Florida Striders Memorial Day 5K – race recap {5.27.2013}


That’s really all I can say.

Mr PugRunner and I joined our friends, K from A Mom on the Run and her husband, for the Florida Striders Memorial Day 5K in Orange Park. I picked it because of the timing (a few weeks after Mr PugRunner and I graduated from Couch 2 5K and at the end of May so not too horribly hot), the locality (a lovely, shaded neighborhood), and the fact that all finishers receive a medal (I’m picky that way).

It also helped that there was a free, one mile fun run after the 5K, in which little man and K’s kids could participate. A little something for everyone.

There’s always a method to my madness.

On Sunday, I took it easy. I did end up doing an easy mile run out from the house (with a mile walk back), just to keep my legs loose. Mr PugRunner opted not to go out because he had spent Saturday walking around Disney with the little one (according to his pedometer, he clocked about five miles in the Magic Kingdom). We all took a nice nap in the afternoon and then headed out to a local Italian restaurant to carb-load with our running buddies.

This is the first time I have prepared for a race day, so I asked for some dinner and breakfast suggestions on Facebook, and tried to make the best choices. The overwhelming majority supported a pasta dinner with some sort of protein, sick amounts of water, and some kind of bread with peanut butter pre-run. Sounded pretty good to me.

For dinner, I had a small salad with a lunch portion of angel hair, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, grilled chicken and white wine sauce.

 I had a little bit of ice cream for dessert (because a day without ice cream is like a day without sunshine), and tried, desperately, to go to bed. Unfortunately, I got hooked on Behind the Candelabra, the Liberace movie on HBO featuring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, and it was close to midnight when I fell asleep.

We were up around five. We had to shower, dress, take care of the dogs, get little man going, and hit the road by 6. When we picked up our race packets at 1st Place Sports on Saturday, they told us they were expecting about 1,200 racers, so arrive early to get parking. As soon as we secured our spot, picked up our chips, and submitted our waivers for the fun run, the lot was full, so I am glad we took the advice.

My very first race chip.

And then we waited. The gun was set to go off at 8:00, so we wandered around, ran into some friends and chatted a bit.

K from A Mom on the Run, me and D from The Food Bitch Blog – ready to run.

Before too long, it was time to line up. We left little man with his friends and their grandparents, and found a comfortable position towards the middle of the pack. My heart was pounding in my throat. The National Anthem was sung, The Eye of the Tiger blared through the speakers, and the gun sounded.

We were off.

When I crossed the start line, I was going pretty fast. I had to check my pace a few times along the course. Which, I would like to point out, was beautiful. We would through the most beautiful, shaded neighborhoods, and the course was lined with police and volunteers who pointed the way, waved, high-fived, and called out words of encouragement. There were three or four water stations along the way, as well. Absolutely wonderful.

The one thing I was not expecting was the hills. Ugh, the hills. There were several, not necessarily huge, but big enough for me. I conquered the first few, but the last two I had to walk. My knee just wouldn’t accept running up anymore. It didn’t mess with my speed, and it gave me just enough of a break to finish (mostly) strong.

An odd thing I noticed while I was running was that I just wanted to photograph so many things. Normally, I’m the one behind the camera, snapping away, but this time, I just didn’t have the luxury. I wish I was able to capture the start line, the finish line, the crumpled cups along the sides of the road, the crowd ahead of me, our friends cheering us on by the finish line… all those amazing details. It was kind of a bizarre adjustment for me, but it took my mind off running a little.

Finally, after following the unfamiliar course for just under a half hour, I saw some runners walking against the crowd, with medals around their necks. I knew the end was near. I decided to grab a cup from the last water stop for a quick sip to get me through the last .3 miles.

I turned the corner and I could see the finish line. And I was fine. Emotional, but fine. I think I started welling up with tears a little, just because I couldn’t believe that this was it. I was doing it and loving it.

Then it happened.

A  man was walking past us. He had finished the race and was returning to his car or home. He meant well. I know he meant well. Maybe he saw that I was crying. Maybe he saw that I was making one of those awful faces I make when I’m focussed. He looked right at me and said something like “You’ve got this. The finish line is right there. It’s just a straight sprint and you’ve got it.” And it was 100% awesome and encouraging and supportive, and a normal person would have veered over and high-fived him for being so great.

But it was too much. I was too overwhelmed. Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe. I really think I started hyperventilating, because I just couldn’t get air. It was awful, but I kept running. I picked up my pace and just kept going, because the sooner I crossed that finish line, the sooner I could just sit down and cry or put my head between my legs or whatever would make this awful feeling stop.

I saw K and her family, with little man sitting high on her husband’s shoulders, waving and calling to me. It was so surreal. I crossed that finish line. I slowed down. And then I managed to duck right beneath the photographer’s elevated tripod and vomit right by the barricade.

It was probably one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. I just stood there, hunched over and holding on to the fence, apologizing to the people who I could have hit if I hadn’t been careful, until K came running over with water and then wipes so I could clean up. I was able to compose myself after a minute, let the volunteer collect my chip, accept my medal and get to my friends. Little man was really upset, but I promised him I was ok and that I was just too excited.

And then we were able to cheer for Mr PugRunner, who was just a few minutes behind me (he experienced his own difficulties when an unleashed dog decided he looked tasty and ran out to mess with him).

We did it!

So proud of my husband! His dedication has been such an inspiration.

