I'm For Bikes!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lessons In Humility...or, The WRSC 5K Race Report

Well, there's nothing like a good, swift (metaphorical) kick in the pants to drive a point home. Let me just say one thing to the universe in general:

 OKAY!!! I GET IT!!!!

Here's how it all started:

A couple of weeks ago, I got a text from Sig asking if I was interested in participating in a 5k run/walk honoring our veterans.

For veterans???? Oh yeah, I'm in.

I figured, heck, it's a run/walk, right? I'm not ready to run a 5k, but I can certainly walk one. After all, that's the length of a long dog walk so no big deal. I had no thoughts at all about actually racing, just walking a fast 5k and enjoying the day and the company (note: if I forget to mention it later...I may not have enjoyed the day but I did enjoy the company).

Between the day Sig sent me that text and yesterday, I had almost forgotten we were even doing this. Needless to say, zero preparation or training went into this event. I honestly didn't think walking 5k would be that big of a deal, so I didn't worry too much about it.

That'll teach me.

Things started off on a sour note - for me, at least - when we got to the event site and went to check in. The brochure promised event t-shirts to the first however many participants, so we got there bright and early to make sure we each got a shirt. Now don't get me wrong; t-shirts aren't the only reason I do these events, but I do like getting them. I was VERY disappointed to discover they only had three sizes - small, medium, and large.

Pardon me, but WHAT THE HECK??? I realize this event was sponsored by a wellness and recreation center, but did they HONESTLY expect every participant would be one of those three sizes?? That's a bit  short-sighted, in my humble opinion. Sure, I would LOVE to be able to fit into a large shirt - or even a medium - but at this point I don't so I felt a little bit degraded. I'm sure it was not the intention of the organizers to have people feel that way; didn't change the fact that I will probably never be able to use that shirt for anything other than a cleaning rag. Add in the fact that it's BLACK and we live in SOUTH FREAKIN' TEXAS where it's over 100 degrees in APRIL and you've got quite a combination there.


We got our numbers and went to the car to pin them on and I got a couple of shots of our numbers with the event shirt. Good thing, because...well...you'll why see later...

We were there so early to get our shirts that we got to sit around and people watch for a while, which was very entertaining. I've always been fascinated at cycling events to see how different everyone is in their approach to the ride/race. Today's event, even though it was a run/walk, was no exception.

The announcer told us to start moving to the start line so we all headed that way to get lined up. Since Sig and I planned on walking the 5k we stayed at the back to avoid being trampled by the runners. I was figuring it would take about an hour for us to finish, since that's how long it usually takes me to take the dogs on a three mile walk. No big deal, right?

The race started and the runners took off...and that's when I knew I was in trouble. The other walkers were walking so FAST! What the heck?? I was moving as fast as my legs would carry me and realized before we'd even gone a mile that I wasn't going to be able to catch up with them. I could hear people talking behind me and took small consolation that I was not dead last...until I saw out of the corner of my eye that the people behind me were an older couple...

...with a baby in a stroller.

Oh, the humility! Seriously, aside from those two...well...three people, Sig and I were LAST. My mood quickly went from lighthearted nonchalance to something less than serene. We were getting our butts kicked!!

I don't know what Sig was thinking at this point, but my thoughts are unprintable. I was seriously humiliated. I've known that my lack of exercise has really set me back as far as weight loss and fitness, but I had NO idea how badly I have let myself deteriorate. My entire thought process suddenly turned from being casual to going into survival mode and just hoping I'd be able to finish the course!

I tried walking faster but I just couldn't do it. I changed the music on my iPod to my "Rock the Run" mix, hoping it would infuse me with energy. It didn't. I mentally challenged myself to at least walk fast enough to outdistance the older couple in the stroller behind me, but I couldn't shake them. It was all I could do just to stay ahead of them. I tried to be positive and cheer myself on, but all I could think about was that at this time last year, I probably could have actually run that 5k, or at least been able to out-walk the rest of the walkers. It became very depressing.

On the upside, though, the organizers were great about having water stations and volunteers to cheer us on.

We got to about the last 1.5 miles and, suddenly, the older couple who had been behind us the entire time put on a burst of speed and passed us. Yes, the final indignity.

We had just been passed by a baby in a stroller.

WOW. It just doesn't get much worse than that.

The organizers had a couple of groups of people cheering for us as we neared the end of the course and I thought that was pretty cool...until I heard one of the guys blocking traffic at an intersection radio in that "the last two people just passed me".


As we approached the finish line I finally broke my determined silence (I had been biting my tongue to keep from complaining...or quitting) and said to Sig, "This sucks." She said, "What sucks?" I replied, "It sucks that we're DEAD LAST, that we couldn't even beat an old couple with a baby in a stroller."

Sig, being the wise person she is, said something that changed my whole attitude. She said, "So what? We're here, aren't we? We could have chosen to stay home instead and not even try this, but we didn't. We're here."
(something along those lines, anyway).

She's absolutely right about that. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and took pride in knowing that, even though I came in last place at my first ever 5k, at least I finished the race. And it only took 53 minutes.

We crossed the finish line and, much to my dismay, there was a person there collecting our race numbers. SERIOUSLY?? Good thing I thought to get shots of them before the race began...

Bruised feelings and foot blisters aside, doing this walk today really pushed home for me the fact that I am NOT in good shape right now. I'm stunned, actually, and how woefully flabby I've become. I guess I've been in denial all this time, but I think I've finally found the motivation I needed to get off my lazy butt and seriously get back into training.

Livestrong might be out for this year due to a possible work conflict, but that just means I'll be able to concentrate on more local rides. Sig and I also discussed the possibility of finding another local 5k and actually training for it this time, so I'm looking into that.

Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom and have it shoved in your face before changes can be made.

I get it.

My race # and the shirt I'll never wear

Sig's race #

Back of the shirt I'll never wear

Racers warming up

Pre-race at the start line

Me and Sig at the start line


Caratunk Girl said...

Hey there!! I think you rock, I am so glad Sig said what she did about "at least we are here and not sitting on the couch." Or whatever she said. Ha. Way to hit the reset button, I like it. But really, I had no idea walkers were so competitive. And here is the other thing, now you have a PR that you can try to break, that if you train, you will!

The shirt thing sucks. I have NEVER heard of that before. Also, who makes a race shirt black? Even in Maine they are light colors.

Kat said...

Thanks, Mandy!! You're right about the PR - I didn't even think of that!

Re the shirt...yeah. Suckage. Oh well, maybe if I train hard enough I'll be able to squeeze one boob into it. Ha!!

SIG said...

This Blog has made my day, in that you have a great sense of humor, Kat, and that humor is dripping all over this blog entry. I am honored to have been your 5k walk/run partner!!

Go Team Goe-Away!!

Maria said...

Sig has a good point...even if you are the last ones to finish...you finished, and that's the bottom line.

That sucks about both the shirt and the race number...kinda a funky set up for sure!

KC (my 140 point 6 mile journey) said...

Kat, you have to start somewhere, right? Before doing tri's and marathons, i started w/5k's and i hated them. I was able to run but pretty slow but i kept at it (used to wear a medium race t-shirt and now a small, so there is hope you can wear that large in the winter, ok?) So yesterday was a really good learning experience for you. You are competative (that's good!) you want to improve (you know where your fitness level is now), and you know it takes work; it doesn't happen by osmosis. Maybe you should schedule a 5k every month? That could be a good goal and it would give you something to always train for and will improve your biking fitness too.

Kat said...

Thanks for all the encouragement, ladies!