I Ran a 5K! And It Was…Something

So, I survived my first 5K!

Despite barely sleeping at all the night before, I was actually not too nervous before the race started (at 8am. At the Bronx Zoo. Which is fairly far into the Bronx).
See? Cool as a cucumber with my even-cooler-cucumber friends, who had done this before.

For the most part, the race went really well. I didn’t have to walk at all until halfway through, and even then only for about two minutes. I did have to quickly walk twice more, up two giant hills where it smelled like animal poop and I felt sick. Obviously there was no way to prepare for the poop smell, but I do wish I had known to train a bit on inclines, because I was definitely not expecting the zoo to be quite so hilly.

I finished in 35:49, beyond my best time ever; before this, I hadn’t finished the distance in less than 40 minutes. However, according to all our running apps, the course was a bit shy of a full 5K (the mile markers were also waaaay off), so I would probably have finished in more like 37 minutes–still relatively awesome for me. My goal was to finish in less than 40 minutes and not be last, and I did both those things.

I don’t think I would recommend the Bronx Zoo as a good first time 5K spot though. Between the poop and the hills, I felt like I was going to throw up a lot of the time. This is what I looked like when I finished:

Despite the face of joy above, I am planning to run another 5K this fall–either Tunnel to Towers (through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the World Trade Center, for 9/11) or the New York Aquarium’s Run for the Wild in October (for a TBD sea creature), assuming it’s still happening with the aquarium still partially closed from Hurricane Sandy. I’m not doing this because I particularly enjoyed the experience, but because if I don’t have a goal, I won’t keep running as hard as I have been. Plus, it’s nice to run with friends. We didn’t all stick together while running (slowpoke Sally over here), but it’s nice to have friendly support before and after the race. So my new goal is two parts: a) to be able to run the entire thing without walking, any potential hills be damned, and b) to be able to finish closer to 30 minutes.

I still feel kind of sick from lack of sleep, but overall I am really proud of myself. Seven weeks ago I struggled to run 60 seconds at a time without stopping and truly didn’t think being ready for this race was possible, and for a first-time runner, I kicked its ass. My goal for this year was to be a healthier person, and I’m sticking to it.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m only going running once this week.


5 thoughts on “I Ran a 5K! And It Was…Something

  1. Great job! Bad smells during a race are the worst. The Disney marathon goes right past their on-site sewage treatment facility. Yeah.

  2. Two bits of advice for hills: 1) If you’re training on a treadmill, alwasy go up to 1% incline (it’s better on your joints and gets you used to dealing with inclines) and 2) running across the bridges offer a great incline/decline for close to a solid 2mi each way (in order of my preference: Manhattan, Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

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