I did it! I completed my first 5K without dying of nervousness!
In fact, not only did nothing bad happen, I did super well (I think). I came in 7th out of the women and 25th overall (there were 60ish people there) with a time of 26:23. I thought I might place when I realized they were giving out prizes to the top ten finishers in each gender, and I was really glad with my time – my goal had been to finish in about 28 minutes (which the 9th and 10th ladies did, so I still would have placed). My prizes were a gift certificate to a local restaurant and a coupon for a free loaf of bread at some fancy bread store. I also won a GIGANTIC t-shirt when they raffled them off after the race.
Ok, so a little more about the race. I had heard a lot of advice about what to do for your first 5K. One of these things was to either pick up your race packet the night before or come super duper early to pick it up in the morning. So I went in during the time listed the night before. No one was there. I was already nervous so this made me more nervous. Also, I was angry because I wasted a lot of time roaming around campus (I went to the location multiple times). So I decided to just show up when the registration table opened in the morning.
I guess what I didn’t anticipate was that because this was a pretty small, new race they didn’t actually have packets. When I showed up they seemed confused that I came early at all because I had pre-registered (though the one girl said she was always that early for races). They were probably really new to this whole thing, too, though – they almost forgot that I needed a bib! I even only came an hour early rather than an hour and a half because when I drove past an hour and a half before they were still like setting up! I was again slightly annoyed because I woke up super early to do this and it was freezing!
Speaking of freezing, I really underestimated how cold it would be. It was supposed to be in the 50s today (which it eventually was) but I thought it would be more like high 30s/low40s at race time. But it was in the high 20s. Ouch. I was really underdressed in a long-sleeved tee and shorts. Others were as well, though, and even those who were properly clothed were hanging out inside because they were freezing so I felt a little better.
Waiting for the race, I ran into another person doing her first 5K. She had been planning on walking but then showed up and found out most people were running and was nervous she wouldn’t be able to do it. I reminded her that even fast, prepared people run then walk sometimes. At the end I found her and she had ran the whole thing. She didn’t run it very quickly, but it was faster than I was the first time I tried running 3.1 miles at home, and I informed her of this! I also felt really encouraged as someone who passed me during the last mile came up and told me that I did a really great job! So there was encouragement all around. There was nothing to be nervous about.
They also had some pretty yummy food – bagels and donuts (and fruit, but I already had similar fruits at home and was tempted by the delicious carbs). I probably ate a big more than I should have, but I think I’ll live. Next time I do a race they hopefully have slightly healthier choices, though – I knew bagels could be caloric, but this one had nearly 400 calories! WTF.
Also, on a random, wtf, note: someone stole my hamper. Who steals a hamper?!?! And I’ll have you know that they didn’t steal my Sam’s Club sized laundry detergent. They were not a very strategic criminal.