><br>
Now we are off to my DS (sister's) house (Robyn) who lives in Imperial, MO some 20-30 minutes away. We all go to dinner Sat night, buffet style so that I can get my feed on and be picky at the same time. Over dinner we discuss our plan of actions for the next morning so that we can arrive at the starting line at least 20 minutes early so I can do a warm up run and get stretched good and ready for the torturous hills to come. So as far as sleeping went; it was moderate at best! I couldn't stop thinking about the race, my plan, preparation, shin splints, ect...I tossed and turned a lot but I was ok when I woke at 0545 hrs (did I mention that I had butterflies and was as anxious as when I'm about to deploy!?!). I got up and dressed, had a piece of toast with a little peanut butter only because I do not like to eat before I run, however I had a couple hrs so I wanted to have something in me!<br><br>
We all climb in the truck to leave and I hesitate...CRAP, I have to go back in, I forgot my phone and it has the directions in it via the GPS app! My DS says not to worry, she knows right where the Stein Mart on Manchester is and it's no problem. Again, I feel hesitant but proceed on down the road anyway. Listening to my co-pilot in the back seat we drive and drive for nearly 15 minutes and the clock says 7:30 am, I make mention and my DS reassures me, no worries because we are a block from Stein Mart on Manchester. WHAT!?!? How can we be a block away?!? This is NO WHERE NEAR the Running Center I was at yesterday to P/U our packets!!!! At this point I'm panicking but did in fact see the Stein Mart she was talking about. I’m afraid that I am about to miss my first race and I tell her to call them NOW and find out how to get there from where we are! Turns out that there is more than one Stein Mart on Manchester and the one we NEED to be at is more than 30 minutes away in the OPPOSITE DIRECTION! I damn near stop the truck right there and give up! But no, I drive but I'm being careful because I've seen PD at every intersection and we are going thru suburbs the entire way with stop lights about every 1/4 joke! At this point I've decided that I will run the race no matter how late we get there and will complete it no matter what the time! I also do a little prayer to the street light gods (didn't know they existed) and asked for the traffic to be light as well. I don' know how but I didn't get a ticket, watching the speed AND the clock, I'm sure my DW was a nervous wreck but she only occasionally said to please slow down. My DS was like, pull over; let me drive, we'll be there in 5! NO-not happening! We eventually get close and I am extremely nervous because I recognize the area from yesterdays visit! So we are close that's good but its now 0754 and I am only HOPING that they don't start on time. (I should also mention that this entire time my DS was extremely apologetic and remorseful)<br><br>
We come screeching into the parking lot, I'm yelling at my sister to get out, DW is yelling at me to get out and GO, GO, GO! We run over to the starting line, I reach down to lace up and realize....DAMN...I don't have my Garmin on my wrist! Now mind you, if you have ever run at all or played any type of sports, you probably have a routine that is next to borderline or beyond OCD about compulsively doing the same thing the same way, every time!!! Well, my Garmin Forerunner 305 HR monitor and GPS is my best friend when I'm running and here I am at the start line of my first race, an official one at that, without the Garmin but with my HR strap on! I tell DS I'll be back and I turn to SPRINT to my truck, not having any idea where my DW has gone with it. As soon as I turn to run, my sis yells...THEY'RE LINING UP!!! So I turn back to her to start! We stand there for nearly 2 minutes but I swear it felt like an hour; so once again, I'm going to sprint to find my DW in the truck and get that Garmin! I turn to take off…WHAAAAAA...SHIT-THAT'S THE STARTING HORN! So, I turn and run to catch everyone that is beginning to leave the start line. A quick pound cake with the sister and I'm off (she had planned to walk some of it, while I wanted to see what I could do).<br><br>
