Tenafly 5K and Dog Walk was my very first race (not counting races I did as a kid — I mean an organized road-race). It’s a great event with over a thousand runners every year. They even have a “race expo” in the gym where local businesses can set up their tables. My kids’ pediatrician has a table, local banks, local gyms, local massage studios, pet products, etc…..lots of good stuff!
I remember when I ran this race in 2007. As it was my first race, I was so nervous and excited. I listened closely when the volunteer told me to pin on my bib number and what to do with the timing chip — these were all new things for me! When it was time to line up at the start, I had no idea how far back to be so I inserted myself somewhere into the middle of the pack. I was terrified. There were all these “hardcore” runners there who looked intimidating in their shorty-shorts and singlets and doing their stretches and warmups. Was I supposed to do that too? I was wearing black cotton shorts from Walmart and a green-trimmed white wicking top from Marshalls. Also, my mom’s old Ryka sneakers that she didn’t want anymore and some short cotton socks. Anyway, when the race started, I was so excited and just ran as hard as I can. Crossing the finish line felt like a tremendous accomplishment! My husband and kids were there to cheer me on. I had no idea about race times, pace, any of that. I finished that first 5K in 28:36 (9:12 min/mile pace) and was ecstatic. And I was hooked and couldn’t wait to race again.
After doing that race, I vowed that I would make sure to do Tenafly 5K every year as a celebration of the first time I ever raced.
As every year, I signed up for the Tenafly 5K. However, as June 2 dawned, I woke up feeling terrible. Checking all systems while lying there in bed, my head hurt, my nose was all stuffed up, my chest was congested. If I had not agreed to pick up my daughter’s friend so the 2 could goof off and walk the 5K together, I wouldn’t have gone. But I decided I’d suck it up for the kids and go anyway, especially as the girls were meeting some other friends there too.
We got there and picked up our race packets, pinned on bibs, went to the restroom, and met up with our other friends. I went to warm up but felt crappy and cut it short. I told my daughter and her friend who were walking to line up at the back and took the 2 other girls who wanted to run so we could insert ourselves about 20% back from the start line. After speeches, National Anthem, etc., the air horn went off and so did we. It took about 20 seconds to reach the starting mat and soon I lost the girls. I decided I’d just run by feel and not look at my Garmin. Plus, it was hot (about 75 degrees) and sunny, and I don’t run well in heat.
The first mile wasn’t so terrible despite the fact that I wasn’t feeling my best. Soon I spotted my daughter’s friend H as she passed me — she’s a good runner and I was happy to see her going out well (we had talked before the race and I’d given her some more pointers). I tried to keep the pace conservative. In the second mile, we started hitting the hills, and I was feeling hot and yucky. Some spectators were out cheering us on, and one older lady sprayed those who wanted it with her garden hose. I wanted it. Heading into the third mile I knew that’s where the worst hills were located. Hitting one, I contemplated walking. I don’t usually contemplate walking during a 5K but this time I was sorely tempted, thinking I’m sick, what’s the point? But I kept going because I’m stubborn like that. I recognized the final hill and knew there would be a flat stretch followed by a great downhill, another flat stretch, and a gradual downhill to the finish line. I tried to bust down the downhill as I typically do and headed into the final straightaway before the turn to the finish. A couple of women were ahead of me but I didn’t really care. Usually that would motivate me, but not today.
Those are some white legs!
I crossed the finish line in 25:52 (25:32 chip time) for 5th place in my age group. Only 7 seconds slower than I ran this race a year ago. Not bad for feeling crappy.
Splits were as follows:
Mile 1: 7:46
Mile 2: 8:11
Mile 3: 8:24 and comtemplated walking….
last 0.16: 7:38
As I crossed the finish line, I took a towel from the volunteer and headed to the fire truck to stand in the cooling spray. I stood under it for a couple of minutes, and the thought crossed my mind that my shorts might fall off or be see-through but I was too hot and miserable to care (they didn’t fall off and weren’t see-through fortunately). I met both of my daughter’s running friends — one finished in 24:20 and the other just under 30 minutes and then walked the course backward to find my daughter and her friend. I talked with a lone race volunteer for awhile and we cheered on the runners/walkers. Lots of cute kids, a couple with superhero capes, and lots of people with their dogs. Soon I saw my daughter and her friend doing cartwheels at the top of the hill. We walked the last 0.5 mile together, and both girls did a cartwheel over the finish mat. I wish I’d had my camera!
The girls had a fun time, and I like to encourage them to do active things. If that means I go to a race when I feel crappy, I’m definitely willing to make the sacrifice to promote health with young people!
My kids had soccer games later in the day, and it was so hot that the games were played in quarters instead of halves so the kids could have water breaks for safety. All of us in the family felt heat exhaustion to some degree, and we spent the remainder of the evening indoors. I went to bed at 7 pm because I felt so bad. That was the right thing to do because I was better the next day.