I understand that I have been slacking at keeping this blog updated, but I’m really hoping to start writing and posting on a more regular basis. I’m currently attempting to do lots of writing for my grad school applications, so the blog has been a lower priority. However, I thought all my readers deserved an update.
So, if you’ll remember, I ran my first 5 MILE race about a month ago now. It was the Wine at the Line race, located just south of Indianapolis, starting at the Mallow Run Winery. With my training leading up to the race I had been doing 5 miles in somewhere around 51 or 52 minutes on a fairly level rail to trail in Zionsville. However, I wasn’t really prepared for the undulating course in the country. I lined up with more than 700 other runners (not counting the more than 1100 runners who did the shorter 5k event) to complete my longest race yet.
Despite having had some pretty terrible allergies in the weeks leading up to the race and having to drown my misery with allergy medicine that may not have been non-drowsy, I was energized for the race. I was terrified that I would finish dead last, but also totally amped to be challenging myself with a longer race. I lined myself up midway between the “10 mile” and “11 mile” pace signs and was ready when the runners started slowly filing through the chip-timing gate and onto the actual raceway. The run started with a straightway, and then veered to the left. The first half mile was somewhat unmemorable. I tried to keep pace with the people who I’d lined up near, passing a few people along the way. The road wasn’t that wide and there was constantly someone yelling to “stay to the right!” It was crowded, but as the quick runners got further ahead, the course became a little less crowded.
I felt good for that first mile, but then the giant amoeba of people turned the corner and the first hill appeared. Crap. I hadn’t trained for hills. I had imagined the 5 mile course might have a few, but hadn’t been overly concerned. I could handle a few hills. What I couldn’t handle, was the sudden onslaught of hill after hill that ensued for the next 2.5 miles. Just when my breathing had slowed back from the hurried after-hill sucking of air, another hill would pop out in front of me. I tried to save energy by walking up some of the hills and then running back down the other side. At one point, I tried to stop about halfway up a mound, but the lady who’d been running beside me motioned back at me, silently saying, “come on, you can do this!” and I ended up running up to the top of the hill. However, I had to stop for a little breather once I reached the peak.
For most of those 2.5 miles I kept saying to myself, “surely there can’t be any more hills,” but I was sadly mistaken. Finally, around the 3 mile marker, the path began to level out, and there were only a few small inclines to battle. However, just when I was getting comfortable with my stride on somewhat even ground , the two courses (the 5k and 5 mile) met and joined together, and the road was suddenly clogged with slow joggers and enthusiastic walkers, who didn’t seem to understand that it was difficult for runners to get around a group of 4 people walking shoulder to shoulder. The last mile and a half of the race was spent searching for openings and attempting to zigzag around slow-moving wine-drinkers. When I finally reached the end of the race I felt like death was coming for me. I could barely breathe after 5 miles of inconsistent running. I run my best when I can keep an even pace, and it was near impossible on this crowded course. The clock when I came in said somewhere around 55 minutes, so I wasn’t really sure of my chip time. When I went to the postings to find my time, they didn’t have all the results listed, so I left not knowing what my official time had been. I kept checking the website for the official results and finally was able to find my time today. I ran 5 miles in 53:42, so it was about a 10:42 pace per mile. This definitely wasn’t my best time, but considering all the obstacles in this race, I am content with that time. I’ll aim higher for my next race, but I’m really happy that I came out of my first 5 mile race unscathed! And, I also conned my fiancé into buying us several bottles of delicious wine. Bonus!