i completed my first 5k and it was awesome! i’m so glad my 11 year-old daughter got to experience it with me as well, it was her first official 5k too. we participated in the neon city run which was held in porterville, with proceeds going to valley childrens hospital. here’s how it went…
race time was set for 7:30pm, and being that the event was about a 35 minute drive for us, we took our time getting ready and prepped. my daughter was a little nervous it seemed but i reminded her it was a charity event and not a competition event. i had a feeling that once we got started, being surrounded by other people running would bring out that competitive nature that we all have anyways.
we got on our shirts and shoes and took a few pics 🙂
we packed up some powerades, clif kid zbars, some nature’s bakery fig bars for me and headed out.
when we got there, it started to cool down quickly. the weather was changing and although rain wasn’t in sight for us, the wind was kicking up (the wind would kick up during the run, more on that later). they also had done a great job with the event as well. there were bleachers for sitting, a dj and some pre-warmup zumba-style routines being done on stage, vendors with food, and plenty of people sporting their neon colors and glow-in-the-dark wear!
race time was a few minutes away so we started getting our glow on!
the race start time was delayed about 15 minutes due to the amount of people still getting there and registering. at 7:45pm, we hit the ground running!
we were right at the tape at the beginning when they released us. my daughter hit it at a pace faster than what we usually run at. i think the excitement and the people all around us made her hit it strong. i could see her pulling ahead of me right from the start, maybe 20-30 yards ahead of me. i was concerned she would burn out fast since during our practice runs, she always needs to stop about the 2 mile mark for a little walk break. but she would prove me wrong…
our first turn would place us running directly against the wind. i learned from the news that evening that winds were in the range of 20-30 miles per hour. believe me, we felt it, and it dried my mouth out so quickly. i was starting to feel thirsty already! and the terrain had quickly changed from asphalt road to some rocky and jagged path, against the wind mind you. by then my daughter had slowed to my pace, which was already faster than my normal start pace, but against the wind and that terrain, i was thinking we were going to get gassed. i looked over at my glowing daughter and reminded her to watch her footing and that the best thing about this wind was that it would be at our backs during the end.
people began dropping off by around the 2k mark (i’m estimating as i didn’t set my gps app for timing). we were still going and although i was thirsty, my legs and body weren’t tired. the cool thing was that every k or so, they had groups of people at a ‘station’ handing out additional glow-in-the-dark lights that you could grab as you passed by. they would cheer so loud as the people ran by. it was crazy that their cheering sort of took away any tired feeling i was having and it seemed to re-energize me…it really was something to feel that excitement and push hard as it just re-fueled you.
about the half-way mark, they had a water station and it was perfect timing. we grabbed a bottle of water as we zipped by. we found out quickly that it’s damn hard to drink and run at the same time, haha! i was dropping water all over my shirt and shorts but it was enough to quench me.
let me backtrack a bit. a movie i really like is drumline. i bought it on dvd many years ago. i like music and drumline was always a cool movie to me, especially that final scene with the drum-off battle. earlier that morning i was flipping through channels and it was on so i was watching it that day, for maybe the 50th time.
ok, fast forward, our turn to where the wind is now at our backs, is lined with a band drum line. these guys are busting out some drums and it’s freaking electric to me! i start into some, what i can only explain as a groove-run. i’m feeling it. i’m re-energized once again and ready to rock n roll!
we’re moving forward, pushing, and by now i can feel that the quick pace we started at is starting to wear us down. i look at my daughter, who is right at my side this whole time, and ask her how’s she’s doing. she says her side is starting to hurt and her throat as well. the air was cold and i know her tonsils do bother her from time to time. i remind her to breath through her nose so that the cold air isn’t hitting her throat directly. she doesn’t want to stop either. so we keep pushing through the dimly lit trail, which by now is desolate. nobody has passed us at this point. we can see a few runners glowing up ahead, but it’s quiet and dark as we keep running through the night.
it’s the last station before the finish. i’m assuming it’s the 4k mark. we can see it glowing as we approach it. i can hear the music…”don’t stop believing”…ahh yes…journey!! people cheering “you’re almost there, keep going!” once again, i’m feeling good! we’re almost to the main road to where we started and i tell my daughter that that should be the final turn as we head back towards where we started. we hit that final turn for the home stretch…
the hard-seasoned runners are hitting it hard that final k. a few pass us. we’re maybe 250 yards away. i glance over at my daughter and say “you got anything left in the tank?” she says “yeah dad” and starts into a sprint. i’m super impressed! i give it all i got as well…and she’s still pulling away from me! and she’s the one who always wants to take a break at the 2 mile mark during our training?!? i was so proud of her!
we cross the finish line and our first official 5k is done. such a great feeling. more importantly, my daughter had a great time. i had a great time just experiencing this whole event with her. she looked over at me and thanked me for everything…proud moment.