Monday, April 23, 2012

Like a virgin

We all remember our first times. Mine was in May 2008.

It was the Warbird 5K, and I ran it in just over 42 minutes. I'll never forget the feeling of crossing the finish line knowing that I didn't walk one step - even if my pace began with a 13.

And I'll never forget how grateful I felt toward Mark, who stuck with me the entire way and never once complained that we were going too slow.

I've always felt like I owed him for that and, on Sunday, I got to pay it forward.

My friend Heather is one of those people who were born to be a mom. She's kind, caring, patient and loves babies. Good thing, too - she is mom to a 9-year-old daughter and 16-month-old twins. Her daily life makes me want to take a nap and yet she somehow finds the time to run.

As part of her Weight Watchers effort (she's lost 35 pounds!), she started Couch to 5K, running on the treadmill while the twins nap. We've texted back and forth about training, shoes, apparel but nothing got me more excited than when she asked about races. Not only was she working up to the distance - she was working up to the event!

Wait. Scratch that. Nothing got me more excited than when she asked me to race with her.

Among other things :)

The Wallaby Waddle 5K was organized to raise money for a youth basketball team that is going to Australia this summer, and it took place on my home turf - the park where I log most of my miles.

We got there in plenty of time to pick up our packets, go to the bathroom, meet up with L, got to the bathroom and meet up with the race VIPs.

I wiped Miles' tears (he was upset that he had to hang out in his crib while Dad brushed his teeth) and headed to the starting line.

This race was on the small side, less than 200 participants, so it was kind of a haphazard but easy start. There was a horn and you ran.

Heather has been running at 4.9 on the treadmill, with the occasional outdoor run, so my goal was to maintain (hopefully) a pace as close to 12 minutes as possible - in the beginning at least. I wanted her to feel comfortable yet strong.

We headed up the park and around the golf course but I only know this because I am so familiar with the park. Otherwise, I'd have to tell you about our conversation because the event was just to race but to have 30 minutes of uninterrupted girl talk. Before we knew it, we hit the first mile - 11:31.

After the first mile, we headed down the trail for an out and back. We passed an aid station but both of us decided that we didn't need water. Or want water. Even with the temperature in the 50s, it was a blustery April day with very little sun and lots of wind.

The wind was worse when we hit the turnaround. It smacked you in the face and with a small field divided among two distances, there was no option to draft. You just sucked it up and went.

And waved to your friends who were doing the 10K, giving you a much needed boost. (Side note: L PR'd the 10K by 3 minutes!)

Despite the headwind, we managed to hit mile 2 in 11:26 ... 5 seconds faster than mile 1. And mile 3? Well, we hit that in 10:39. My girl ...

... she negative split her first 5K! (We finished the last tenth at an 8:22 pace. I figured if she could still chat that she had enough in the tank to sprint it out!)

Overall time: 34:47, average pace 11:04. Pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

After crossing the line, I grabbed her a water, banana and yogurt. Wallaby Organic yogurt - so perfect I could almost die. We munched and chatted but didn't spend much time hanging out. There was a grill out and faux-tato salad to be had. 

What was your first race like?


  1. Oh that's awesome, congrats to both of you!

    I just realized I went from a turkey trot in college (my first race) to a marathon 5 years later (my second race) - both with terrible times, but I finished!

  2. Awesome job and congrats to both!! Erica

  3. My first race was a 1/2 marathon and I finished it in 2:45. I ran it non-stop so I was super proud of myself. Just did a 4.6 mile mud run with my friend (her first race) and we finished in 1 hr. I had to slow down, stop a few times and go back to help coach her on so my time was not good but it was more about having fun and helping her achieve her goal of running her first race. :)

  4. ahhh so so awesome! Love hearing about your first race and you pacing your friend through her first one. Such a great feeling. My first one I walked a ton and didn't take it seriously, but had a blast nonetheless!

  5. My first 5k was last October, a Monster Dash. I walked most of it and came in at 44:14. My next 5k (Athleta Irongirl, Columbia, MD) I fully intend to run the whole thing, even if I am nervous about how hilly it is. I've been running both outside on a cement path, and on the treadmill, and I'm at about 39 minutes. Still slow, but I am pretty sure I can do it!

  6. My first 5k (where I'll be running) is next Saturday, May 5th. I am super excited and nervous all at the same time. My goal is to finish under 45 minutes. I heard your first race should be a big one (with many people) just so that you're sure not to be the last one. Unfortunately, my race is small (about 200/300 people) so chances are pretty great I'll be at the end of the pack. Turtle powers activate! :)

  7. Congrats Heather! My first race was a 5k. Josh ran it with me and kept me running when I wanted to walk. I finished in just over a half hour and felt like I was going to vomit but I was so proud of myself.

  8. My first race was a 5 K I ran with my husband and the other Marines in his squadron. It was to benefit a local child with cancer. It was so much fun! I don't even remember my time so that just goes to show racing can be about things other than just time!