I laced up my running shoes this past Saturday and ran the Runzing IV Fun Run in West Des Moines. It was my first race since I tried a 5k last November and it went pretty well. My thoughts are as follows.

  • Don’t be hurried when arriving. The morning was crummy with rain and thunderstorms moving through the area. I slammed some coconut water and a rice cake with almond butter about 45 minutes before race time. My racing partners and I then cut it just a tad close arriving for the start of the race. No time for real warm-up stretches.
  • Stick with the crowd before the start. To stay dry, the field of participants met inside city hall before the race. A couple minutes later, I was in the bathroom adjusting my race bib when–unbeknownst to me–the gun went off. I got outside quick and didn’t see a single soul. Thankfully my girlfriend came jogging back looking for me when she realized I wasn’t there.
  • Begin slow(er). I’m guilty of this one again. Compounded by the fact that I was the last person in the field, I wanted to really fly at the beginning. Who can argue with adrenaline! I sprinted away passing runner after runner. The first miles didn’t necessarily feel fast, but I checked my watch and I was at 21:30 at the mile 3 marker.
  • Pace yourself. Hitting the fork in the route which sent 10k runners off in another direction was a psychological turning point. I was immediately greeted by a slow, steady hill climb as a reward for my choice to run twice as many miles as the 5k folks. At this point, the adrenaline faded and my energy slowed. At mile 4, what started as nearly 7-minute miles had risen to 8 minutes.
  • Finish fast. Mile 5 was probably my slowest, but I’m not sure of the exact pace as there was no marker. I’m sure I ran a faster mile 6 to wrap it up, but the average pacing for the last two miles was 8:20. I tried to keep up with the runner ahead of me, but I didn’t have the legs for it and she pulled away. As the finish line neared, I spotted my crew cheering and this was a huge boost to the spirits.
  • Protect the nipples. Not a big deal for the ladies who are already wearing sports bras, but for the men on the other hand….. My slightly-loose running shirt got wet and was jostling around, and my nipples paid the price. They were tender for the next couple days. Next time? A tight-fit shirt or a combination of vasoline and band-aids.

Even though I started one minute after the gun, I finished third, ahead of the rest of the field of 10k runners except for the top male and female finishers. I’m pretty happy with my time of 46:14, considering my conservative goal was 50 minutes and I’d never pushed too hard on training runs longer than 5 miles.

I didn’t have any physical complaints after the run, either, other than feeling a wee-bit light headed for a couple minutes. My legs weren’t even sore the next day. Of course, it might have helped that after the run I went to the Iowa Craft Brew Festival (check out this link for a great recap) and sampled about a dozen fantastic local beers.

It was a fun run, literally.

I can’t wait to do another……