August 25, 2009

I survived a 5k!

Out of the way! Runners coming through!

People who run 5ks are scary:

  • They wear the right sort of special running clothing.
  • They run in packs (okay they call them running groups, but I have dark suspicions that these are really a type of gang activity, the sort that we've all been warned about)
  • They are so 'into' their gang running group that they show up to a 5k wearing a shirt with the team logo, socks with the team logo, and even skin with the team logo. (One woman had their logo tattooed into her calf.)

  • Oh yeah, they are also into wearing the appropriate footwear.

Unlike a certain blogger who shall remain nameless, who forgot her "running" shoes in the trunk of her car and only realized her mistake after she and her friend showed up at the start of the race. Yes, I was the only person at the place who was wearing her ordinary walking-in-the-street shoes.

No, not street walking shoes...

As it happens, I was with a friend who really wanted to do this 5k but was not in shape for anything but walking. I had planned to stay with her during the walk anyway. It was just the Sticking Out Like an Idiot aspect of the matter that bugged me.

There's another scary thing -- these people were all there to race.
See? They're all going so fast everything's a blur!
Now, I'm not one of those people who all stand in front and link arms and maybe even sing during a 5k, forcing people to go around them and plug their ears while they pass because the singing is so off-key. I'm cool with people who are faster than I am and who want to go fast. But these people were so damn intent on their racing, warming up and doing little preliminary sprints, that it made me nervous. I slunk around in the back hoping nobody would notice the only person in the place not wearing the right shoes. Bad enough that I was easily and by far the largest person in the place.

You know what? Scary as these runners were, not one of these speed racers gave me any crap, or sniggers, or nasty remarks about not coming dressed for the party. Everyone was cheerful and encouraging. Even the serious speed racers, when they stopped racing, were actually quite nice and friendly.

The only unpleasantness I encountered was when the route took us out of the track area and into the neighboring streets. Usually with a 5k race, as I understand it, streets are marked off, neighbors are warned, and everybody is cool with the brief inconvenience. This time, there was one woman who threaded her SUV down the road swerving left and right around groups of people and finally got so mad she just screamed at a bunch of women with strollers "get out of the damn road!" Aside from that, the good people of Sherwood were fairly friendly.

I was surprised at the number of people who'd brought their dogs along to the 5k, especially as this was a fund raiser for the Cat Adoption Team. I was even more surprised when they held a timed mile after the 5k, and even the people running with dogs made it in under 5 minutes. (Probably these people don't have arthritic old German Shepherds who have trouble even walking a mile, let alone running that far.)

But she's good with The Sad Look.

Of course, the best part was when we got to the end of the 5k. The finish line was on a high school track, with a camera set up at the end of the straightaway. So I persuaded my friend to run with me down the track, resulting in a picture that shows us running, at a 5k, outpacing all those slackers who were walking. This means I can have photographic proof that I ran a 5k. This could come in handy someday, presuming I want to cough up $30 for the picture.

Moral: even if you're not well shod and look a bit odd, runner at a 5k won't bite. Even if you aren't wearing appropriate shoes.

Next time, I'll be better prepared.

I have seen the light!

Any other social mistakes to avoid when you're doing a race? I've got: don't block the faster runners, wear the right shoes, get a tattoo, don't argue with the cranky lady driving a car... any others?

Yes, I know... some people can carry off a tattoo...
But can he do a 5k in walking shoes?


  1. Too funny!

    ouch at those high heels in the pic!

    I wish I could run a 5k one of these days.

  2. that post just made me laugh so hard- kudos on walking the 5k in regular shoes. i certainly couldnt have.

  3. firstly, mega congratulations on the run. you rule.

    secondly, unfit people need to get their heads around the fact that fit people don't look down on them for being unfit, they look down on them for being lazy. If you're unfit but giving it a go then you belong on the same continuum as the 'fit' people: ie, fitter than some, and (unless you're usain bolt) less fit than others.

