Today was the day of my first ever 5K race, and only my second ever race (my first, a 4 mile, I completed just last month). The River City Rat Race, held in downtown Fort Wayne, featuring a course that just happened to go right past my mom's house.
Now, in the three weeks leading up to race-day, I started to feel a cold coming on. I managed to fight it off at onset for the first two weeks. I get to the beginning of this week just past, and BOOM, the cold sucker punches me right in the nose. Commence congestion and a sore throat. Thankfully the sore throat only lasted for a day. The congestion, however, continues, and invited it's good friend Mr. Cough along for the duration. Yep, two days before race day and I'm hit with a cough. Yay.
Obviously, I was determined to run anyhow. I only ran one time this entire week, on Wednesday morning, in preparation. But, before this week, I'd been training regularly, so I wasn't particularly worried.
Back to race day. Upon arrival at the starting line, I didn't find anybody I knew, so I paced through the crowd, doing a few warmup stretches and mentally preparing myself for said race. All was fine apart from a few nerves, nothing I couldn't handle. At the beginning of the race, I felt strong, ready to tackle this 5K with a great finish time. The first half mile or so was easy. I got toward the end of the first mile and that's when the stitch in my side began to show itself. Not great, but not unmanageable. I finished my first mile in 11:05. As I continued on, the stitch became stronger and I found that I hadn't hit my breathing stride as I normally would well before the first mile was over. I kept going, determined to not have to stop and walk at any point. After starting the second mile, it became apparent that I was being affected by this cough/cold more than I'd bargained for and that this was going to be a REAL challenge for me to overcome, not being able to regulate my breath to a deeper, calmer state. I had to stop and walk (kept it at a brisk walk) to try and rid myself of the stitch and to allow myself to catch my breath for a few moments.
I finished my second mile at 22:30, and from there on I alternated running and brisk walking so that I wouldn't end up doing myself more harm than good. I admit I got a little frustrated with myself toward the 2 and a half or so mile mark. I really wanted to rock this run and I was frustrated that this cold was holding me back. Then, a girl who was herself struggling to keep going kindly offered to run together with me, to keep each other going to the end. So kind of her. :)
I kept going and didn't stop to walk again until the end. And now, the part everyone's been waiting for, the results:
Official finish time -- 34:35
Average mile time -- 11:11
Finished 21st in my age division (30-34) and 97th female.
This means that, despite the cold and the brisk walks, I still finished this race with a better average mile time than my Fort4Fitness 4 mile run last month (where I averaged around 12 minutes per mile)!!! This pleased me very much and has me excited about the 5K trail race I'll be participating in along with Mike and his brother on November 20th. I'm pumped about continuing to train, and my goal for the trail race is a 10 minute (or less mile)! Good day and namaste. :)