My first 5K: Ry’s Run

I attempted to run my first race this week. Chicago had perfect weather on Tuesday afternoon for Ry’s (Color) Run 5K. It was 60 degrees and overcast — just right for running.

Group of Ry's Run

Ry’s Run is organized by Lake Forest College in honor of the former women’s hockey goaltender, Ryann McCarthy, who lost her battle with cancer in 2009. It was only $10 to register as an individual runner. All proceeds from the race were donated to the American Cancer Society in Ry’s name.

Unknown to me, lots of college students registered as part of a relay team. They paired up to run short legs of the 5K, leaving only a handful of people to run the entire race. I was, of course, one of those folks. It wasn’t bad enough that I was competing against college athletes, but now they weren’t even running the whole 3.1 miles! I didn’t stand a chance.

When the horn blew, I took off with the group and ran the first mile at 9.41– much faster than I’ve ever run a mile before. Out of breath and quickly falling to the last runner on the course, I was extremely relieved when I crossed the finish line in suspiciously record time (less than 30 minutes). Snapped a quick finish line photo and turned in my number to record the time.

Anne and I are thankful the race was over.
Anne and I are thankful the race was over.

Then I saw my colleague, Anne, still running around the course, which was weird because she was definitely ahead of me. She yelled out to me, “One more lap!” I quickly realized that I didn’t exactly finish the 5K. I had accidentally stopped one lap short. Looking down at my Nike+ app, I saw only 2.74 miles was recorded! Feeling guilty about leaving Anne on the course to finish by herself, I jogged besides her for a few hundred feet, but my head was no longer in the race. I snapped a few photos and headed back to the finish line to congratulate Anne’s completion. I’ve officially got my first DNF!

I learned a few things from this experience:

1. Do not compete against college athletes. Just don’t do it.

2. Do not run faster than you’re capable of. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you should. Keep with your pace.

3. Keep your mouth closed when running through clouds of color. Breathing becomes hard when your lungs are coated with corn starch.

I’m signed up for the Official Color Run in Chicago on June 7, so I’ve got a few more weeks to work on my 5K training. Wish me luck!

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