Monday, July 31, 2006


I went to my first 5K race over the weekend. No, I did not run in the event. I was just in the cheering section. It was a night race, which I guess is an even more special event.

I never did track or cross country in school. So, this was an entirely new experience for me. It was at our high school football stadium. The place was full of energy. There was a DJ over where the band usually sits. This was where the prizes were to be given out later.

As I got to see the track, I saw a bunch of people walking and running on the track. I was thinking to myself, "Aren't these people going to get tired, especially on a humid night like this?" Maybe Runner Girl and others can give me insight on this.

"Hey Doc! Why aren't you running in the race?", many people asked me. I made up something like it was because of my old knee injury from chess club back in high school. *grin*

This is an entirely different topic, but I know I'm out of shape. And, I do admit, that I'm just as bad as some of my patients in that I make excuses for not working out. I know what you're going to say, "Practice what you preach." Thanks for calling me out on that one. Back to the story...

I always wondered who decides who is in the front of the starting pack. The starter lined up the runners by "speed," meaning those who have run faster times in front and those with slower times in back. I guess this makes sense, because you don't want people running over other people just at the start.

The race started, and then the waiting began. The entire group did a lap in the stadium, and then they ran the streets of the town, including in the park. The excitement grew minute after minute waiting for the first runner to arrive.

And then, the stadium erupted with cheering as the first people arrived. For the next 30 minutes you would hear occasional cheers as loved ones spotted friends/family as they entered the stadium for their final lap.

Overall, a fascinating experience. I thought people would be negatively competitive in asking what times you had and saying how they were better. It was very supportive. People told me it's not a race against other people as much as it is a race against yourself and the clock. Who knows? Maybe I'll pick up this running thing myself?

BTW, kudos to Cathy who survived her blogathon weekend and exceeded her goal of fundraising. Congratulations! Hope you got some well deserved rest.


Dreaming again said...

5K's are fun ... I ran them in my early 20's. Always a fun atmosphere.

Exercise is fun ... it really is. Like Nike says ... just do it!

Lea said...

5K's are like a big group hug. Everyone is friendly and supportive of each other. This is the distance that one begins his/her running career, so you will observe nervousness and excitement in a person. Finishing a 5k for a beginner is an amazing feat.

The socializing after the race over snacks and Gatorade is so much fun! You can overhear everyone summarizing their run - discussing the hardest stretch of the run, deciding where the next race will be and how you will train differently for the next one.

Now, to answer Doc A's inquiry about the pre-race running/walking. The first two miles of a run are the worst. Your breathing is labored and your whole body is trying to adjust to what you are doing. Warming up before a race gets your mind and muscles ready for the start. A pre-race warm up also evens out your adrenaline and eliminates butterflies. There is nothing worse than getting to the starting line and waiting.

Speaking of the starting line. On 5k races, you are able to place yourself where you want to be. Of course the more competitive and fast runners will get as close to the front as possible.

Large events have corrals with "wave" starts. When you register for a race, you estimate your finish time and are placed within groups. The fast runners begin first and about every minute or two, each subsequent group is started. This cuts down on the traffic jam effect in the first few miles.

Doc, I would definitely recommend a 5k for you. The training and race day will be something you will never forget!

Anonymous said...

Exercise? *blink*

Seriously, I must lead a sheltered life, because I'd never heard of "5K's" before. But then again, I'm am so not sports-savvy that it's embarrassing.

Actually, just reading Lea's comment exhausted me! *LOL*

I am a very sedentary Moof ... ;o)

The Domesticator said...

I *ahem* don't enjoy running as a form of exercise...I look at it as a form of torture! Although, I must admit, it must be cool to be a runner, especially in a 5k race.

Mother Jones RN said...

I've never been a runner, unless you count all the times I ran after my children at the mall. Toddlers are quick and nimble. Sounds like you had a great weekend.

Mother Jones RN

the granola said...

I did my first 5K this May and it was exhilerating. I loved it. I started out my exercising by walking a little less than a year and a half ago. I started walking faster and faster until I came to a point where it would actually be easier to run. I didn't jump into running that much at first. I started out at a mile per session, then added half a mile each week. This makes it easier on those knees.

My knees, especially the right one, had always been susceptible to twisting just a little out, or even a complete dislocation. Since I started the exercise, they are more stable than they have been since I was a teen.

GaffLady said...

love, love, love to run and to do so in races. you get goodie bags, tshirts, crowds cheering, water man handing you dixie cups. group hugs at the end, food, like lea said the socializing afterwards is primo bonding. great way to start a day.

Dreaming again said...

Oh geez I'd love to run a 5k again. I won't, can't ... my docs would have a heart attack. My PT would stroke ... (PT won't even let me on the treadmill or recumbant bike or eliptical trainer)

My dream was to run a marathon before I was 30 ...

I guess, I should just be glad to be in the gym again at this point huh?

Cathy said...

Dr. A., Thank you for the link....As for running 5K, I'm with Moof. I've never even comtemplated it. If you start doing that you won't have any time to blog, then what will we do?

Dream Mom said...

I used to run 10k's but never ran a 5k. That was years ago though when I used to run a couple of miles a day (usually 3-5). I remember my first 10k (6.2 miles) distincly. It was an area that was "all" hills. After that, I checked into the terrain a bit more. LOL!

Soon thereafter, I decided I wanted to run a marathon (this was over 20 years ago). I began increasing my runs with my longest run on a Sunday. I had heard if you could run 13 miles straight you could finish a marathon. One Sunday I ran 15 miles which meant I had been running for 2 hours. I decided it was really boring; I also decided that I didn't particularly find marathon runners bodies attractive (hip bones sticking out and no breasts) so I quit training for a marathon and went back to my normal running of 3 miles a day and 6 on Sunday.

I also used to run six miles every Thanksgiving Day. I figured six miles was long enough that it was aversive and would make me watch my eating for the day. It worked.

I don't run much anymore due to a few knee surgeries. I need to run though. LOL!

Anonymous said...

My daughter runs cross-country and it's the same way. Even though her team is very cohesive and supportive, when she runs she is really competing with herself.

If she happens to pass a few runners out there, all the better.

And parents of all the schools are at the finish line when the first runners come through yelling encouragement.

And those who lag? Who come in ten minutes after the last person? They get all the more cheers for finishing the race.

It's a cool sport.

And, no I don't run. Tried to do an old cheerleader cartwheel and realized that 33 years and fifty pounds later, it isn't the same.