How Not To Run A 5K

Let’s get this out of the way: I did not shit myself.

I did it. Mostly I did it wrong, but I finished. If you are planning on running your first 5K my advice is to don’t be like me. 

Don’t eat almost nothing the day before because you are grappling with horrendous diarrhea, and you know, you shit yourself that morning. You will get a migraine around bedtime. You will take your migraine medicine which will make you feel like garbage the next day.

Make yourself drink a ton of water if you have been having the shits, because duh, you are dehydrated.

Seriously, just don’t have an anxiety disorder. And if you do don’t have a multi-day anxiety event leading up to the race that emotionally and physically exhausts you.

If the race isn’t until 9:50am do not be an idiot. Force yourself to consume something other than 2/3rs of a cup of coffee and a few sips of water.

Marvel at your fucked up body’s ability to have diarrhea less than 24 hours after you took 3 imodium. Take 3 more. STILL HAVE THE SHITS. Take another one. (Ok. I totally nailed this one.)

Do not get to the race almost two hours early. You will be miserable. It is just another way that you will drain yourself of adrenaline before the god damned race begins.

Even if you are a huge introvert arrange to have someone there with you. You do not want to be alone. You do not want to have to take one of the free backpack thingies to carry your stuff with you during the race. It will make you super uncomfortable and not a single other woman you see running the race will be doing it.

If you don’t have someone there before the race you certainly will want someone there for you when you finish. Otherwise you sort of feel like an idiot.

Pick a day without a torrential downpour.

If you can’t have someone there figure out how to arrange a ride home so you don’t have a mile and a half walk in said downpour soaked to the bone and freezing cold to contend with at the end of the race.

Set yourself a reasonable goal, like just be ok with finishing because it is your first 5K! so you aren’t blinking back tears of disappointment when you don’t beat your best time and when you end up walking on and off for the second half due to being hungry and dehydrated and exhausted because you did such a shitty job prepping for the run.

There you have it. I finished with a pace somewhere a little under 11:49 a mile. Couldn’t shut off my phone app until I got undercover because of the rain, so it was turned off at 3.4 miles instead of 3.1. The whole race was a struggle. Mostly I’m disappointed I walked part of it. My body was so fatigued from the anxiety and hunger and dehydration. It gave me the finger when I told it to keep on running.

Long before I decided to do this race Z told me he had a work event on this date. When I signed up I knew he would not be there. I wanted to do it alone. I hate asking for help. And I enjoy doing stuff solo-going to movies or restaurants or shopping alone is my preference. It was a bad choice. I should have asked someone. It’s not like I don’t have friends here who would have come. So lesson learned. Act like a grown up and ask for some help.

Bottom line? I’m bummed. I wanted to kick the race’s ass and get under 35 minutes and feel super proud of myself. Through all the anxiety leading up to this morning I believed deep down that I’d be able to run the whole thing. Believed it fully. I wanted to write about it here and feel great about my achievement. So I’m pissed. I’m mad at myself. I’m frustrated. As I told Z about the race I had to stop several times because I was crying so hard. I know I can run 3.1 miles without stopping. But it doesn’t feel like it counts when I’m doing it alone. The official times will be posted on the website sometime in the next day and it makes me feel like a fraud for doing less than what I know is my best. I know that doesn’t make sense. Believe me, we cover my bizarre belief that the world thinks I’m a chronic liar at length in therapy.

So ugh. Yuck. Bleh. Not a great race. Not a great morning. I guess that I’ll just have to do another one.

pre race

Freaking out pre-race.

photo (16)

Back at home after what seemed like a never ending walk.

photo (17)

Seriously, I ran the race with that stupid yellow backpack flopping all over the place. The straps wouldn’t stay on.

photo (18)

Number 43.


29 thoughts on “How Not To Run A 5K

  1. I’m proud of you. I’ve never run a race. Not a 5K, not a 3K, not a K. You are better off than those of us who don’t get off the couch. Remember that. Remember your disappointment as well, but only as a motivator. Only remember those things that went wrong as lessons to do better next time. You forgot to put gas in your car before you took a trip. You’ll never do that again. But you will take another trip. And LOVE IT! 🙂

  2. I’m so glad you finished, even if you had to walk!

    My first 5 k I was battling mild bronchitis, and I went alone. I didn’t want to seem like a loser so I ran much faster to start than I should have and got too tired. I ended up walking a lot. And then, the worst part, I was passed by a teenage girl wearing jeans and running with a purse. That made me feel like crap.

    I finished in under 50 minutes, which was my goal because I signed up for a 5k where 50 minutes was the max I could take. You learn so much from the first one.

  3. It’s ok to be unhappy with your time, how you felt, that you got upset, that you felt like crap. Let that motivate you or your training for the next one which you will not feel sick, will have energy and will knock some time off this one. And the same with the next.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your first 5k story. I did mine Sept 28th. I can’t believe I am going to say this but we are so much alike (in the not so good ways). I get anxiety like you and I even get the anxiety poops. I totally thought I was making that up. But anyways I am so proud of you for finishing your race!!! I almost didn’t show up to mine. I was positive I wasn’t going to go the night before. Anxiety of course. Not about the run itself but I get really bad social anxiety lol. Plus I get anxiety that I’m going to pass out and die because of my sickness (which of course isn’t very likely). I walked/jogged mine. I didn’t finish at a good time but I was still so proud of myself for actually doing it. Plus it was fun. Color Me Rad. I recommend you doing one of those. It’s more laid back. But ya. You’re awesome! High Five for finishing!

    • Congratulations to you for finishing yours as well! I’ve heard those color ones are a lot of fun. Next time I’m totally going to find one that isn’t geared towards serious runners!

      Sorry that you suffer from anxiety as well. Have you tried therapy? Every person is different, but therapy or medication can work wonders and really change your lifestyle for the better. I wish you luck when it comes to dealing with the hard stuff.

      • I have tried it. They even put me on pills which turned me suicidal. I never tried of course but it did make me question life etc. Serious stuff. I stay clear of most medications unless I am in too much pain or I need antibiotics. Is there something you have tried? I’m one of those I deal with everything on my own types of people. I definitely need to change my lifestyle. I just joined a gym with those group classes. Hopefully it will give me the motivation I need.

        We just need to think less and live more.

      • Oh, I’ve been on just about everything. Some were terrible, a few helped. Currently I take a small dose of a benzo once or twice a day. Usually benzos are rescue or short term, but what works for each individual is different. The problem is getting through taking all the stuff that hurts rather than helps to find what fits.

        Have been in talk therapy off and on for almost 20 years and while you need to find the right person for you (therapy is NOT one fits all) it has been hugely beneficial to me. It is hard when you are unwell to put the effort into trying. Actually, it can feel impossible. But for me it has been life changing.

        Every person is different, though.

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