i picked up my race packet on thursday night (just a t-shirt and bib; most of the goodies were at the actual event), which got me pretty pumped for the race itself. unfortunately, when i woke up on friday, i wasn't feeling well at all. whatever i ate on thursday was rearing its head in an ugly fashion, and i was left with a pretty severe case of food poisoning. i used all of friday to try to make myself feel better and get well before saturday's race.
i woke up at 7:00am on saturday, feeling just as bad, if not worse, than friday. i was super dehydrated and my stomach was feeling just awful. to make matters worse, it was much colder than i was anticipating, and i was pretty upset about it all. i mean, can you imagine a worse start to your first race: gi issues, dehydration, and awful weather? but i was determined to do this race, so when my boyfriend asked "are we 5king today?" i answered yes.
we made it down to soldier field about a half hour before the race started, and though i was miserable, it was fun to be surrounded by all the people in their st. patrick's day getups. they were having fun drinking their green beers and eating lucky charms (two perks of the race that i decided not to partake in, given my stomach problems), while i tried to figure out the best placement for my bib and set up my iphone and garmin.
i finally headed over to the start corral, and lined up somewhere behind the middle of the group. i had initially set my goal time at 35 minutes, but with all the ickiness of the day, i decided my goal was just to finish and do my best, and i figured this placement would allow me to keep a slower pace if i needed to. what i didn't account for, though, was the amount of people who wanted to walk the whole race; i found myself using the first few minutes of the race trying to weave around a bunch of walkers and some people with strollers. i was kinda miffed; if i was planning on walking an entire race, i would start at the back, not toward the front, just as a courtesy to runners. but oh well.
i finally got in a good pace when all of a sudden i saw everyone in front of me stop. turns out, the race directors hadn't cleared the path very well, so everyone was trying to avoid a huge chunk of ice that was right in the middle of the lane. at this point i had about had it, but i laughed it off and kept going.
after successfully avoiding the ice, the race went rather smoothly, actually. i was able to keep running and enjoy the view of chicago from the lakeshore trail. my pace wasn't as fast as i wanted, but i was happy that i wasn't stopping to walk at all. by the time i looped back around, the ice had pretty much cleared, too, so i was able to have the strong finish i wanted. as soon as i hit the three mile marker, i started running as hard as i could, and was soon in view of the finish line and my awesome boyfriend* waiting there for me. i crossed the finish line with a time of 36:44.4. i got my finisher's medal, a bottle of water, and declined a clif bar as my stomach was still feeling iffy. after a few quick pictures, i decided i wanted to go home rather than stay for the after party, and so we did that.
you can tell how much the weaving and ice affected that first mile.
oh shiny medal, how i love you.
so what did i think of my first race? i'm satisfied with my time, given all the issues of the morning. i would never wish food poisoning on race day on anybody, but i'm glad i still did it. i'm also really stoked to have a medal for my first race, since 5k races don't usually have them; it's a nice keepsake. the green beer 5k had a lot of nice perks, but hopefully next year they clear the ice a bit better and encourage walkers to line up toward the back. overall, it was a lot of fun!
what was your first race like? did you run any races this weekend?
*shoutout to my boyfriend, alex, who waited in the freezing cold for me to finish, held my purse and puffy coat while i ran, took me out to a "victory" brunch, and was my source of positivity the whole time before when i felt awful and he kept telling me i could do it. i promise i'll never make you sit through a march race in chicago, again!