My October experience did set some expectations which were all blown to smithereens at this event. My top 5 takeaways:
- Not all races are created equal. The 5K I walked was super organized: our bibs had chips which tracked our time, and after the race we were presented with medals, snacks, certificates, and months of e-mails trying to sell us official photos from the event. This 5K? Run and done. Oh, and some water. It couldn't have been more different.
- Check out the course ahead of time. Going into an event called the Blacklight Run, I knew it would be dark outside. Still, I expected some, well, blacklights throughout the course. Nope. Apparently they were reserved for the after party which we didn't attend...because lighting on the course was minimal and many areas of the track were gravel. I wasn't prepared for this and slipped on an especially rugged patch about halfway through the run. It didn't seem like a big deal until I got up and realized there was (and still is) a lot of pain going on behind my knee. Going into the race with a more realistic understanding of the course may not have prevented this, but it definitely would have been helpful.
- Push yourself...the right amount. Despite several C25K sessions for almost 2 months pre-race, I'm not ashamed to admit that I still hate running and it doesn't feel any easier for me now than it did before. Still, I had my own personal goal of alternating running and walking throughout the event. Having a buddy who pushed me was great because I ran more than I may have on my own, but at the same time, I knew when we I needed to compromise on some running goals so I didn't overexert myself .
- True Life Fitness is amazing. I trained for the run in leggings which slid all over the place; I constantly needed to stop or slow down to adjust things. True Life Fitness gave my friend and me an amazing deal on their adorable Blaire leggings for the race itself, and they stayed put the entire course! They are thick and I was worried they might be too warm for June, but they felt incredibly cool and smooth. They're definitely my new favorite workout capri. Even cooler, TLF is a small business owned by an everyday woman who simply wanted good quality exercise clothes. Right now, only two items are sold: the Blaire and a full-length "Katie" legging, both named after a friend of Jess, the owner!
- Remember where you parked. Once we crossed the finish line, we skipped the after party in favor of a quick visit to the medical tent before going home to shower and eat pizza. Yep, we're healthy. Turns out we were so excited to begin, we forgot to take note of where we parked and ended up walking a second 5K (OK, maybe not quite that far) throughout the sea of cars trying to find ours. Whoops!
Would I do it again? I definitely think it's a good thing to challenge yourself, so yes. I'll definitely participate in future 5Ks and try to improve my time little by little.
What 5K have you enjoyed the most?