Last weekend I was peer pressured into running my first ever 10K. Not only was it my first 10K, but it was my first ever organized race (not counting the three-legged races in 1st grade). This article is geared towards other people who are thinking about running a race, and want to know what to expect on their first day out there. FYI I ran in the Oak Apple Run in Royal Oak, MI.
I had a very loose training routine. A 10K is 6.2 miles, which is a decent distance, but it’s not a distance that will kill a guy. For four weeks prior to the race, I started running 3.2 miles three nights a week. I got to the point where I was comfortable with this distance, and could run it without stopping for any breaks. I wanted to run a “practice 10k” before the actual race to prove to myself that I could do it, but I ran out of time.
I had passed out early the night before my race due to a pasta dinner induced coma. I definitely recommend doing the carbo load the night before. For all you Office fans, do NOT eat right before the race like Michael Scott. My race was at 7:30am which was nice because it was still cool outside. I woke up at 6:30am and downed a banana and a big glass of water. I attached my race timing chip which is basically a little microchip inside of a plastic loop that you put on your shoe. This chip gives you your exact race time.
The start of the race was pretty chaotic as there were a few hundred people all trying to run to the same destination (a lot like trying to get a drink at the bar during last call), but after the first mile there was much more room as the pack spaced out. I found a good pace that worked for me, and that I knew I would be able to keep for the whole race.
Throughout the race they had water stations where people were passing out water cups. I discovered that it’s extremely hard to drink water from a paper cup while jogging, and ended up getting 95% of the water in my face while landing 5% in my mouth. Maybe this was why I saw a couple guys running in board shorts.
When I hit the 5.2 mile mark I noticed there was one guy ahead of me who was pushing a stroller. The idea of a stroller beating me in a 10k just didn’t sit right and my competitive spirit was growing with each step. I kicked up the pace and was able to pass him before the finish line.
I finished in the middle of the pack at 55 minutes. My goal was to finish without stopping and I succeeded. My other goal was to finish without puking and I successful in that too, so all in all I would say my first race was a success. I give lots of props to anyone who has run a race, and would encourage everyone to give it a try at least once in their life – it was a great experience.
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