Today was my first ever road race. It was the Great Pumpkin Run 5k, held by Lockheed Martin to benefit the Burlington County Food Pantry. The route was a lap through the pretty big parking lot, then out onto the road for about a kilometer and back, then the same route through the parking lot in reverse.
I woke up this morning very excited and nervous at the same time. Rain was in the forecast and it looked that way when I peeked outside. I do not mind running in the rain, but I did not want a cold downpour. Turns out it was very nice temperature wise and the rain held off for most of the race. Only a drizzle at times.
I ran with my brother. It was also his first race, but he has been running a little longer than me and training pretty hard for the Philadelphia Marathon.
We arrived at the race an hour before start so that we would have enough time to get our stuff and warm up. Not a problem because the area was pretty deserted. There were actually more volunteers than runners, but within the next half hour the place was filling up. It looked like a couple hundred runners. We saw a bib 150 so there were at least that many.
We stood around checking out the other runners. My brother was confident that he would finish middle of the pack at least, but everyone looked much faster than me. I was nervous, but at the same time calm. We all walked over to the starting line and I made sure I was near the back. My brother lined up with me, but when the starting horn went off he was easily passing most of the field.
I started good, but a couple minutes into the run there was some panic switch that clicked in the back of my head. I was worried that I couldn't do it, and that I would be dead last. For some reason my throat started tightening up and I felt like I could not breath. I gave it up to God. I asked him to make me strong and confident and give me a safe run. Seconds after that I was fine.
I was feeling good and loving running with such a large group of people. There were people behind me, but a lot more were in front of me. I got to the mile marker and looked at my watch. Yikes! 10:45... I wanted to start the run at an 11:30 pace. I think it was the atmosphere and the excitement of running in a crowd that had me going faster than I wanted.
A little way into mile two we hit a large hill. It was about a kilometer long and pretty steep. I decided to take a walk break and did not feel too bad when I saw some others doing the same. As I reached the top of the hill and got closer to the turn around I saw my brother going the other way. "That hill was a killer." I yelled out as we passed each other.
On my way back to the parking lot I took another walk break. This time a lady and her daughter passed me (I had passed them earlier) and the lady said, "come on, it is all down hill now." What could I do but start running again. I ran with them for a little while. It was her daughters first ever run and she was dying. They eventually had to take a walk break, and I went on.
When I made the final turn I saw the finish. It was awesome running toward the finish line and seeing the clock get closer and closer to me. I was by myself when I crossed and it was an awesome feeling. I was able to kick hard at the finish and it was so cool running toward the funnel of cones leading to the finish.
This was an incredible run, and I feel great. My watch read 34:40. A PR of course, and almost a full minute faster than the last time I ran 3.1! I am hoping that they post the official results on the website so I can see what I did compared to everyone else. I also hope there is pictures, because I saw a lady snapping some at the start and I had a good position for a nice photo!
Official Results posted today. I finished with a clock time of 34:49, and placed 139 out of an overall 152. Not bad for my first time!
18 hours ago