I followed the race directors advice and left for the race one and a half hours early and it was a good thing that I did. The race traffic was backed up and I ended up having to park over 3/4 of a mile away. That is what happens when you join a race that has a goal of 10,000 runners and walkers!
I had been keeping myself hydrated throughout the day to get a jump on the evening run. And so upon my arrival, my first stop was the bank of port-a-pottys. To give you a glimpse at where my head was at that point, I spent a couple of minutes trying to figure out how to flush the thing. (Can you say pre-race jitters?) After that I made my way to the runners' line up and located my goal time area.
I am not a fast long distance runner. In fact, I could argue that I am not a long distance runner period. However, I had worked my way up to 3.1 miles and my goal was to finish it in around 30 minutes. Being optimistic I joined the 25-30 minute group instead of the 30-35 minute group. As I waited for the start I got more and more excited. In fact, I was so excited I got goose bumps. (Who gets goose bumps in 90 degree weather?!!)
After walking to the start line and the gun, I was off with the thousands of other runners. And that pre-race excitement stayed with me and got the better of me. I clicked off the first mile fast. Too fast. I was having a hard time finding my pace and I paid the price. I ended up having to walk at a few spots along the way. But those out there cheering from the sidelines and the other runners gave me the strength and encouragement that I needed to get back running again.
In the end I finished with a time of 32.05. It wasn't pretty. I didn't quite get the 30 that I wanted. But I did get out there and run. And hopefully I learned a few lessons for my next 5k in June.
Some other stats. I finished in 1595th place out of 8399 finishers. 93rd out of 748 in my division. And 685th out of 5668 women.