Yesterday I relaxed all day. Slept until late afternoon (and it was awesome) and chilled the rest of the day. Danced last night after downloading songs into my new favorite app, MP3 Music Download. Went to sleep at a decent hour so that I could be rested for my big day. I woke up this morning at 6:30am and snoozed until 7am. I took a quick shower, got dressed, and headed out the door. The race was held at Lunken Playfield, which is right over by Lunken Airport. I know exactly where this is because there is a Farmers’ Market out there. Still, I put the address in my GPS (which is in my phone). I pass a street called Playfield, but I listen to Madame GPS because I have now allowed technology to make my decisions for me (read: I’ve dumbed down). I get all the way to where the Farmers’ Market is and I park my car. It’s almost 8:30 and registration opened at 8:00. Although there are about 8 cars parked around me, there are not enough cars for me to be in the right place. The email said there were 800 or so participants and only 400-500 parking spaces so to carpool. Not enough cars. So I read the directions in the email in my phone (you know, the old way to do directions) and there it is, in black and white, “Turn left on Playfield Drive.” Stupid GPS. Stupid GPS owner. I think for 10 seconds that maybe I should just walk back. Then I come to my senses. I’m about to walk a 5K; now is not the time to be thinking about how to get extra steps. It had to be a mile out of the way. That would be a 20 minute walk and even though I had time to spare? I drove my fat ass down the street.

I get to the real parking lot and it’s still fairly empty! I park as soon as I pull in so that it will be easier for me to get out at the end. I don’t mind the little walk to the shelter; I have time to spare. I tie my keys to my shoestring and walk down to the shelter. It is then that I realize I forgot my HRM watch. I don’t so much need to take my HR, but I use it to time my intervals. No biggie, I have my trusty-dusty WW pedometer, and it has stopwatch in it. I’ll use that. There is almost no line, maybe 2 or 3 people in front of me. I pre-registered, so it was fast and easy. She found my name on the list, gave me my number (89) and my t-shirt. The t-shirt is the nice moisture-wicking material! I wasn’t expecting that; I was expecting a plain, cotton t-shirt. So I walk back to my car and change my shirt then I pin my number on my shirt.

5k number
Yay! I’m official! I am registered, I have a number, and I’m about to complete my very first 5K. I’m excited! And hungry. Guess who forgot to have breakfast? Yeah, that’d be me. I can’t run on an empty stomach! But I *always* have almonds on me, so I grab a bag of 23 almonds (5PP). I tie my keys back to my shoestring (again) and decide to walk around a little bit and eat my breakfast of champions before they send us to the starting line at 9:45. At 9:30, I decide it might be a good idea to go to the bathroom first. I get that out of the way and head to the starting line which was marked by balloons.

There are SO many people. I’m trying to figure out how we are going to be able to move at a good pace with all these people. Runners were supposed to be at the front of the line, and I knew all these people weren’t planning on running. So at 9:55, one of the organizers starts to talk, but he doesn’t have a megaphone. He explains the route and tells us the official start will be at 10:05, but if people wanted to start now, they could. Almost EVERYONE started. I was so happy, because this meant there wouldn’t be an issue with moving at a good pace. One lady said they started, but they were moving so slow, they just came back to wait for the official start! I wanted to wait, not only to be able to keep a good pace, but also because I wanted the full experience. I’ve never done a real race before. I’ve done plenty of community walks and that type of thing, but never a real race with a gun start, clock, all that. While I’m waiting, I meet a couple of other WW members, one of them Lifetime. The non-lifer was planning on running the whole thing. She’s training for a half-marathon in the fall that she walked last year and wants to run this year. The Lifer has not run in 20 years, but regularly plays tennis. Twenty years ago she ran 3 miles, three times a week. She wanted to try to run it, but didn’t know if she could. So she decides to run with the non-lifer since she said she was not a fast runner and Lifer could keep up. Nice! I decide to stay as close to them as possible with my brisk walking pace.

