Sunday, December 4, 2011

My First Big One - Jingle Bell 5K

I had been sick the last three days with really bad vertigo. I woke up today still having the tilting floor with the turn of the head so I was just determined not to move my head a lot today. I had to at least try...

It was a chilly overcast morning along the (breezy) waterfront. Fingers were frozen and legs felt crampy even before we started. THOUSANDS of runners in holiday attire and gear showed up. Young ones. Old ones. Thin ones. Big ones. Costumes were every where. It was a party for all.

My main goals today were:

1) Keep my heart rate under 180!
2) Finish without stopping

I was worried about the heart rate because I was so excited at home that it was at 109 before I even left the house. My resting heart rate is 58!

I purposefully drank NO caffeine this morning.

I figured if I ran in my 13.3 pace I could stay under 180. Luckily this course didn't have a ton of hills and climbs because I was running under my pace a lot. In fact, it only had one steep climb and that was at the end. I didn't peak a 180 heart rate until I started taking that big one. I was yelling at myself as I was trudging up the hill, Don't stop! DON'T YOU DARE STOP!!" and a woman behind me laughed and said, "Okay! I won't if you won't" and we both laughed....and we both made it.

But my heart rate hit 185 at the crest. I backed WAY off and got it down to 176 which is acceptable that late into the race.

Then I heard yelling and looked up and saw the big FINISH LINE banner up ahead down the road. I wanted to sing. I started giggling. It was a good moment. Then I saw my friend Christine on the sideline (she had already finished) and I yelled out, "I DIDN'T STOP A SINGLE TIME!!" and she and others cheered. That felt great too.

As I drew nearer to the goal, I remembered all those days back in school track and decided to SPRINT as fast as I could the last two minutes. DUMB! DUMB! DUMB!!!

My heart rate hit 191 as I went under the FINISH banner. I felt dizzy and weird and a bit disorientated as they cut my timer chip band off my wrist. I was scared and walked it off slowly and taking deep breaths, relaxing. I got down to 155 within 2 minutes. But, that scared me.

I had no business letting my heart work that hard.

I won't do that again.

I have no idea what my time was (since I was so goofy after I crossed the finish line I forgot to turn off the timer) but am thinking it will be an average of a bit less than 13 minute miles. That would be nice.

The good news: I finished without stopping a single time.

I didn't even stop on that steep climb.

I feel strong. I may have ran slower than most, but I am a winner. I never gave up.

Age: 49
Weight: 173 (23 more pounds to go)
Distance ran: 5K (3.1 miles)
Official Finish time: 39:50
Official Pace: 12:49
Weather: Overcast & Breezy @ 38 degrees with 86% humidity (no precipitation)
Average HR during the race: 175 bpm
Peak HR during the race: 191 after a two minute sprint to the finish line. Before that, 185 cresting the steep hill.


  1. Don't worry so much about your heart rate. If you're feeling good at the moment go with it. Don't sweat the numbers, they don't mean much.

    And congrats!

  2. Thanks, guys,

    Yaish, I might be a bit more nervous than need be because my first race was ten days ago and an experienced runner had a heart attack as I ran past him (and died in the hospital two days later after a second heart attack). Although tired, I did feel okay until I hit 191. I know now...THAT is a no no because it just felt WRONG. It scared me how I felt. My recovery was fast though and that is a good sign.