Running Highwood's Bloody Mary 5k

Race day swag: Bib, t-shirt, vodka,
and mini sewing kit (hey, ya just never know!)
I recently ran my second 5k. My friend Marilyn and I decided in the Spring, that we needed something to motivate ourselves to work out. We signed up for the Bloody Mary Fest 5k race in Highwood, Illinois. Five weeks prior I found a training program on about.com. I printed the program on a Friday, and the following Monday after work I was ready to get training. The first day we were to run 10 minutes, and walk 1, then repeat twice. Each day we added two minutes to the run, which were every other day.

Before starting the training, I was working out a couple times each week, either running or biking. But I wasn't totally committed to a plan. Having a training schedule in black and white on my fridge was actually super helpful. I loved doing a workout and checking it off afterwards. Seeing those X's pile up was kind of fun.

The day of the race finally came. Marilyn got to my apartment at 6:30 a.m. We arrived in Highwood about 7:15. But no one was there. Wow, the first ones! How about that?! We parked the car, and walked back to the designated spot to wait. We started talking with another woman who had arrived early. We watched the organizers set up and waited for instructions. About 15 minutes before the race, they announced we would have a quick warm up and then it would be go time.

All right, so we were off. My goal for this race was to run the whole 5k without taking a break or walking. I had done my whole training program and I wanted it to pay off. There was one girl who started out running, then would walk, and kept going like that throughout the race. I joked with Marilyn, "watch she finishes before us." (For the record, that didn't happen ;) )

They had markers along the course that showed how far we were. Just after the 2 mile marker there was a photographer capturing all the contestants. As I was nearing him, I was hoping the picture wouldn't turn out too derp. Getting closer and closer, and wait, what - I pass him and no flash! What, no picture? I was kind of pissed. Here I was running and sweating and carrying on, when I'm pleasantly surprised that someone is going to capture this proof, when bam! nothing. What the heck? Finally it occurred to me that the photographer must have thought that I was a neighbor, out for a morning run. Now I've been in a few mountain bike races and one 5k before this, and I know that it's bad luck to wear the t-shirt you get in your swag bag. Duh. Well I had that going against me, plus I had my number bib on my back. Doh!

Okay so I was ready for this thing to be over with. And boy was I thirsty. I imagined there would be water stations along the course, at least two. So the race was 3.2 miles. It's not anything super crazy, but when you're working hard, some hydration would be nice. At last, I see the place we started, with a big crowd. As I'm nearing the crowd, my eyes are scanning left and right for a finish line. Nothing. Well I have to finish where they're timing this thing, so I just call out "where do I go?!", and luckily someone tells me. Alright, I am done! I did it, without stopping to walk. I feel great. A girl hands me an index card with my time. Ok, where's the guy handing me a glass of water? Oh, there isn't one. Damn. I'm thirsty now. Huffing and puffing I finally get some water. After asking for it. I turn in my time and get a teeny Bloody Mary, sit down on the curb and wait for Marilyn to finish.

It feels good to have accomplished this, and I'm looking forward to my next race. And next time I'll be sure to wear my bib on the front of my shirt.

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