As we were walking hand in hand towards the registration table, I was kind of freaking out a little bit. I wondered out loud, while surrounded by swarms of people stretching out their quads and hams and doing warm up runs in the parking lot, if I was going to be the only person at the entire Vineyard Run who was running her first 5K. No, no, Zack assured me. There were a lot of people at this run that were doing their first 5K. I was all, Are you sure? Cause from the looks of this buzzing crowd, everyone is going to shoot off the starting line and sprint their way around the 3.1 miles. I’m pretty damn sure of it. Besides, I reasoned, there’s no other reason for that 80 year old man to be taking that warm-up lap around the Hobby Lobby’s property line. But once again, Zack was correct. Turns out that over half of the 900 some-odd people that showed up for Grapevine’s Vineyard Run were really just there for a good time.
Zack decided not to run the race with me. Primarily he didn’t run with me because he didn’t feel like chunking down $25.00 to pay for something he could do for free. I suggested that perhaps he just run with me anyway–to forego the tee-shirt and the free wine tasting at the end, and “bandit run” the 5K as my support system. But the rule-follower in Zack won out; he decided to be the official “carrier of stuff” instead of running. I suggested that he also be the official event photographer, too, but turns out we left the camera at home. We were forced to use the camera phone to document my triumphant entry into The Runner’s Club.
Soon after arriving, Zack and I tracked down our friend Lindsay who also signed up for the race. As we found our spot in the Start Line crowd, I was feeling totally buzzed on all the excitement. I thought, “Oh my gosh! This is going to be a snap! I am so pepped up on adrenaline I’m going to be able to break all kinds of personal records!! Exclamation Points all over the place!” I expressed some of these sentiments to Lindsay. She was all Exclamation Points too!
Then, the starting pistol!
Then, the palatable excitement of the crowd!
Then, the running.
And then, some more running.
Then it was minute 3, and I was all, MAN. THIS IS STILL JUST LIKE RUNNING. THE THRILL IS GONE. ADRENALINE MY BUTT.
Not long after the start of the race, Lindsay had to fall into her own pace. She’s in constant negotiations with a cyst (?) in her knee, and sometimes it requires her to stop running for bit to conference. She warned me before we started that it might be the case that she would have to stop, and if that was the case I should go on without her. Despite everything that I’ve learned from Band of Brothers, I did just that when she had to bail at about minute 5. After that I was just on my own. Running. Wondering what I was supposed to do with my hands when I didn’t have Scout’s leash to occupy them.
I won’t bore you with the rest of the details. (We ran. We ran up hill. We ran down hill, etc.) But I will say (for those of you who really care about running) that I was proud of myself for finding a couple of people that were right about my pace and keeping them in my sights for the rest of the race. I would have been able to finish with them (instead of 20 seconds behind them) but they dropped me on one of the hills. The only other slightly interesting part of the actual running of the race is that I almost choked to death twice. They had two aid stations (seems a twee bit on the side of overkill, considering it was just a 3 mile run but WHATEVER), and both of them were right at the top of the two hills. While I realize that it might make sense to have the aid stations at the top of the hills (i.e. a light at the end of a tunnel?) but in reality, it’s just about impossible for me to drink a gulp of water whilst I am gasping for air after just having run up a massive! impossibly steep! (short with moderate incline) MOUNTAIN! (hill). Is there some black magic that I’m unaware of that makes it possible to drink a dixie cup of water while running? Is this something I can’t do because I’m an embarrassingly under-trained novice? I even paused at one of the stations to see if that would help me to get a little water down the hatch, but I was unsuccessful because of the breathlessness. Mostly, I just rinsed out my mouth, then spit it all out. I also made myself look like an earth-friendly nerd at the first aid station by using the Trash Can. I had no idea that if you’re a COOL 5K runner, you toss your dixie cup on the side of the road. LEARNED.
Here’s me coming across the finish line, looking unmistakably happy miserable:
Here’s Lindsay and me, 15 minutes later, with a dixie cups of wine that we were successfully ingested. At 9:00 AM:
See that smile on my face? That’s not the smile of a woman who has just completed her first 5K run. That’s the smile of a girl who has a dixie cup of wine before most people have poured their morning Cheerios.
P.S.: Future race reports to expect:
October 31st, 2009 – The 3rd Annual H.A.N.K. Run in Fort Worth, TX (4 Miles)
Thanksgiving, 2009 – The Turkey Trot (8 Miles) in Dallas, TX
And then, if I’m feeling especially crazy, December 13th, 2009 – White Rock Half Marathon in Dallas, TX