Rebecca | November 6th, 2011 | feature, health, inspiration, life list, outdoor adventures | 1 Comment »
On October 8, 2011, I checked a significant goal off my life list. I ran in the UWM Panther Prowl, a 5k race to raise money for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Alumni Association.
It was significant not because of the distance (nothing to serious runners, I know), but because I had to prepare mentally and physically for months ahead of time. I’m learning that many of the goals on my Life List depend on money or opportunity or time, and some require serious groundwork. I have walked in the PantherProwl several times, but this was my first time running in it—in any race, for that matter.
Waiting to start…
It was also Robbie’s first official 5k, so he and I waited together in the 8-minute mile section knowing that he would probably join the 7-minute group and I would end up in the 9-minute group. After much anticipation, we were off. Running with a large group of people, with everyone packed in close at the start of the race, is exhilarating. I felt light on my feet, swept up in this human wave making its way down the street. Quickly, though, I felt people pass me on both sides. Am I still running? I thought. Uh…am I being pulled backward? Nope, I was just hitting a realistic pace, and those behind and around me were finding theirs.
Source: UWM Alumni Association (arrows added by me)
The route was relatively flat and started with a very gradual downhill mile, but that meant we would eventually loop around to return on the same road, and nearly the entire second half would be slightly uphill. At the halfway point, I was struggling. I walked for about 10 feet while I chugged a cup of water at the water station, and then started again…and didn’t stop running until I crossed the finish line.
Pretending to stretch but really just collapsed at the finish line
My goal was to finish it in under 30 minutes, and I was about 50 feet from the finish line when I saw the clock: 29:55. I picked up the pace, but realized immediately that I couldn’t cover that distance in 5 seconds (if only!). My official time was 30 minutes and 6 seconds. My stop at the water stand cost me a few seconds, but the water is what got me through the second half of the race, so I can’t be too disappointed.
I’m so proud of Robbie; he surprised us both by completing the race in 22 minutes and 15 seconds. Not bad for a first time!
Running has been an interesting learning experience for me. I’ve become much more in tune with my body, especially in terms of knowing when I need to eat, exercise, and rest. I know that if the race had been held in the afternoon, I probably would have had a better time—I run better later in the day, when I’m warmed up and have enough food and water in my system to keep me energized. If I do another 5k in the morning, I will get up earlier, go for a walk, and have a larger breakfast. More than anything, though, running has helped me realize how much physical movement affects my mood and energy throughout the day. I think I’ll stick with it for a while.
We did it!