  4. youve now completed more 5ks than have I.

    **cue confetti shaped like walking shoes**

  5. congrats on the 5k, Merry! Good job! :)

  6. I'm so jealous. I have such a hard time when we run at the gym, not so much my feet but my breathing, I just can't seem to master it. I really would love to do something like this.

    Way to go!

  7. Well done Merry baby! You killed me with the shoes thing. It sounds like those dreams where you go to school in your pajamas... except, not dreaming. :D

  8. You should look into being a cult leader. I've never once thought, I should run a 5K, but I sure did after reading your post.

    Congrats on sticking it out, bad shoes and all!

  9. I recently did a 5K, in the correct shoes, and also ran the bit in the stadium! Admittedly not very fast, since I didn't really pass any of the other walkers...

    I can't imagine doing that in walking shoes though!

  10. I loved this post! One bad thing that happened to was when my daughters and I did the charity 5K in our town. My youngest daughter twisted her ankle, so being the good mother that I am, I walked the rest of the way with her! Even though I wanted to keep running. . .

    Anyway, when we got to the finish line with her limping, and the guy yelled at us, "HEY! THIS IS A RACE NOT A STROLL!"

    I was so mad I almost hit him!!!

  11. Congratulations lady!!

    My only suggestion is situational...if there are water stations, and you want to grab something to drink... either grab and throw the liquid into your mouth and keep going OR move over to the side to walk and drink at your own leisure. I have seen many a-crash when people decide to suddenly stop/walk and others barrel right into them! Aaah :)

    -Kerri from Enzymatic Therapy

  12. Loved this post. Too funny! I actually raced 5K's in my younger years before I got so serious with the weights & even placed & won a couple in my age group! I did not do any of the crazy stuff. I always trained alone, showed up in my regular jogging wear & nothing fancy & off I went. It is fun to see the camaraderie BUT yes, the really fast ones, don't block them. I was NOT one of them !

  13. That was so sweet of you to walk it with a friend when I know you could have run it, maybe even a few times in a row if you'd wanted.

    I've done some charity walks but have never done any sort of race so I don't know any of the protocol. In the unlikely event I ever decide to give it a try, this is helpful!

  14. I got passed running a ten miler by a guy wearing those horrid deck shoes.

    You're not so special :P

  15. Great job! Too awesome. No blisters from the every day shoes? That'd be my luck.

  16. Congrats on the 5K, no matter how much of it you walked! It's more than most people do and that's something to be proud of.

    Brent is right that the overwhelming majority of runners don't care if you're big or small, fast or slow, kitted out to the nines or whatever. You're showing up and giving it your best, and that's what counts.

    And yeah, just don't block the faster folks and you'll be fine. It's the same rule as driving--slow traffic keep to the right, unless you're in the UK, in which case I would assume slow traffic would keep to the left.

  17. Congratulations! I don't think anyone else noticed you were wearing walking shoes (so don't worry about getting a reputation in certain running circles).

  18. I'm supposed to have a tattoo..?
    Hm..I"ll get on that.

    I've found 5K runs to be a lot of fun...the 10K ones are too serious (and nearly kill me) but 5K is (dare I say it) fun and the people in the run are usually there for fun.
    Well done on doing it in crummy knees would have screamed.

  19. Sorry, I was perusing Stocking Vixen's photo site....what was that you were saying about a 10 k or something?

    Oh yeah...

    I've seen professional runners in bare feet. Craziness. And if I tried to take my dog on a 5 k, I would be a defendant in a class action personal injury suit, because she thinks tripping is a game like "fetch."

    So, no victory picture, huh?

  20. Congrats on the 5K! No small feat - or feet after doing it in cruel shoes. And what a nice friend you were to hang back with your budddy.

  21. Great post and very funny!! Your amazing and such a breath of fresh glad i found you!!

  22. Good for you, Merry!! I better not look back, because you are gaining on me!

  23. Only if you're running very, very slowly, Dr. J ;)

  24. I love 5Ks! Congratulations!

    As far as rules, there are a ton about wearing race shirts. But otherwise they won't make fun of you no matter how slow you're going.

