This past Friday afternoon, I made the spontaneous decision to run a 5k race two days later. I’m not sure what made me decide to register, because I am not a last-minute kind of girl. I like to be prepared and know what I’m getting myself into so that I can plan contingencies. Yeah, I’m really fun. Even though online registration was closed, I found my way to a place where I could pre-register in person. I was determined.
The 29th annual Greenfield Glide 5k run/walk took place on Sunday morning in Schenley Park in Oakland – yet another reason my decision to run surprised me: I had never been in Schenley other than driving through. I had no idea what the course elevation would be, other than finding a few mentions online of 2-3 hills. I like to know what I’m in for, since I haven’t been training on hill work. However, my attitude towards this run was positive and non-obsessive. I know – WHO AM I?
I think part of the reason for my relaxed attitude was because it was so last minute. I didn’t really have time to get anxious and obsessive. I had a busy day planned on Saturday, with lots of activities to keep my mind off the run. Since I had run a hilly (and a bit disappointing) 5k last Monday, I had only completed a 2-mile run in the middle of that week. I figured that I would have given myself enough rest in time for this next 5k. I started telling myself not to worry – I didn’t know the course, or what to expect. Nothing was going to change that. I would just look at this mystery 5k not only as another race under my belt, but part of my hill work training. Surprisingly, this line of thinking worked quite well.
Sunday morning was overcast and a bit rainy, with the forecast promising to clear up before the start time at 8:30. Luke and I got into the car, joking about me driving 35 miles just so I could run 3.1. My nerves started acting up during the ride, but upon check-in I was ready to run. The temperature was actually a bit chilly, which had me excited to go. I haven’t run in less than 80 degrees in way too long. Also, the first mile or so of the course appeared to be downhill, so I would be able to up my pace with less effort. Winning!
I asked Luke to get a few before pictures, and every time he aimed the camera, it appeared that he was only going to crotch shots. I had stretching & warming up to do, so I am less than pleased. I’m ready to get this shit done!
As I made my way to the starting line, I was again annoyed that walkers were NOT instructed to line up last. The only announcement that was made was regarding anyone with strollers to line up at the end of the pack. While I appreciated that, why would they not start the walkers a minute after the runners? I lined myself up towards the front, which I felt was wrong as my pace is not pack-leading. But if I lined up towards the back, I’d be dodging walkers again and getting irritated. I tried to stick to the side of the road so that people were free to pass me. My other complaint is regarding an unattended small child who was running full-tilt for 3 seconds, then slowing randomly, and zig-zagging all over the road. He almost tripped up several runners. Way to parent! I’m sticking with cats.
I have to say that I genuinely enjoyed this race. It was cross-country: road surface, grass, limestone, dirt, gravel. The first mile was downhill, sometimes dramatically so, and my pace was much faster than I usually run. I didn’t feel like I was overexerting myself, and my heart rate monitor wasn’t too high, but I still consciously tried to slow myself down since I didn’t know what I would be coming upon. I took two short walking breaks, one about a mile and a half in, and another within the last mile, because it was pretty much straight uphill. I wanted to be able to finish fast & strong, so I saved some energy and did just that.
I felt amazing afterwards! The course was scenic, I saw parts of Schenley that I never had, and most importantly, I finished the race. I had endorphins shooting out of my ears. I would definitely run this course again – in fact, I can’t wait to try! I might have to go for a run one of these days after work, since the park is just over the hill.
Luke and I hung out at the park for awhile – there were TONS of raffle prizes and awards. Unfortunately I didn’t win anything, but it was an excellent morning. I’m so glad I let myself be spontaneous – I wouldn’t trade the experience I gained for anything.