Saturday I ran in my very first 5K ever! The little town about 10 mins away from us called Campbell had their 2nd Annual Octoberfest 5K. I had originally signed up for this race months ago because it was one of the few weekends in October where I didn't have a marathon or half marathon scheduled. Well, that all changed on Wednesday last week when I was offered a bib to run in the Nike Women's Half Marathon in SF this Sunday. I was excited as I have heard many of my bloggy friends lately talking about their own 5K stories. But also nervous because I have never raced two days in a row. Usually I take it easy the day before a half or a full marathon, if anything I run a light run, not a race. But since I had already signed up and payed my $20 bucks I figured I just go out and enjoy a fun Saturday morning run.
The race was really well organized with bannanas and Gatorade at the beginning. It was a small turnout, about 400 - 450 racers, quite small to what I am used to. The temps were perfect and I met up with a fellow runner in my running group to enjoy it. My friend Kathy and I were just standing around waiting and talking for the race to begin when all of a sudden they annouced 5 mins till gun time. So we meandered over to the start and the next thing we know the gun went off! We looked at each other and said, "see you at the finish!" There were no timing chips, just the clock. It was quite crowded with lots of walkers and kids joining the race. They had us on the Los Gatos Creek tail, which is a two lane running/biking lane - not very wide. Right away I knew that I wasn't going to be breaking any records today and just took off bobbing and weaving my way through the crowd.
The path was flat until the one mile mark when we hit a hill and went up for about 30 seconds, the only hill in the race. By this time I had broken away from the walkers and kids and was pacing with a young kid who looked to be in high school. He and I ran together the whole race pretty much. I kept looking down at my watch and seeing 7:45's. Not a bad pace, and I was holding it well. It was an out and back and before I knew it we were crossing the finish line. The clock said 23:45. I knew I had about a 15-30 second delay with the clock as I did not cross the line right away. I was one of the first across the line, but was sure that there had to be more who had crossed before me seeing how my time wasn't all that quick.
My friend Kathy came across in about 27 mins and we just hung out afterwards talking and enjoying the free Starbucks coffee. About 20 mins later they started to do the awards ceremony. I was sure I wasn't up for anything but we decided to stick around and congradulate the winners. When they started to spout off the female winners in the 20-29 age group I was immedietly blown away. Third place female came in at 25:xx. Hmmm, I thought to myself, "I was faster than that?" Second place female, 24:xx. What? That couldn't be? My friend Kathy said, "I think you're first!" I told her no way! Not with my time! Then they said, "And the first place finisher, women 20-29 is Katherine in a time of 23:47!" OMG! I couldn't believe it! I started laughing histarically! Kathy was so excited and pushed me to the front! Hahaha! I have never won ANYTHING in my life! Nothing! And here I was, first place finisher in a tough age group with a medal around my neck! I was so excited! Yes, it was a dinky neighborhood race, but I DID come in first! Along with my cheesy medal, I also got a $25 gift certificate to my favorite sports store, Sports Basement! I was so stoked! I had really just gone out there to have a fun run and I ended up winning! My friend Kathy got third place for her age group of 50-59. I was really proud of her, too! She is just getting back to running after injuring her back a year ago. Great job Kathy!
My fun shirt and medal!
That win really made my day. It was kind-of funny becuase I told my fam not to come, that it was a quick run and I would be back in just a couple of hours. They were so disapointed to miss the first race I came in first for! Haha! Oh well, maybe next year I can retain my title! :)
That evening, my hubbs and I decided to have a relaxing evening seeing how we had to get up at the crack of dawn to get to SF by 7 for the start of the Nike race. My new pre-race dinner is actually quite funny. I had been dealing with bathroom issues for my entire racing life; always having to stop during a race. I couldn't figure out the right pre-race dinner that didn't upset my tummy. I tried pasta, pizza, any high carb dinner. None worked. So I had come to the conclusion that it didn't matter what I ate, so instead of stressing about it, I would eat what I felt like the night beofore. About four races ago, I had decided on Indian food for dinner. My hubbs and I really love Indian food, and in a way it sounded like a good fit. Gilled tandori chicken, rice and nann. High carb and protein. The next day at that race I had no "issues!" I thought it was a fluke, that I had probably just been being easy on my tummy the whole day before. But I tried it the night before the next race and same thing! I didn't have to stop! So, it has been my "go to" dinner the night before races and it hasn't failed me yet!
So, Saturday night we had our usual Indian food and were into bed by 7 pm. Yes, very early, but my alarm was set for 3:15 am! I think I was alseep by 7:30 and when my alarm went off the next morning I felt really rested. I slept well and I think that is because I knew I wasn't going out the next day to set any records but just to enjoy the run and get my awesome necklace!
