I spent all last week tapering and hyping myself up for yesterday’s race, my first 5k ever. On Saturday, iWill and I picked up our race packets and then had a pre-race dinner of vegan(ish) Reubens at Georgetown Liquor Company. We decompressed with some Super Nintendo and he showed me how to attach my racing chip to my shoe (that is not a euphemism). Also, that guy did a 92 mile bike ride. Because I mean really.
I tried to go to sleep early but ended up lying awake, nervous about the race. I finally fell asleep by trying to solve cheesecake-related math problems in my head. I woke up on Sunday at around 6am, about 30 minutes before my alarm. I had my normal breakfast of Greek yogurt and took a quick shower. On my way out the door, I grabbed a banana, thinking it would give me some extra calories before the race. I drove to West Seattle, picked up Erin, and headed over to Alki Beach for the West Seattle 5k. We got there an hour and a half before the start, so the first hour was spent in my car, trying to distract me from feeling like I was going to throw up.
We headed to Tully’s at 9 so Erin could get some tea and I could use a clean bathroom, because unless I’m on the playa, I am entirely too prissy for a Port-a-John. iWill rolled in from his 13 mile pre-race warmup and it was time to head outside to line up. We stretched a bit and then had a very serious discussion about the most important pre-race ritual:
Erin is still giggling about that, y’all. Eventually we got an actual picture:
Before I knew what was happening, we were lined up and they were counting down the start. We threw ourselves into the crush of bodies and took off. I panicked because the first 45 seconds felt impossible but then iWill realized he was pacing us WAY too fast, so we chilled out and things felt better immediately. The race is mostly a blur, y’all. I know I never got my breathing under control, never ever not once. I sounded like a hacksaw with emphysema but iWill was a gentleman and pretended not to notice. He also employed a mix of motivational tactics. First, he tried encouragement:
iWill: You are doing so great!
Me: I CANNOT EVEN BREATHE!
iWill: You sound great though!
Me: DON’T TELL ME MY BUSINESS.
iWill: When we are finished, we can have doughnuts!
Me: I WILL THROW UP ON DOUGHNUTS. DON’T SAY DOUGHNUTS TO ME EVER AGAIN EVER.
Then he tried tough love:
iWill: There’s a girl in a tutu up there. Are you going to let yourself get beaten by a girl in a tutu?
Me: YES. I DON’T EVEN CARE.
Then he offered friendly advice:
iWill: Shorten your stride and take short, quick, light steps!
Me: I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THOSE WORDS MEAN. WHO ARE YOU? WHY ARE YOU HERE?
Finally he tried singing songs:
iWill: Rising up! Into the street! Took my time, took my chances…
Me: NO. SING THE THEME TO ROCKY.
iWill: I was!
Me: NO YOU WERE SINGING EYE OF THE TIGER WHICH IS PART OF THE SOUNDTRACK BUT NOT THE SAME THING. GET IT RIGHT.
iWill: Celebrate good times COME ON!
Me: SHUT IT DOWN. SHUT IT DOWN IMMEDIATELY.
Then he started snarking a bit on the people around us, which worked because judging strangers is one of my love languages. And you know what? I didn’t want to be beaten by a hobag in a tutu. So I stepped up my pace. And passed the hobag in the tutu. And then she passed me. AND she was taking walk breaks and I hadn’t taken a single walk break yet.
Finally, the finish line was in sight. I wasn’t even breathing anymore; I was alive solely on muscle memory and leftover oxygen in my brain. I started to run faster. Then I started to sprint. THEN I saw a person ahead of me but not by a lot, so I glared at her and started to Run. Her. Down. And then that was it. I crossed the finish line in a photo-finish with the girl ahead of me. I had no idea who had won. And then I saw the picture Erin took:
This is the jerk who beat me. She’s 7. I hate her face FOREVER and fantasize about dead-legging her in a future 5k. I’m not even kidding a little bit.
My official time was 34:03. When I crossed the finish line, I was seeing spots and thought I seriously might pass out and throw up, all at the same time. I kept my shit together and managed to pose for the ever important After photo:
I did it, y’all. My first ever race. It was awful and fantastic and so so tough and maybe the most fun I’ve ever had on a run. My thoughts were super contradict-y, especially during the race and immediately after it was over.
Alida During: FUCK THIS SHIT. I AM NEVER RUNNING AGAIN. RACES CAN BLOW MY BALLS. THE HALF-MARATHON CAN BLOW MY BALLS. iWILL CAN BLOW MY BALLS. I DON’T EVEN HAVE BALLS BUT IT DOESN’T MATTER BECAUSE I CANNOT BREATHE AND AM GOING TO DIE AND BE TRAMPLED BY A BITCH IN A TUTU.
Alida After: RACES ARE THE GREATEST THING SINCE MAKING OUT. I AM GOING TO RACE EVERY DAY FOREVER AND EVER. AND MAKE OUT WHILE I’M RACING. BECAUSE THAT SHOULD BE A THING. HALF-MARATHON! MORE 5K RACING! ALL THE DISTANCES! EEEEEEAAAAAATTTTT.
After stretching again, we headed up to Chaco Canyon Cafe for celebratory brunch. I’d have taken a picture but my stomach was still having residual nerviness, so I just had a bowl of quinoa and some delicious juice.
Here’s what I learned, in my first race:
- Carbs before a morning race, not protein. Greek yogurt is fine for my training runs (and I swear it works super well) but I’d planned on multigrain bread with a bit of peanut butter and banana. I panicked about changing my routine at the last minute but should have trusted my research (and iWill).
- If I am planning on running a race without my headphones, I need to not use my headphones during training runs.
- Also, never ever run a race without headphones. Ever. Because headphones drown out breathing, or at least give me something else on which I can focus.
- Prepare for fear. I had prepared for every scenario I could think of. I was even prepared to finish the race with no legs. And the announcer was going to call my name and be all, “AND HERE’S ALIDA MOORE, WHO RAN THE LAST 11 MILES WITH NO LEGS!” I’d already started casting the Lifetime movie. But fear? I hadn’t accounted for that. Fear is what kept me from pushing myself more. I didn’t want to walk and was afraid that I’d get a side stitch or something else that would force me to walk. This doesn’t mean I have to throw every bit of training caution to the wind next time. But I do know I could have pushed myself a bit more than I did.
- Start sprinting sooner. I can always sprint longer and faster than I think I can.
- Trip every child I see. Make them sorry they ever figured out how to walk.
I’m happy, y’all. 34:03. Under 35 minutes with zero walking, my two main goals. 488 out of 855 participants.
Thank you again for the love, support, and encouragement. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate all of your emails and comments. I still kind of can’t believe I did this. I also can’t believe this happened a bit ago:
Whatevs, y’all. We’re just two people with serious issues.