On Sunday, I completed my second 5k and my third race! The DC Biggest Loser Run/Walk 5k!
I woke up Sunday morning with a few nerves, but reminded myself that this was a “no pressure” race. My foot has still been bothering me the past few weeks, so I told myself that if I needed to take it easy it would be okay because I had the option to walk the race route. Luckily, that came in very handy.
The start of the race was 9am, but since we were driving and not taking Metro, Mark and I decided to head out early. I didn’t want to risk being late, and Mark wanted to get there early to take photos. We arrived at RFK stadium around 7:30am, the exact time that the pre-race festival started. I’m so glad that we arrived when we did because it was already crowded. Thankfully, parking wasn’t an issue because we got there early. We found a spot, and I took my time getting ready. I ate a half bagel, secured my race bib to my shirt, and drank enough water to hydrate but not enough to have to hit the porta-potty every five minutes (a big fear of mine). I contemplated bringing my iPod along, but was initially told that using one was not encouraged. I decided to leave it behind. After fifteen or twenty minutes, we headed to the festival grounds, which was a short walk away.
The pre-race festival was already in full swing. They had tents set up providing last minute packet-pickup, a place to get a massage, misting stations, and a special area to take pre/post race photos. The MC for the event was Biggest Loser alum Dan Evans from Season 5. He tried his best to get the hundreds of racers, walkers, and spectators pumped up. Other Biggest Loser past contestents were also there to speak and encourage everyone, including Gail Lee and Lauren Lee from Season 13. Filipe and Sione Fa from Season 7 even got up on stage to do a Polynesian dance to pump everyone up. It was very cool and received a roar of applause.
Look who I happened to spot in the crowd:
Biingo from last season! I gave him a high-five and congratulated him on his journey. He kindly posed for a photo, and shortly afterwards spoke to the crowd. He mentioned how he has been successful with baseball and looks forward to trying out for his high school team. When asked what his next big goal is, he said that he would like to eventually complete a half marathon. After seeing his determination on the show, I have a pretty good feeling he will do it.
After a few more photos, one more bathroom break, and figuring out a place to meet Mark after the race, he wished me good luck and I headed to the corrals. There was a nice breeze, the sun wasn’t out fully yet, and the humidity was tolerable. We listened to music blasting on the loudspeakers that were set up throughout the festival, which was great as we anticipated the start of the race. But there was a definite oops moment when the unedited version of Scream n Shout by will.i.am and Britney Spears starting playing. Probably not the best idea with a Kids Run planned and at least a hundred kids in attendence.
We were instructed that the 5k and 10k racers/walkers would start together, and eventually the 10kers would branch off. We were assured there would be signs posted. Serious runners were to be up front, run/walkers in the middle, and walkers towards the back. I decided on the middle pack, and tried to position myself accordingly. Turns out, I ended up in the first corral by accident, but it ended up okay. Only thing I was mad about was that everyone around me had an mp3 player. Really wishing I would have brought mine at this point.
After Dan Evans sang the National Anthem, the horn sounded and we were off!
I was anticipating/dreading the sharp knee pain that I had felt the first minute of both the Poplar Spring 5k and Rockville Twilight 8k last year, but luckily I never felt it. I felt pretty good (right foot was holding up), and I ran the first half mile or so. Then I decided to take a quick walk break. I knew that if I continued running that I would overdo it, and didn’t want to risk further injuring my foot. I alternated walking and running for the first mile.
After the first mile, I came to the realization that the entire race was going to be run around the RFK parking lots. That was a bit of a bummer. I was hoping for a little bit of scenery, but all I saw was an endless stream of orange cones weaving around the pavement.
At the first mile marker, I recognized a familiar face from the expo the day before. Michael Dorsey from Season 14 was there cheering on the runners. After receiving a high five, I proceeded to run/walk to the water station. They were giving out small cups of water and Gatorade. At this point, the sun had emerged from the cloud cover and it was HOT. I drank the warm Gatorade (yep, it was warm) and half the water, dumping the other half down my neck. I tried to get in a rhythm with my running, but the heat was way too intense. I decided the rest of the race I would walk when I needed to.
After about two miles in, I saw a handful of VERY confused 10k runners. Apparently the signs were not very clear, and they had no idea if they were running in the right direction. They tried asking some of the staff on the course, who were just as confused. I had initially contemplated registering for the 10k…glad I didn’t. I also noticed that they put up the mile markers in the wrong direction. With only a mile left of the 5k course, the mile marker said 1 mile. I heard many of the runners saying how everything was very unorganized. On a positive note, I do have to say that they had one or two inspirational banners along the course, which was very motivating. It would have been nice to see more.
With a quarter mile left, I could see the finish line and decided to book it. I was pouring sweat at this point and just wanted to be done. I ran to the finish line huffing and puffing, but I made it.
And I got what I had been waiting for: my finisher medal!
While trying to catch my breath, I headed over to grab a water and banana. Again, very disappointed that the water was hot.
I met up with Mark and told him I needed to go. I had planned on staying to watch the Kids Race, but I couldn’t stand the heat any longer. I also knew that he was having a hard time with the heat, and felt it was best to head home. At that point both my feet were really starting to hurt and I was thanking my lucky stars that we had not taken Metro. There is no way I would have been able to walk back to the Metro station with this pain and heat.
Would I do the race again? Maybe. I would like to do the 10k next time around, but there would have to be some major changes to the course organization to make it run more smoothly.
I’m happy that I decided to go to the race. I’m proud of myself for finishing and getting my first medal. All in all, it’s a cool experience and something I can look back on. I figure it’s just another step in the right direction toward completing a half marathon. Nothing wrong with that.
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