The organizer goes to the front, raises the gun in the air, and . . . nothing. He tries again. Still, nothing. Finally he yells, “GO!” And we’re off! I start my time on the pedometer. I decide to walk briskly for 5 minutes. Right at the 5-minute mark, Moment for Life comes on. Perfect! Because I do wish that I could have this moment for life! I’m doing something I’ve never done, I’m challenging myself to beat my fastest time, and I’m doing it! It was an awesome feeling. I decided to just run until I couldn’t run anymore. The song went off! What?! I get tired and decide to stop running only to see that I ran for 4 minutes and 12 seconds! Straight! I couldn’t believe it! That was the longest interval of the day, but still, I was really happy with that! I realized that the longer I go, the more tired I get, the harder it is to keep running. The intervals dropped to 2 minutes at time. I keep looking at my pedometer and alternating with running and walking. I am trying to pace myself. I keep telling myself, Monique, if you slow down, you won’t finish in less than 45 minutes. You have to finish in less than 45 minutes. This is so much easier without a stroller! I’m tired as hell, but I’m determined to keep running, even if it’s just a little bit at a time. I need those few seconds. After about 15 minutes I realize I’ve lost site of the Lifer and non-lifer. Oh well. I’m wondering where our water stop is. I decided since they are giving us water, why carry my water bottle? Cumbersome. But I know it has to be before he halfway point, so it should be coming up soon. It was. At around 18/19 minutes, there was water. I grab my cup and keep it movin’. I know I need to reach the halfway point at no less than the 22 minute mark. I turn the cone at 21:23. I’m good! I’m going to finish in less than 45 minutes! At this pace, I should finish in 43 minutes. But I’m tired and I don’t want to run anymore. I’m seriously beat. I decide to walk as fast as possible for the rest of the race. Just keep pace. At one point, around minute 35, I pass these two women and I say, “Passing on your left!” I swear, it took me SO long to pass them! When I get next to the lady, I say, “Barely!” They laughed because it seriously took me forever to pass them! I could not walk fast enough to finish in less than 10 minutes! It was like a river of blue shirts in front of me. I couldn’t even see the baseball fields. I start to get discouraged and slow down, just for one song. Then I remember that if I slow down, I won’t finish in less than 45 minutes. And that’s when Sabby showed up. Remember Sabby? The self-SABotaging bitch? I have not heard from her in forever, and she picks today, of all days, to show up. She goes, “What difference does it make if you finish in less than 45 minutes? It’s not a competitive race. What difference does it make? Slow down, catch your breath. You finish when you finish.” I almost listened to her. She was right, after all, what difference did it make? The times wouldn’t be recorded. And regardless what time I finished with, I could always work to beat that time. But it did make a difference. It made a difference to me. I wanted to see if I could do it. Was it possible to move my legs faster than 15mph? Could I run when I didn’t think I could? Could I push myself? Harder than I’ve ever pushed myself before? Hell yeah I could! And I would! So to silence her, I started running. I ran for a minute or two, then walked for a minute or two. Whenever I would feel myself slowing down, I’d push myself to go a little faster. Just a little bit. Jog if you have to, just don’t slow down! I finally see the baseball fields! It’s around minute 38/39. I start running again. I have to make it in less than 6 minutes! I get tired and I walk a little bit. Then I can see the balloons! I start running again. I check my pedometer, then I see it: the time clock! Big numbers, 43:25 or so. I crossed the line at 43:54! I stopped my pedometer so that I could take a picture of it later. The man at the finish line called out to me to make sure I got my little blue ribbon.

blue ribbon
I didn’t even know we got a ribbon! Nice! I was SO tired! My body was hurting. I was so happy my car was less than 500ft from the starting line. I stumble to my car, bend over to untie my shoe and decide to stretch. My back was killing me! The pops it made were music to my ears! I untie my car keys, and start the car to turn on the air. I need air conditioning like nobody’s business. I tweet, upload a pic to FB, and send a text to my friends. Then I remember the snacks! They have an after race buffet at the shelter! So I let the car run so it could get nice and cold (SO worth the wasted gas) while I walk to the shelter.

When I finished the race and got back to my car, I had 10,092 steps. I had around 3,800 when I started. Not bad. I get to the shelter, get a cup of water, and I run into the Lifer and non-lifer! I ask Lifer if she kept up and she said, “Yes! I’m hooked!” The non-lifer says, “She left me!” Seriously?! Yes, the Lifer finished 2 minutes faster than the non-lifer who has been training for this! How about that?! Being fit in one area (tennis) gave her the confidence to run a 5K! That was just awesome to me! I tell them good-bye (because my car is running, hello!) and go to the table. I’m thinking there would be bananas. There are bananas (0PP), salted peanuts (5PP), 90-calorie chewy granola bars (3PP), and skim string cheese (1PP). My favorite part of this layout is that the PP values are displayed on the table in front of each snack. How awesomely thoughtful is that? I decided to have a banana and string cheese. I swiped a granola bar for later, don’t judge me!

So that was my first 5K experience.I’m so proud of myself for reaching my goal!!! Now I just have to keep working at it and keep bettering my time. I’m looking up races throughout summer and fall that I can keep on my plate to make sure I am training. For now, I’m ready for a nap!

pedometer time

at home after
The mirror is dirty, not my shirt!

This next picture I’m only adding for myself. Monique! Look at your midsection! This shirt is a Large and it is large on you! Not hugging anything! No bulges sticking out! You’ll be in a size Medium in no time! Don’t you let minor eating setbacks (read: binges) throw you off! You are on your way to a healthy weight! Keep at it! I love you, you’re doing awesome!

number at home

Last minute edit: I just ate an orange and the chewy granola bar I picked up at the race. My granola bar? The 90-calorie oatmeal raisin one? Only 2PP! It’s been so long since I’ve had one, I forgot how many PP they were. What a pleasant surprise!