An after the fact writing of the 5km Waterloo Classic June 15 2014.
Well here I am at University Stadium Waterloo Ontario. I am extra early and brought along my husband and kids. Today I will run in my first 5k race, and I am nervous. It is not long before the crowd starts to gather. Runners of all shapes, sizes and abilities are lingering around some warming up, some not. I make a couple of trips to the bathroom. Don’t want to race with a full bladder. I know that my friend from Field Hockey is going to be here, but where? Will I spot her in all these people?
About 5 minutes to start time and I head to the track. I was told to make sure I leave the area closes to the start line for the good runners… the fast runners. So I find my way to the back, and there is my friend. We chatted a while and she introduced me to a couple of her friends there. Then she leaves… she heads up closer to the start line. My husband and kids in the stands waiting for things to get started. They were cold and the bleachers wet from the cool night before. Finally its time.
When the gun went off it was like thinking I had been in before. Several hundred people all pushing forward trying to run, but unable to. I started to weave myself through the crowd trying not to get pushed and stepped on. But there was no running yet. As I passed over the starting mats my chip recorded and I heard the beep. Great I thought I better start running. But I couldn’t, I walked the whole way out of the stadium. Once I was off the track and headed out on the course I started to run. I hadn’t run here before, I don’t know the area and 5k still felt like a really long distance.
I ran with my music on as I had always done, keeping it low to be able to hear others around me. As I headed along the course I no longer felt nervous, and it didn’t matter that I was alone. I was having fun. I passed runner after runner, some would comeback and pass me some would not. At about the 2km mark there was hill like no other I had run before. It was long and steep, and we had to climb all the way up. Close to the top I saw my friend pass me on the return side, yup there she goes… I crested the hill only to find out we had to go down it, turn around and come back up. Really the same hill twice, I wasn’t ready for this kind of hill work. I grabbed a water and poured it over my head and face, instead of drinking it.
I couldn’t understand why this 5k felt so much longer than the route I usually run. I started to burn out a little on the return trip, but fell into a consistent pace along side another lady. There we were headphones in, side by side, strangers running together. We exchanged smiles, and a quick comment about the finish line coming soon. We returned to our silent side by side stride until I could see the entrance to the stadium parking lot. At this point I removed one of my ear buds and said to her, there the finish line congrats we did it. She looked at me with smile and said, we sill have to run the track. We entered the stadium together and slowly started to separate. In the final 100m she pulled a head and it was all I could do to stay on her heals. My first race was over and I was done, I had the finishers medal to prove it!
Post race there was a BBQ and prize draws. They handed out medals to those who qualified. The was an enjoyable end to the race. My family was with me, the sun was shining, and I had just completed my first race. I was experiencing my first runners high. Something I very quickly came to love. The runners high lasted about two solid weeks. Later that night I signed myself up for four more races. I was completely hooked on racing.
Distance: 5km, Gun Time: 33:13, Chip Time: 32:21, Overall Place: 296, Gender Class Place: 15/25, Gender Place:136, Average Pace: 6:39 min/km.