I am so grateful for K. I am lucky to have her as a friend and support system.

We rehydrated, and then made our way over to the start line for a crack at the fun run.

Little man ran a good portion of the mile. I really wasn’t sure what he would do, seeing as how it was an early morning and a lot of waiting around, but he crossed the finish line at a run. We are so proud of him.

The boys were thrilled to show off their new bling.

Last but not least, the numbers.

Mr PugRunner finished with a gun time of 39:07 and a chip time of 37:59. His pace was 12:13. He finished 54th out of 61 in the 35-39 year old men’s group and 934th out of 1234 total runners.

My gun time was 34:56 and my chip time was 33:48, giving me an overall pace of 10:52. I finished 48th out of 86 in the 35-39 year old women’s category, and 771st out of 1234 overall.

It was a solid first time out, and I rate it a success. I can’t wait to sign up for another race and to improve on our performances.

A special thanks to all of our friends and family for all the continued support. And thank you to 1st Place Sports, the Florida Striders and all the volunteers and employees who worked so hard to put together a great event.

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19 Responses to Florida Striders Memorial Day 5K – race recap {5.27.2013}

  1. Mer says:

    Loved reading about your first 5k!

    I have a friend who used to throw up at every. single. race. I know it’s overwhelming and can be embarrassing. <3 I'm so glad that you felt okay after and were able to continue on to do the fun run with your kiddo! I recently did a 5k with my kiddo and there's no better feeling than running with my kid. I can't wait to my get four year old in on the action.

    Congrats and your first run/recap and here's to many more!
    Mer recently posted…Another Mother Runner… Or Two!My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I’m going to have to carry a bag with me if this is going to be the norm! I really think I’ll be ok going forward. It was just too much right then and I couldn’t get a grip. As soon as it was over, I was fine. And I LOVED watching little man run. He was so proud of himself for earning that medal. I really hope this is something we can do as a family.

  2. You did fantastic! I haven’t puked yet, but I’m a sobber. I mean, big, ugly, Steel Magnolias-level sobs when I finish most of my races. I think I’d rather puke and be done than have all of my race photos with me ugly crying, haha.
    FiddleDeeAshley recently posted…A Little Pep Talk to MyselfMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I did NOT expect to cry or get at all emotional. It’s just not me. I’m going to have to turn my music up louder next time so I don’t hear the finishers cheering us on!

  3. Great first race. You made it through all the ups and downs and keep a [positive attitude. Don’t worry I think we have all vomited at one point, yuck! Also, I hate when people walk by with their medals. It makes me so anxious. My last full was a loop course, brutal, and I saw people with finisher’s medals on when I was only on 18…. OUCH!
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted…WordleMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I think it would be much harder seeing people with their medals after a marathon than for a smaller race. It will be a long time before I find out, though 😉 I really had a great time, even with that little oopsie. I was able to shake it off and continue with the rest of the day, and I’m really proud of myself for that. Heck, I’m really proud of myself for the whole darn thing! On to the next race!
      runswithpugs recently posted…Florida Striders Memorial Day 5K – race recap {5.27.2013}My Profile

  4. I’m so sorry to hear that the ending was he way it was, but I though you had a great time and a pretty good race! Congrats on finishing the first one! And I’m jealous of your medal, I’ve yet to get one…
    Ari @ The Pace of it All recently posted…Teacher Tuesday: Surviving that last week…My Profile

  5. Emma @ a mom runs this town says:

    Love when strangers help propel you! There are kind people out there. Race Blum is my favorite! And those boys are certainly wearing their bling well! Are you on bloglovin? I can’t find you therefore I keep forgetting to check!

  6. runswithpugs says:

    There really are. The boys are so proud. Little man is taking his medal to school today to show one of his teachers (she’s a runner, too!). I am on bloglovin’. I have a button on the sidebar you can click to follow. For some bizarre reason, when you put in “runs with pugs” it shows up as My Website rather than Runs With Pugs, but I’m going to email them today to see how we can fix that. So weird.
    runswithpugs recently posted…Florida Striders Memorial Day 5K – race recap {5.27.2013}My Profile

  7. Well I have never been a crier, but I have lost my lunch during a triathlon before…talk about embarrassing. I barfed during the transition from swimming to biking…in the transition area. Guess I swallowed too much salt water…ugh! I am totally jealous that you got a medal for a 5K…I am a total sucker for bling. Oh I am a new reader by the way!
    Beth @ Read Hard Run Harder recently posted…Are you getting enough H2O?My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Welcome! I only want to sign up for races that have medals (or really awesome swag). Is that awful? And I’m totally not a crier, which made it even more terrible. Oh well. Hopefully it’s all out of my system, because I have no desire to do that again.

      I think it’s awesome that you do triathlons. I’m a bad biker, so I just don’t ever see getting the urge.

  8. Maria @ Lil Mys Ninja says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! This is an awesome post. 🙂 and don’t worry, you’re not the first runner to throw up at the finish line. 😉 I LOVED reading this! I can’t wait to see new races for you! 😀

    • runswithpugs says:

      I’m probably a better photographer and recapper than I am runner. And as far as what happened, at least I have a story to tell. I’m excited for the next races, too!

  9. Pingback: Memorial Day 5K & Fun Run |

  10. Pingback: race report: florida striders memorial day 5k {5.25.2015} | Runs With Pugs

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