So I finished off the TK 5K this weekend. I showed up a bit early to meet up with a fellow Nashville running blogger, Joe, before the race. He gave me some encouragement and showed me what to do with the timing chip (just zip tie it to your shoe, duh!). Then they called the runners over to the start line.

I went over and took up my position at the back of the pack with all of the women with baby strollers, octogenarians, and people wearing their jeans and heavy coats. I was walking around to get warmed up in a way that probably made me look like Rainman. Suddenly bagpipes started playing and then the gun fired. I was one of the last to cross the start line and at a fairly slow pace. My main goals were to finish in under 40 minutes, run the whole thing, not fall down, and not have to go to the hospital (all accomplished, btw).

After about 50 yards, some people I just passed started getting winded and complaining of knee injuries. I’m not sure if they finished. By the time we came around the first corner at the end of the stadium I was passing the people who hadn’t trained and were already walking. We did a complete loop around the stadium and then headed down a side street. When we crossed in front of the Korean War Veteran’s Bridge a guy with no race numbers came running up. He asked what was going on and I told him he was racing in a 5K. Apparently he was in town for the SEC basketball tournament and had just seen some people running and thought he’d join in.

I slowly made my way up through the back of the pack, picking off fat guys, people walking, and old ladies left and right. At mile one I had a brief panic attack thinking that I might not be able to run the whole thing, but it quickly subsided and I went back to demoralizing the stragglers with my slow but relentless gait.

As we came down the final stretch we made a turn to go into the stadium for a finish on the 50 yard line. I was almost even with a girl who was obviously trying to race me when we got to the entrance tunnel and a big downhill to the field. The girl and I both took off running down the hill and were evenly matched until the bottom where I just kept running. I’d played it conservative and had plenty left in the tank for a spectacular finish.

I hit the field running and now picking off people who were almost my own age and perhaps even not that out of shape. I picked off one last lady right at the finish line and pointed at myself on the Jumbotron in triumph.

My finish time was 36:25 (a PR since it was my first race and also a personal best for that distance). I stuck around to watch Joe and his running mates Gail and Emily start the 1/2 marathon before heading off to celebrate by totally pigging out at Cracker Barrel with my friend Michelle. I also totally pigged out on pizza that night which is why I gained a pound this week.

My next race is the Purity Dairies Dairy Dash 10K on April 10 here in Nashville. Old ladies, first timers, and kids on crutches, LOOK OUT!