5k failure

So, Saturday I was signed up for a 5k. I did Color Me Rad with my friend Ryan back in June. At that time, I was at the point in c25k where I could run 3 minutes at a stretch. We did the 5k, it was a lot of fun and I figured I’d better sign up for another one if I wanted any hope of continuing the program. By the time this past Saturday rolled around, I was up to 22 minutes running.

So I felt half-prepared which was better than the .05 prepared I was for the other one. Keith was kind enough to drive me to this 5k, so it wasn’t until 15 minutes before the start that I started to get nervous. There were not a ton of people there and there was no sort of course map so I was pretty nervous that I was going to be dead last and get lost in the middle of North Park. (foreshadowing!)

So right before we start, the guy says “We’re going to take a left onto the foot bridge, a left onto Lake Shore Drive and then turn around at *blank*” Blank was the name of a shelter, but as soon as I heard it, I forgot it. I figured there would be some sort of sign, so I’d be okay. (foreshadowing!)

So we’re off, and I’m running, and I’m keeping pretty good pace with the people around me. And then I look down at my armband (running RunKeeper) and see that I’m only 8 minutes in and I want to diiiiiiiiie. Turns out I was running way too fast (for myself) trying to keep up. So I took a little walking break and then tried to slow down a bit. At about 10 minutes in, all sorts of people with running bibs start pouring back toward me. “Holy crap, am I going THAT slow?” But I figured whatever, those must be the pros, I am sure there are other slow people in front of me.

At the one mile mark there was a water station. I struggle with drinking water while running, I drink too much and make myself sick so I figured I’d skip the water on the way out and get some on the way back in. There was a hill after the water station and people were coming down it, so I kept trucking along.

I actually mentally high-fived myself because I watched some girl turn around at the water station and I (terribly rudely/judge-ly) thought, “Hey! At least I’m not giving up!” So I keep going. And going. And going. And see no turnaround what-so-ever. I stilll had RunKeeper plugging along so when I got to 1.6 miles, I said whatever and turned around. I figured I either missed the turn-around (How? I don’t know, it’s not like I was running with my eyes closed) or didn’t reach it yet in which case it was way too far away.

So I turn around and make my way back. At this point, I can’t help but let a few tears spill out. I am most certainly dead last, which is fine, I didn’t think I would be first or anything, but I just felt very alone. I get back to the water station and there is no one there. There are water jugs, but no cups. I keep going.

At 2.1 miles, I text Keith and let him know I only have 1 mile left. Just in case he thought I died out there.

I get back up the footbridge and whereas before there were people there cheering and pointing you in the right direction, this time, no one.

I cross the footbridge, get back on the first stretch and what do I see in front of me but all the volunteers walking back to the finish. In front of me. Who is still running. As I ran past them, they all kind of gave me a weird look. At the time, I thought they were slightly embarrassed that they left their posts before everyone finished, but in hindsight I think they were embarrassed for me.

I finally get back to the start, Keith is standing waiting for me. The finish line was a little bit further on, but I looked at my phone, saw I was at 3.17 and just headed to the car. As they are in the middle of an annoucement about “Thanks so much, hope you join us next year.”

Tears. Keith asked how it was. More tears. I told him how I couldn’t find the turn-around, I was the last one, even the volunteers didn’t wait for me.

Then Keith says that there was an announcement (shortly after the first person finished in less than 20 minutes) that they messed up the course. It was only 2.1 miles. Meaning the turn around was probably the water station. Which I didn not turn around at because I was paying attention to my mileage. And I saw people coming down the hill past it.

In hindsight, they were probably just regular runners, since it is North Park. And I unfairly judged the lady that turned around because she thought she was supposed to. And I was dead last, but I also ran an extra mile. And the volunteers did not wait because it should not take any normal person to run 2.1 miles in the time I ran 3.1.

I was really upset and felt really down on myself for the majority of that run. But my time was exactly what I expected it to be. I completed it. I completed MORE than a lot of people did (Keith said he saw some people pass the finish line twice – apparently after realizing the course was short). Overall, it was a kind of crappy experience, but it’s over. If it was not a charity race, I would be asking for a refund, but I’m not that evil.

I think the next 5k I do has to be some sort of fun run/walk. Running a 5k by yourself when you are not a very good runner is not even remotely fun.

crying really brings out the blue in my eyes.

crying really brings out the blue in my eyes.

I now have two race bibs hanging on my wall and took this very sad picture of myself in front when I got home. I then took Daisy on a leisurely 1.5 mile stroll and felt a lot better. And then I got tacos from PghTacoTruck and felt a lot a lot better. Screw running. Gimme dogs and tacos.


Leave a comment


  1. that is sad to hear it didnt work out for you 😦 with regards to the weird course and all. Good for you about the actual running though! maybe we can run a 5k together next summer. well maybe even one in fall…

  2. That sounds like a terribly organized race! How frustrating! Good for your though for signing up in the first place and then sticking it out- you did better than everyone who was at home on the couch!

    • Thanks! I kept trying to think that but it was pretty rough in the middle of it, but I’m glad that I went through with it.

  3. Sign up for the Steeler 5k next Saturday or the Mario Lemieux 6.6k (4 miles) They are family run/walk races. I am a slow runner so I know what it is like coming in last. Congratulations on your run and shame on the race organizers.

    • Thanks! I definitely need to sign up for a family run! I’m not sure I’m up for 4 miles, but I will check out the Mario Lemieux one!

  4. You are a doll for sharing your experience. I am so proud of you for finishing! Someday you’ll be able to laugh about this, but until then, just leave it behind you where it belongs. The organizers messed that race up terribly and you can bet alot of people are feeling bad about the whole thing too. I commend you for sharing your painful experience because it will help other people who go thru the same thing. God bless you!

    • Thank you for your kind comment! This was my 2nd 5k and I have since run another that went a lot better. I am taking some time off from running, but may one day get back into it and hopefully laugh at it!

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