On Sunday I ran my first 5k since the wedding: the Grings Mill Run in Reading, PA. The race was advertised as the “prettiest race in PA”, and when I heard that it was also flat and fast I was in! Now, here’s the bad news: I hadn’t run a full 3.1 miles since the 5k Run for Clean Air in Philly back in April. And I’d only been training for this run for 3 weeks. So I was pretty nervous on the drive to the race. We arrived at 8:30 and were asked to park in a field because there were a ton of people already there. After checking in and getting my tech shirt (with no advertising!) we walked to the starting line.
There was a 5k and a 10k option, and you didn’t have to choose until the day of the race. I obviously chose the 5k! After hearing the “Ready, set, GO!” from the oldest member of the Pagoda Pacers – who was 93 years old! – the race was underway. We ran down a narrow path, across a bridge, and onto a path that wound along Tulpehocken Creek. The course was pretty, and it was mostly flat except for a few small hills. For the first mile or so, I was feeling awesome! It was pretty crowded so I had to weave around people, but eventually the crowd thinned out and I was able to get into a good pace. It was around mile 2 that I started feeling reeeally awful. My stomach hurt, and I was getting nervous about how slow I was going so that made it worse. I started passing people that were walking, and every time I thought, “I wish I could walk too”. The only thing saving me was my Garmin, which told me that I was almost done. When the bridge came back into view, I told myself that I wasn’t going to give up and I started running as fast as I could. There was a tiny steep hill leading up to the bridge, but after sprinting up that I ran as fast as I could towards the finish line at the end of the bridge. After crossing it and handing in my bib number, I grabbed some water and walked up a hill where I collapsed in a patch of shade. Andrew convinced me to walk around a bit to feel better, but I honestly have never felt that bad after a race. I had never run that slow during a race, and I couldn’t figure out why I had decided to run this race with such a short training time. I guess I thought that I could just jump back into running after taking a break for so long, but I definitely should have waited until I was back in shape! After moping around (and trying not to puke) for a few minutes, we headed back over to the finish line. They had a band playing live music, and the post race food selection included pizza, pork sandwiches, and ice cream! I love race food that doesn’t just limit itself to bagels and bananas! Overall the race was very well done and I loved the post race celebration. And who doesn’t like finishing a race to a view like this?
And I found out that I finished before 1/3 of the participants! I wasn’t even close to last place which makes me feel better about the race. But next time, I think I’ll train better 🙂