Ok, I'm talking to myself from the start, convincing myself that I do not need my gizmo and I need to slow down; remember, don't start too hard & fast, like everyone has told you. So I'm making my way up hill number one and I am winded already! I'm not running that fast but I have never done any hill work at all, it's kind of flat where I live and run. But I make it up the hill with out walking, crest the hill and down we go, slow so that I don't hurt myself but trying to make up for the inclines behind me and ahead of me. Turn one, good...then the next series of hills. There are people (volunteers) about every quarter mile to cheer us on and help keep us motivated. I liked hearing them but as I slow to a crawl and walked past one of them, going UP hill I was a little discouraged. But I don't quit! Up the hill, down the hill (sounds familiar to my Army experiences-on the bus, off the bus!) Finally, turn two...but yet up another hill; this hill I called it hill 3, although it was again a series of hills, steadily inclining. About 1/2 way up this last hill, I could see the crest but was feeling HOT and breathing very heavily, so I decided to walk only for a minute or less if properly motivated. Which I was! Next thing I knew a lady, 66 yrs old and pushing a stroller, passed, you can't make this up! I must have said something like, "What the?" Because as she whizzed on past me, she looked back and said, and I quote… "That's right baby, 66 yrs old and going strong!" I was flabbergasted to say the least! Once she was past, I thought it a good idea to run some more!<br>
Finally, the crest on to's all down here from here!!! YEAH RIGHT! I went another quarter mile and it leveled off with a "gentle" incline for a few hundred yards before it started back down hill for the last stretch. I figure this last stretch was a good half mile but since I forgot my Garmin...who the hell knows-LOL!!! I’m taking off because I gotta finish BIG and Strong! I gassed! Slowed back down for a bit, till I got to the final big right hand turn, just before the finish line. I could see the finish and pushed hard as hell but never even saw the time clock until I was through the chutes! I finally found my DW and asked if she knew my time...she said she thinks it's 31 minutes and something. At first I was like really, THAT slow!?! Oh well, off again, I have to find my sister and help her finish big...what else would a big brother do but show his DS all the support he can!<br>
I find her and we both run to the finish line...she crossed at 43:32 minutes...which I thought was incredibly well and gave her more praise than I think she expected! So as the time went on and they did announcements and awards I got really more and more excited about my time. I got to thinking that I have done NO hill training and my best time previously for 5K run was around 28:00 so I'm actually quite happy about my time considering all the hills and the way my left shin feels!<br><br>
The post race environment was lively to say the least...good music and fun music, food, beer, free ice cream, the works! I had some water and a banana...thanks to the peeps at the event! I had a good time just singing and goofing with my family, listening to music and watching everyone. The post race events had such a positive vibe about it, like nothing I've ever really experienced with total strangers! So none-the-less, I will run again for the post race experience if nothing else. As a matter of fact, I have another race in 3 weeks and I hope it is as great as this one was and I hope to actually improve my time for the event!<br><br>
Now for the post race, left shin hurts tonight so I probably won't run for a couple days and I will RICE it. I'll do plenty of cross training and strength training at the gym. 3 weeks is plenty time to recover, I just hope I can be in better form for the next one.<br><br><br>
10 Things I learned:<br><br>
1. No matter how much planning, things can and will go wrong or things will get forgotten.<br>
2. Leave, to arrive earlier than you PLAN; to arrive early or at least on time(see #1)<br>
3. Don't listen to sister's directions, trust your gut and get out the GPS for directions if there is ANY doubt (Love ya Sis!)<br>
4. Although I love to run with my gear, I can survive w/out it but still don't like it!<br>
5. Always check out the course ahead of time (this saved me from being TOTALLY shocked)<br>
6. Plan ahead and have a back-up plan (I hate being rushed...see #1 & 2)<br>
7. Stay for the post race events, they can be lots of fun and freebies are nice!<br>
8. Have your race t-shirt available for post race events. (I knew not to wear it during the race, besides, it's cotton!)<br>
9. Know where the time clock is! (JIC you forget your gear-see #4)<br>
10. Have someone you can enjoy the days events with you, so much better than being alone and not knowing anyone (IMHO)<br><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br>
(white shirt is me)NOTE the Time Clock: 31:16…I just realized this when I downloaded these pics off the camera!<br><a href="" target="_blank"></a><br><a href="" target="_blank"><br></a><br>
Me & DS(Robyn)
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