I did my usual pre-run routine and we were on the road by 4:30. We arrived in the city at about 5:30, parked the car a few blocks away from Union Square and walked to the start line village. The start was sooo well organized! Lots of potties, pre race food and just a ton of excitement in the air. We waited around together, soaking up all fun and before I knew it, it was time to get into our corrals. This is my one complaint about the whole race. They didn't require people to submit race times from previous races to assign correct corral line ups. They simply had you pick up a band at the expo with your own pre-determined pace time and then get into that corral. What a mistake. I got into the 7-8:59 pace corral - the third corral right behind the VIP corral and the elites. I thought that this would be okay, but as soon as the gun went off and we started towards the mat, it was evident that there were people in the front corrals that shouldn't be there! So many slow runners and WALKERS! It was still quite dark out and I was dodging slow peeps and walkers until at least the 1.5 mile marker! Usually the race thins out by the 1/2 mile mark but not this time! It was so frustrating! People were pushing and running into each other, and I was dodging and expanding more energy than was needed just to get around them. The race is a large Team in Training race. People from all over the country come, and they really, really cater to that group. I think that is why they did not try to corral us better. What a mistake though.
**On a side note, some weird things happened during this race also. I kept running into, sorry this may sound bad, but larger women walking! I kept running into them at random miles down the race! At the four mile mark, the eight mile mark, the ten mile mark! How could this be? How could they be ahead of me when I was running my tail off! So weird. And they were ALL TNT peeps! The only thing I can think of that could be loggically correct is that they were dropped off at different spots to start! The nerve! That was frustrating! They also like to walk three to four deep and take up the whole lane! Get over! They get so mad, too, when you tell them you're on their left or MOVE TO THE RIGHT! (okay, my rant is over, but that was the worst! Bunch of cheaters!)
The course is a lot like the SF marathon. We headed out to the Embarcadero and by mile 3, just past Pier 39 we started to climb. The climbing it felt never stopped from there. We finally hit the marina, and then right under the Golden Gate Bridge and Presidio. A beautiful run I always enjoy. But the hills just kept coming. I knew I was in for it. But in a way I really wasn't trying to kill myself. On the flat parts I would look down at my Garmin and see 7:40-7:50's and then up the hills I was seeing 10:00 min miles! Hahaha! I wasn't trying to tackle the hills too hard, and that was good because it felt like we would climb a hill, get some flat parts for about a 1/2 mile to a mile and then climb some more. There wasn't much decent until around mile 10 when we hit the Great Highway and down to mile 11. The race was flying by for me! I was so enjoying it. At the bottom of the hill at mile 11 I was greeted by my hubbs and MIL. They were such good sports to be out on the beach in the cold and fog!
From here we went right into Golden Gate park and were greeted with out last few hills. It felt great to be soooo close to the finish. You could see it right ahead of you when you were coming down the hill between mile 10 and 11. From here I just put my head down and ran. I was ticking off 7:40's again and just wanted to finish. I didn't feel like I had emptied the tank yet, either, but I was getting cold and was ready to finish.
The finish is really awesome. The straight away from around the curve to the finish is about .10 miles and when you cross you are greeted right away with your Tiffany neclace and heat shield. Again, this race was sooo well orgainzed! I was blown away from my time, too. I felt I had ran well, but I also knew that I had a lot left in me.
I would post my bib number and stuff for you to look up, but since I was a bandit, and I was running with a bib that was registered to a 50 year old woman, you will just have to take my word for it on my Garmin time. I was quite close to the overall mileage time, too.
I am really pleased with this. For the first time I feel like my BQ is actually within reach. I have been second guessing myself a lot with my running. I was thinking for sure that I was going to be a lot slower. When I was going up the last hill, I even walked for about 10 seconds. This is a tough course, and I didn't clean the tank out. I could have kept going. I finally feel that my hard work is paying off. I know it's not in the bag yet, and I know that I have a lot of hard work and a lot of time between now and December 6, but I am excited at my progress. It wasn't a PR for me, but for some reason it almost feels that way. My PR of 1:36 kicked my ass, I felt awful afterwards, and even with my other PB of 1:44 or so left me feeling tired. But after the race yesterday and even today, I feel great. I'm not sore, I am not tired and I am ready to race. I am excited at the possiblities.
The SF Nike Women's Marathon should be on eveyone's to-do race list. It was so well organized, great cheer support, awesome gifts and a great, challenging course. I am so glad I had the opportunity to run it. I also had the best running sherpa ever! He shelped all over the city to meet me and cheer me on, I am so greatful to my best friend and hubbs for all his support, thanks Ari!
At the finish together - look at that nipple action! LOL!
At the start line at o'dark thirty!
The crazy start!
At the finish with Ocean Beach in the back.
At the finish with my MIL.
It was a great racing weekend. I am excited now. This next Sunday I have the Silicon Valley Marathon, I am doing the Half, and the following weekend I have the Heildsburg Half Marathon on Halloween. Lots of races left and lots of fun left. I just signed up for a 10K on Thanksgiving, too. My first! I should be able to run a 10K and cook a turkey, right? Hahaha!
Congrats to all the racers this weekend, I am off to read your blogs! Thanks for reading!