I ran my first race yesterday

As I told many of you in this thread, I’ve started running.

Yesterday was the 7th annual Pat’s Run for the Pat Tillman Foundation, run right across town from me in Tempe, AZ. This is the first race I’ve run since I ran a 5K in college 7 or 8 years ago, which I wasn’t training for and didn’t really care about. So, this was my first real race.

Pat’s Run is 4.2 miles to commemorate Pat Tillman’s number 42 football jersey at Arizona State University. My goal was to finish in under 38 minutes and without injuring myself.

The race had a wave start, with about 1,000 runners in each corral. I was in the 8th corral, so we started about 10 minutes after the first group. I was wearing my iPhone in a armband and using the Nike+ app to time myself. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the app started at the start line, and didn’t notice until I was already about a tenth of a mile down the course.

I’ve been training for the distance, but I had no idea how tough it would be to have to work through 7,000 people who started before me! I was much, much faster than many of those ahead of me, a problem which the wave start was supposed to alleviate. All of the walkers and joggers were assigned the rear corrals (there were 28 corrals all together), but many of them jumped into the front corrals before the race.


I had to really slow down a few times and wait for a hole to open to pass. Getting water was a debacle, as many of the joggers and walkers were coming to a full stop at the water station. While I’ve never run a race before, I’ve watched marathons and half-marathons, and I’ve never seen people stopping at the water stations.

By the 2-mile mark, I had resigned myself to the idea that I wouldn’t be hitting my 38-minute goal. Traffic was too heavy and I didn’t have the knowledge of how to pass in such a large group. I eventually got frustrated and started just attacking small holes wherever they appeared, briefly turning back into a lacrosse player ;).

I got a side-stitch at between markers 2 and 3. I controlled my breathing and kept running through it. The water I grabbed at marker 3 helped for a minute, but the stitch came back soon.

The span from marker 3 to the back stretch went well enough, even with the stitch in my side. As I rounded the corner onto the back stretch, I saw my dad and my wife along the side. I raised my hands and saw my dad point at me. My wife had her camera ready and took some great photos, which I’ll post when I get them onto a photo-sharing site.

Seeing them helped, but I was really struggling with the side stitch at that point. I made the turn from the long back stretch to the road leading to Sun Devil Stadium and wanted to start walking, but I was too close to the finish to give up. At that perfect moment, Pennywise’s Bro Hymn Tribute came up on my playlist; the song gave me the boost that I needed. I rounded the last corner that led up the hill into the players’ tunnel into the stadium. As soon as I saw the grass inside the stadium and the finish line, I got a huge burst of energy and sprinted to the 42-yard-line. As I crossed the finish, I had to slow down to keep from running into all of the people who had finished and just stopped instead of exiting the field.

And in that confusion, I forgot to immediately stop the Nike+ timer.

It was at 37:57 when I shut it off. How long had it taken me to stop it? How long had I run at the beginning without it? Did I just beat my goal time?

It was not even 8:00 at that point. I grabbed a banana, an orange, and a yellow PowerAde from the post-race refreshments and went to find my family. I told them about how frustrated I was and how I didn’t think I beat the 38-minute mark because of the slower runners and walkers. I had to wait until 4:00 to find out, though.

We went home and ate and hung out, but all day I was stuck thinking about my time. Finally, at 3:40, I came up to the computer to see if the results were up yet.

They were! I typed in my number, hit “search”, and waited for my results to pop up.

At first I just saw the overall results. The race winner did it in 20:33 (holy shit!).

After a few seconds, my time posted at the bottom of my screen:



Thirty-six Forty!

I beat my goal! I set a personal record! :wink:

Overall, I was in 4,041st place out of 22,449 finishers. I finished 3,095th out of 10,916 men.

I’m excited (still!). And now I’m looking for a 10K to enter.

I think this works: Flickr album

Just wanted to say congrats!

For what it’s worth, I"ve seen people stop at water stops in half and full marathons (and 5ks). I have a hard time running and drinking at the same time myself - esp out of cups.

Check out some 5Ks too. They’re probably easier to find over the summer. I find they hurt in an entirely different way than a 10K. The good kind of hurt.

PS. that’s one huge race! I’ve never been in such a large race of any distance, let alone a 4.2 miler! Of course, I actively avoid races with large numbers (where large numbers means more than 1000 people), so that explains part of it.

People come to full stops at water stops in all sorts of races. The elite runners don’t but lots of the regular runners do.

Congrats! Good job. The start and first mile is the hardest part of any race. Tomorrow I’m running with 26,000 other runners - it should be a lot of fun.

So just what was chasing you? :wink:

You have done well, young padawan.

One of the big problems with any race are the (really slow) runners who clog the front.
The only really large race I’ve run was Wharf to Wharf, never ran Bay to Breakers.

I never drank in any race under 15K and would carry my own bottle for longer races. Never could get the knack of grabbing a cup and drinking on the move.

Side stitch: try belly breathing. Instead of lifting and expanding the chest, try to breathe lower, your stomach should expand. Practice at home, lay down with a book on your stomach and try to raise it when you breathe.

Exhale against pressure. Press your lips together and blow out hard. Or grunt.

Thanks, everyone. I think for the 10k I’ll just skip the water. It also looks like I’ve found my next race:


We’re landing in Michigan on July 3rd, and Frankenmuth is only 2 hours from my parents’ house. Jet-lag might make this a nasty race to run, though.

I like that this event has different start times for different distances. My wife is starting C25K this week, and this is a good amount of time for her to prep for a race. The staggered starts would allow us to cheer each other on and for each of us to run a distance we’re comfortable with.