Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Theresa’s Race Report: The 5K Wicked Halloween Run, Plymouth, MI

I have a treat for you today.  A few weeks ago, my sister Theresa ran her first 5K race, and she graciously agreed to write a race report for Feels Like Flying.  I’m honored and delighted to share her story of race day with you, and I’m oh so proud of her for becoming a self-made athlete.  So without further ado, here is Theresa’s story, in her own words.

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It had been on the calendar for almost three months and it would finally be here the next morning.  It was my first organized race—the 5K Wicked Halloween Run in Plymouth, Michigan!  In the weeks leading up to my race, I had been trying to catch up on sleep.  To do that, I had been making my way to bed at 9 PM every night.  Was I laying down at 9?  No, but I was folding that last load of laundry or sending that last email or Facebook message and then the bedtime routine.  Usually, I was in bed by 10 PM.  The night before my race was no different.  I’m pretty proud of myself for that, but I did notice that I wasn’t sleepy tired.  I was really excited about my race the next morning.

The morning of the race was very cold.  I woke up before 6 AM on my own but turned on the TV and snuggled in my bed for a while longer.  While listening to the news, I heard that it was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit outside.  That sounded cold and then I heard there was a wind-chill making it about 30 degrees.  Brrr!  Thankfully, I had impulse-bought a wool blend base layer bottom (I think of them like tights) the day before and had washed them with my new race shirt so they were dry and ready to be worn.  I bundled up and made my way downstairs to start a good breakfast.

Normally, I have a cup of yogurt and head out the door for my run around the neighborhood.  With my wave of the race starting at 9:05, I figured I would need to eat something more substantial if my boyfriend Scott* and I were leaving the house at about 8 AM.  Scott has been very supportive of all of my running efforts, and this morning was no different.  He came to my condo with enough time to drag me out of bed, if necessary.  I knew I was excited because I was awake, dressed, and making scrambled eggs before he arrived.   Scrambled eggs with cottage cheese and a side of strawberries was the perfect race morning breakfast.

After breakfast, we left for the race in Plymouth.  I live just north of Plymouth, but we thought parking might be a challenge so more time would be better than less time and certainly less stressful.  I could tell in the car that I was getting nervous but I was not completely sure why.  In hindsight, I think it was due to the extreme swing in temperatures over the past week combined with my anxiety of not knowing exactly what to expect during the race.  Scott and I had walked the path the week before, which was extremely helpful.  I want to make that one of my habits for racing going forward.  Anyway, after lots of driving around, and seeing the 10K runners in action through the streets, we finally found a parking spot and were ready to check out the scene.

I already had my bib number and cool shirt because Scott and I picked it up on Saturday during our errands.  As part of the race swag, I also got a Kona running hat and a bumper sticker.  I recommend doing the pre-race day pickup of goodies as it was pretty chaotic in the park where the start and finish lines were on race day.  It was nice to see so many people at the event, but it was stressful and the announcements were not always loud enough to hear or clear enough to understand.  I tried my best to understand and paid attention to the time so that I would be ready to run when my wave of the race was being queued up.

Theresa with Scarecrow Oct 2012

{It was cold, but not too cold for pictures with girly scarecrows.}

I had signed up for the second wave of the 5K run.  The first wave was meant for those runners who ran 10-minute miles or faster.  I had been running between 11- and 12-minute miles (which I’m super proud of) so I signed up for the wave that fit my current times best.  The race time was approaching so I went to the starting line.  It was very crowded and hard to have any personal space.  I wondered how this was going to work for everyone to get a running start, but it turned out okay.  I tried to look out for other runners and hopefully they were looking out for me.

The run was cool at first but as I started to warm up, I felt really good.  I have only ever run with another person once before (my sister** just a few weeks ago) so it was a very different experience running with so many others.  I also felt like I was going really fast when I passed the runners and the walkers.  Apparently, I was running really fast! This was my fastest 5K in the history of my running so far—coming in at 34:08 and 11:01 per mile average.  I felt ecstatic!! My goals were always to finish the race and finish the race running.  When I knew that was going to happen, I hoped that my current pace would bring me across the finish line at less than 35 minutes.  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!

Theresa's Finish Oct 2012

{A photo finish!}

With the conclusion of this race, I’m more excited than ever to keep running.  I bought more cold weather running gear right after the race and am already looking forward to my next run.  Also on the horizon is WHICH race should be my next one?  Should it be another 5K or a 10K?  So many choices!

Theresa and Scott Oct 2012{Can you find Waldo in this photo of Theresa and Scott?}

* Scott’s other alias is Muffin Man, which he comes by honestly with his primo muffin-baking skills.

** That would be me, Rosiecat.

Care to share your thoughts on Theresa’s next race?  When you first started running, did you run a lot of short races first, or did you quickly set your sights on something longer, like a ten-miler or a half-marathon?


  1. Congratulations Theresa! Nice job of running a solid race and smashing your time goal. I might think about running another 5K or two before moving up in distance to a 10K.

    1. Thanks for weighing in here, R! I do think there's some sort of invisible leap between running 30-40 minutes and running for 60+ minutes, which means that if you've never done it, a 10K is a LONG RUN. A worthy goal, to be sure, but a big leap from the 5K distance.

      Come to think of it, perhaps the same is true when going from the half-marathon distance to a full. That's next year's challenge, and hopefully I'll get to run that race with you!

  2. Yay! We finished the race report. How exciting! :)

    Thanks, Raquelita! I'm weighing my options still. I might concentrate on running a faster 5k. The cold Michigan weather might be motivation to get the miles done and back home faster (haha :) )

    I've been able to do four miles and still feel pretty good in the cold. We'll see what develops. I am very interested in doing all three of this particular company's events in 2013 (March, June, and October) whether they are 5K or 10Ks!!