  25. linteater, that was a great site, filled with informative tips. Also, it was very funny. Thanks!

  26. I thought about doing that race - I do love kitties! But it was so far away (Sherwood - practically in California, right?)

    Congrats on your 5K! That's so awesome. I remember when I finished my first one - I felt so cool (I'm pretty sure my shoes weren't nearly as fancy then as they are now).

  27. You probably did so much more for your walking friend than you realize - staying with her during a race that sounds kind of intimidating was really sweet!

    Can I just say your dog in the "cone of shame" (UP, anyone?) looks adorable!

  28. Congrats on the 5K! I enjoyed your descriptions. I survived a couple 5K's.. a few years ago. I am a slooow poke, but it felt good to finish. I'd like to give it another try now that I'm sneaking up on 50. -Tammy

  29. Awesome of you to pace your friend. As a running nerd I applaud you for knowing to not link arms and stay out of the way of those running faster. I myself have to get to the right sometimes. (Ok a lot of the time.)

  30. YaaaaaAAAAAAY, MERRY! *leaps in the air, cheerleader-style*


    That's fantastic. I really want to do a 5K - I'm working up to it. Slowly. Really slowly, LOL. But I'll get there! (Note to self: get tattoo. Remember shoes.)

  31. Congrats on the 5K! Now that you've hit up the "gateway drug" of running, how long till I can get you to do a marathon with me? :)

  32. Congrats Merry! You're right - those people can be a bit scary. I was also the largest by far when I ran my first 5K, so I feel your pain.

    For people who are thinking they could never run a 5K or how running kicks their ass, may I recommend the Couch to 5K Program? The theory behind it is that people start running and run until they can't anymore, which of course burns them out because, let's face it, it really, really sucks. This is a slow build up to running so that, theoretically, you go from being a couch potato to running a 5K in nine weeks.

    It's the only thing that's worked on my asthmatic little (well, not so little) butt. That first 5K I ran at 250 pounds, and I'm only 4'10", so it works pretty well.

  33. not all of us who do 5Ks are part of crazy running groups and whatnot ... but congrats!

    and nothing wrong with walking the race. some of those who look like crazy runners end up walking some anyway. :)

  34. Congrats on a great race, Merry! And I've noticed, like you, that most runners are supernice people. I'm aghast that a car made it on the course though. That's insane!

  35. Congrats on running the 5k. That is something I think I'm gonna strive for one day. Just as soon as I can run a 1k :-)

  36. Well, I did run that last 100 yards, so I guess I can claim that I ran the 5k. (I mean, I don't have to specify that it was only the last 100 yards, do I? ;)

  37. Hahaa. Great pics! The heels would be PERFECT to run a 5k in, lol.

    Anyways, congratulations on your 5k!

  38. 5k? Congratulations. I would show in my flannel pjs.
    With a Made In China wig.

  39. Seconding Midknyt's Couch to 5K recommendation--I finished it a few weeks ago, and it sure worked for me.

    Now I'm chugging through Gateway to 8K and doing a Happy Fun Long Run on Sundays ("long," of course, being a highly relative term and please don't ask me how long, okay).

    And I'm going to be running my first 5K a little over a month from now. My goals are a) finish and b) not finish dead-ass last.

  40. Priceless post, had me laughing out loud!

    Well done for having go.

  41. Good stuff and congrats. Running... I do it but SO not for me.

    It's like, the more you run, the more you can run... guess it COULD come in handy someday.

  42. You are so funny AND Sweet!

    Way to go Merry!!

  43. Hey, you forgot to mention cute! :(

    And modest, of course :)

  44. Yay!!! That is so awesome, congratulations! Another would be, don't eat anything before the race that is gonna give you the farts!

  45. Congratulations and hilarious as always.


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