Monday, November 14, 2011

My first 5K: Multiple Myeloma Race for Research Recap

Yesterday was my big day, the day I've been preparing for since way last Spring- my first ever road race!

The Training
During my training, I set two goals: I wanted to finish without stopping, and I wanted to finish in under thirty minutes. I've been running 3-4 times a week since May, including one "long" (ie race length) run per week, and started Spinning this fall, which I think really helped my endurance.

At the end of the summer, I purchased a Nike+ Sport Band (and the corresponding shoes, which I love!) to help me train faster, focus on my pace, and not spend so much time calculating the distance of my runs before they even happened. I calibrated this bad boy at the beginning of September, and have been using it as my Holy Grail of Running since then.

The last part of my training is music; until a few weeks ago, I had been running without it. It was helpful to me to hear my feet when I wanted to focus on my breathing, and I found it more meditative to listen to the world around me while running. A few weeks of listening to DC rush hour traffic changed my mind about that! And running with music improved my pace and made my runs more fun.

At the end of my training, I had gone from barely being able to complete Week 1 of the Couch to 5k plan, to running a 5k in 27 minutes. I would have been proud of that result, but happily, the race yielded some surprising results!

The Race
The 9th Annual Race for Research, benefitting the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, was taking place in Alexandria, so me and the boyfriend got up at 7 to get ready and drive over. It was pretty cold when we got there, but I had on my Lululemon headband which kept my head warm, in addition to my new North Face running shirt and our Team Jimmy J tshirts:
Ready to go!
We hung out and checked out all the cute dogs that were also running/walking with their owners and danced around to the cheesy pump-up music they had playing. My brother and his friend arrived, we got their bibs on and stuck our stuff in their running stroller, and then it was time to head to the starting line!

It was a little crazy starting the race- they started a few minutes early and when the horn went off I wasn't exactly ready. I spent the first two-tenths of a mile getting my watch going, turning on my music, and finding a spot as the crowds thinned out. My pace was probably about 20-30 seconds faster than my normal, "comfortable" pace, but when I tried to slow myself down I felt like I had boundless energy, so I just let it all go!

The route basically went 1.6 miles down Eisenhower Ave, turned around, and came back. There was a pretty big bridge at the beginning (and thus, the end) of the route, but it didn't slay me, hooray! Before I knew it, the finish line was in sight. I was a little confused because I didn't feel like I had run a 5k, or what I thought of as a 5k. As the finish line clock came into focus, I saw that I had ran way faster than I anticipated.

I crossed the finish line at 23:08, with a pace of 7:27! Crazy!

I think my watch wasn't calibrated correctly, and so when I've been relying on it to measure distances, it has actually been having me run closer to 3.6-7 miles, rather than 3.1. Woohoo!

The next surprise was even greater- I placed first in Women's Age 20-24! I beat the 2nd place runner by 2 minutes. So unexpected!

Can't believe I placed first in my age group!
My boyfriend, brother and his friend both finished in under 30 minutes without stopping- I was really proud of them!

Me and my brother after the race
Most of all, I was most proud of raising $2254 for Multiple Myeloma research. With such a small team, I think that this is a huge accomplishment. Next year I hope to get a large team of both runners and walkers together, and set a much higher goal for fundraising.

And lastly, I want to run another race! I'm considering some slightly higher distances, and looking for other fun 5Ks in the area.  Hooray for great first experiences!


  1. Hi Nina, Congratulations on your results in the MMRF Race yesterday! Please send me an email at and I can put you in touch with our Endurance Event team. Thank you for your amazing fundraising efforts!