My First 5-K

All this week, my family and I have been in Orlando, Florida where I have been attending a professional society conference at Walt Disney World. Beween the meetings, we have enjoyed seeing the sights.


The Kettle-Moraine 100-k is only a few weeks away; so I am in my taper right now. As I explained in my previous post, I changed my mind about doing the Wyoming Double Marathon after my misadventure with altitude in Colorado. Instead, I decided to run ten miles farther but at a lower altitude at the Kettle-Moraine 100-k.


Because one never knows what the weather in Wisconsin in early June will be,  I thought a little exposure to the heat and humidity running in the afternoons here in Florida would do me some good, even if it would not be very fun.


Earlier this week, they had a 5-K Fun Run around Epcot Center before the park formally opened and the crowds arrived. On a whim, I decided what the heck and registered for the race. It would be good speed training for me, I thought.


Before the race, I ran an extra couple of miles just to make sure I was completely warmed up. I didn't want to pull a muscle or something. I told one of the other runners that I usually don’t feel fully warmed up until I run at least  5 or 6 miles. He thought I was joking- but I wasn’t. 


As we gathered, they asked us to show our hands if this was our first time running a 5-k.  I smiled and raised mine.  Although I have done a lot of long distance running and training, I actually have never officially run in a 5-k race.


Some of the other participants noted my ultrarunning tech shirt and made comments about it to me. I guess they considered me a bit of a ringer. But technically this was my first time ever running a 5-k. 




At 6AM the race started with the front dozen or so sprinting off.


“There go all the speedy short distance runners!” I thought. I didn't even bother trying to keep up with them. 


I had no idea how to pace myself for such a short run, not having specifically  trained for this distance. So I ran as if it were just a regular tempo training run. 


It was pleasant running through Epcot center at dawn and before the crowds. We started at the Swan Resort, did a short loop around the Boardwalk and Yacht Club Resorts and then did a final loop around the World Showcase Lagoon before returning to the Swan for a total of 3.1 miles.   


As I ran, I caught a number of those who sprinted off at the start. Only two who passed me, stayed ahead of me-  this is not counting all the others who had left me in the dust from the very beginning. 


I ended up running the last mile in to the finish with the third female. We were going slow enough that we were able to introduce ourselves, chat about our jobs, etc.


A few hundred yards from the finish, a guy suddenly rushed right past both of us as if we weren’t even there.


I commented out loud…”Ah-hah! A stealth attack from behind! … You're SNEAKY!”


As he left us, I shouted, “Well, don’t think you're gonna get away that easy!”


I kicked it up, and to my surprise, I easily sprinted past him.  He didn’t even try to keep up, but I wished that he had. It would have been fun for us to have had a neck-in-neck sprint at the very end.


We usually don’t do sprints at the finish of ultras… unless of course, there are only 35 seconds left on the clock before final cut-off as happened to me at the Greenland Trail 50-k in April.


In hindsight, I know I could’ve gone faster.  Running fast enough would’ve meant not being sociable and not having enough breath to chat. However, I am glad I didn’t try to run at a faster pace. That might have ended up with me pulling a hamstring or gettings some other injury only  a few weeks before my main goal- doing the Kettle-Moriane 100-k in June. 


I finished 7th out of the men and 10th overall.  Considering that there were 200+ participants… that is pretty dang good for a slow ultra-turtle like me… even if this was only a "fun" run and at least a third of the participants were walkers. 


I can definitely see the draw of these 5-k’s. After a warm shower and breakfast, we walked around Epcot theme park.  I felt so good; I almost forgot that I even ran that morning. Certainly 5-k's are more forgiving, more immediately gratifying and much less painful than the extra-long ultra distances.


Plus, 5k's are simply a lot of fun! 


Even so, I remain an ultrarunner at heart.  I’d rather run all day out on the trails than do a short little race. 


Yes, I am crazy… but I do admit it.   

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5 responses

  1. LOL congrats on your first 5K. You know I wish I'd known you and the family were here…I am 20 miles or so from orlando, I would have cooked you up something, or at least coffee…. 🙂
    you know I have not found 5K's to be at all gratifying. In fact my last one which involved a variety of hills ice and my Dad….horrible.
    I am so glad you had a good 5K!!!

    May 18, 2008 at 8:28 am

  2. Coffee would have been nice… we will keep it in mind if there is a next time.
    I was surprised and amazed that I did so well. I'm usually a mid-to-back of the pack runner. Of course, this was only a "fun" run. At a more competitive race, I am sure I would have been further back.
    Nevertheless, I hope this is a sign of good things to come at Kettle Moraine.

    May 20, 2008 at 6:54 pm

  3. This is hilarious! By the way, I'm a friend of Chris P (who turned me on to your site). Being an ultra-runner myself, I know exactly how you feel about the whole 5k experience. I ran one a couple of years ago and it seemed like was just waking up when it was over! As you said, they are fun (sort of) but I much prefer standing at some trailhead in the mountains sipping coffee while I prepare for several hours of running picturesque singetrack.
    Good site you've got going here. Look forward to reading more.
    Broomfield, CO

    May 27, 2008 at 7:26 am

  4. Thanks!
    I had no idea what ultrarunning was until someone suggested I try running an ultramarathon a couple of years ago. I asked them the question I am asked frequently (and I am sure you are too): "So what the heck is an ultramarathon?"
    After they explained to me what it is, I thought: "That sounds TOTALLY INSANE!! I think that'll be just perfect for me!"
    I ran my first 50-k and never looked back. Ultrarunning is difficult to explain to non-ultrarunners and pretty much impossible to explain to couch potatoes- so I don't even bother trying.
    Enjoy yourself out on the trails… maybe I'll get to see you at one of these sometime.

    May 27, 2008 at 7:17 pm

  5. I hear ya. People have asked me what ultramarathons are and they have generally had some pre-conceived idea that they range from five miles to ten miles. When I tell them they are 30 to 100+ miles, they a) don't believe it can be done, b) ask how many days it will take, or c) just walk

    May 28, 2008 at 7:07 am

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