At the last minute I decided to run in a local 5k, the Jingle Bell run. It was something I had checked out before and was eager to take part in although I wasn’t sure that I would be able to participate due to my recent injury. I waited until the day before the race to make my decision. Once I remembered that the race benefited Arthritis, I knew I had to do it!
I was going to run no matter what, and on top of that, I wanted to set a new PR! It was my goal to achieve my best time ever, regardless of how much I was hurting. Isn’t that always easier said than done? It’s so easy to say, “no matter what, I am going to run my ass off!” But sometimes, it’s just not that easy.
We managed to make it downtown (Baltimore), find parking, and get into the building with ten minutes to spare. I jumped into the line for the restroom with hopes of getting through the quickly. I was wearing a borrowed watch that was set just five minutes fast. So when the clock said I had about three minutes until the race start time of nine, I was less concerned than I normally would have been.
Someone walked by and said we still had ten minutes, so I thought, “maybe they are starting the race a little bit later”. Still, I had the inkling to jump out of line and get to the starting line. I never had pushed my time this close before, but decided to take my chances. After all, I never heard an announcement made for the race start. Would I though? I was inside an arena and the race start was outside.
To get to the starting line, we had to exit through the loading ramp out of the back of the venue, and walk around to the front of the building. When I turned the corner to make my way around the side towards the starting line, I noticed there was no line.
I looked at my watch and it said that it was now ten after nine. Anotherwards, it was really five after. I began to run towards the “race starts here sign” and realized I could barely even see the last of the runners about a quarter of a mile ahead of me.
I was late!! I started late and to make mattters worse, this race was not a chip timed race, agh! For those that don’t know, many races provide chips which you thread through your shoelaces. They record your actual start time as you pass the starting line and do the same as you pass the finish line. Therefor calculating your “actual” running time.
This race had no chip, so my time would be a total of my finish time minus the actual race start time.
While my goal was to set a new PR, I was quickly discouraged by my late start. Once I realized how far behind I was, I took off running. I was pulling through the walkers and weaving in and out of the slower runners. It was strange to be passing so many people, and not something I was really used to.
My groin muscle started aching, so I tried to adjust accordingly. I wanted to set a record, but thought it was out of reach. No use in further injuring myself with an important half marathong coming up!
Most of the race I slowed my pace and speed up in intervals. Once I came up to my threee mile marker, I started to go full force, but in the end, slowed my pace back down.
Once I crossed the finish line, I was waiting to turn in my number when I overheard the person in front of me say, it’s 9:33, what?! No way, it’s only 9:33! I went over to my mom who was watching my son and when I told her I got off to a late start she said, “when I saw you come in, my phone said 9:33.” Okay, how was this even possible?
Normally, I would be upset by that time, but being as though I started late, I was shocked in a great way. According to the official times, I came in at 34:26. Officially, this is my worst time yet, but I know better. I started five minutes late and came in at 34:26, so my actual race time was 29:26, my best time yet and a new personal record!!!!
But me being me, I am still disappointed, it’s not official, so it doesn’t really count right? What if it was really nine after, not ten after and I misread the time? On another note, I started out last-very last, and came in 414th place of 878! That means I passed more than half the people in the race during my run. Wow!! I am super surprised and have to say, a little more happy with my final outcome.
I’m not going to fret over the race, I know what happend and have learned a valueable lesson. So to my next 5K I say, “bring it on”!
Until then, onto my half marathon training….