Monday, April 6, 2009

The Carlsbad 5000 and Me

My First Race Ever!

Sunday's Carlsbad 5000 (5K) will go down in my personal history as the first race I ever ran. I'm getting all teary-eyed just thinking about it... sniff, sniff.

Honestly, I wasn't overly excited about this race. I've been so focused on the Rock & Roll, that I sort of viewed this run as a fun little distraction on my way to San Diego. And a way to help raise money for Dan to get his wheelchair-accessible van.

When I went to watch my boys run in the Junior Carlsbad on Saturday, I got more excited about Sunday's run. The excitement generated by the crowds, music, and party-like atmosphere is very infectious. I was even inspired watching all the kids run their races, having fun, and flashing their medals.

It also occurred to me that the Carlsbad 5000 may be the only race I'll get to do for a while. If my leg isn't better in the next couple weeks, I am going to back out of the Rock & Roll Marathon altogether... not even to walk it.

With that in mind, I decided to give this race my heart, and sole soul as far as enthusiasm goes. And it was fun! I had to go by myself (my husband works on Sundays because he is a musician/media director at a church). I prefer to go places with other people but it was kind of nice to go by myself. I took my time browsing the expo booths, purchased a few items, people-watched, tried out samples, and looked for people I know.

I found someone!

This beautiful woman is Theresa. She's a runner. She rocked the Carlsbad 5000, coming in 73rd out of 1,228 women in our division. I've known her for years & she doesn't believe me when I try to explain how slowly I run. She suggested we run together. I laughed. I'm still laughing.

I also found the group raising funds for Dan's Van. I've never actually met any of them prior to Sunday's race, except for Dan. Dan was a fourth-grader at the school where I taught last year. Less than a year ago, he was hit by a car while chasing after his skateboard, leaving him with major head injuries and very limited mobility.

I ran with my age group while the rest of the team joined the walking division. Here they are coming into the finish. Great news: The team ended up raising all the money needed to purchase the van Dan's family needs! That news made my day!

Taking Care of Business

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have a phobia of public restrooms. And now you all know it, too!! Lucky you!

I avoid public restrooms everywhere... unless I am in a nice, clean establishment. I even have nightmares about having to use a dirty public toilet. Really! On Sunday, my nightmare became my reality. I had a couple cups of coffee at home before I headed out the door to race. Well, the coffee caught up with me.

I've suspected that running is making me a braver person... now I know it's true. I know this because I used a Blue Port-O-Potty!!

I'll break it down for those of you who are mathematically-minded:

The smell + The content found inside = The stuff of nightmares!

I managed to take care of business without touching anything. It wasn't easy, but I did it! I hope to never have to do it again. Ever.

And On to My Second Biggest Challenge of the Day...

I know you all are sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to hear how I did in the race. Overall, I did OK. My leg was doing well until about mile 1.5 and then I had to alternate walking and running. I finished the 5K in 38 minutes 51 seconds according to the clock... but 38 minutes 11 seconds according to my time chip. That makes my pace 12.19 minutes per mile. I was #932 out of 1,228 women in my division.

The results made me happy. I may have been behind 931 woman runners but I came in ahead of 296 other women. I really thought the odds were in my favor that I'd be in dead last.

My time was 38 long minutes and 11 seconds. I was surprised when I saw the clock at the finish line and it was showing 38-something minutes. I figured I'd finish in the 45-something minute range.

I realize that a pace of 12.19 minutes per mile is slow to lots of people. Prior to my leg injury, all but two of my runs were at about a 15 minute pace. So, a 12.19 minute mile is great for me! Woo-hoo!

All these facts almost make me forget about the 10-year old boy running in flip-flops who passed me up at mile two.

No, that's not how I run. That's me being a goof.

My Selfless Act of Helping Out the Economy

As I mentioned, I purchased a few items at the Expo. I'll take pictures and blog about them tomorrow. I also got information about future races. I discovered that race expos are fun, fun things!


AKA Alice said...

I have such fond memories of the Carlsbad 5000. You're right, it is just a great race.

I don't think 38 minutes is slow at did your pace, and you haven't been training for a 5K, you've been training for a marathon. They are two completely different things.

I too had to deal with my public toilet phobias as I became a distance runner...I won't even begin to tell you the stories of the places I've ended up having to relieve myself...when ya gotta go at mile 12 of an 18 mile run...well, ya gotta go...'nuf said, but I could completely relate to the peeing in a porta potty w/o touching ANYTHING. I know it can be done!

Hope your leg is feeling better soon!

Marathonman101108 said...

Sara...I think I hear the "Theme From Rocky" playing!! The most important thing about any run I have found is completing it. How you completed it and your time is secondary. Being a guy, I fortunately don't have the "porta potty phobia" other than sometimes feeling claustrophobic in them. Congrats on your run, and I hope your leg is recovering well.

Mark Berry said...

Sara, very cool! Congratulations on what sounds like a great run - and an even better day. I really enjoy your characterizations - of porta-potties (only downside of running), of boys in flip-flops, etc. Your picture at the end of your posting doesn't look like a "goof" but a "winner" - regardless of your place in the race, you did what 95%+ of people will never do. You are a runner. You are part of the fraternity/sorority. Good job!

joyRuN said...

Ha! I got passed not by one but TWO runners in crocs in the 2007 Philadelphia Distance Run - talk about massive blow to the ego!

I've had to get over my port-a-pot skeevies. Running this much, well - not like I had a choice in the matter :)

Bob D said...

That's fantastic, congratulations! I concur with an earlier commentator: you trained, you signed up for a race, and did it and crossed the finish line. That puts you ahead of 99% of the population. Well done.

Glenn Jones said...

Congratulations! Sounds like you are like the rest of us now - hopelessly hooked!

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Congratulations, you did AWESOME!! And it sounds like you had a blast - the most important part in my mind. :-)

Mel- Tall Mom on the Run said...

You are sooo funny!! I love the public toilet story and the kid in Flip-flops. Way to go!!


RunningLaur said...

Wow, fantastic race! Sounds like you not only exceeded your expectations, but had a fantastic time - and that makes you a real runner too. Have FUN at a race?!? Yes!

Marathon Mama said...

Sounds like a great race, and a great cause!!! Good luck with your leg, I hope you can Run the Rock and Roll!! I am sure you will have some interesting port-a-potty experiences there. May sure you bring your own toilet paper!

The Happy Runner said...

Congratulations! You did great -- in the 5k AND using the porta-potty :-) They are so gross. But, you gotta do what you gotta do!

tfh said...

Great job running and conquering your public toilet fears-- UGH!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, your first race ever!? You'll never forget. Great job. I also like to go to races by myself. I find it better to focus when I'm alone. I hope your leg gets well and you can run lots and lots of races:-)

Melanie said...

I hate porto-potties too! Congrats on an amazing race! CONGRATS!!! You did such an awesome job!!! Keep healing up that leg, keeping my fingers crossed for ya! Enjoy your victory :D