The 2010 Chicago Bucktown 5K Race was my first race. It all started when my wife got me some running shoes for my birthday. Honestly, I never liked running shoes in the past because no matter which ones I got they would always hurt. I would always go to any sports store and pick whatever color and style I like the best. There were some pairs that I only wore a couple of times, and I didn’t like them that much because they would always hurt. I used to prefer basketball shoes instead. Then it all changed when I went to a store called Running Away Multisport. This is a store that specializes in selling everything you need for a triathlon. They got running shoes, bicycles, swimming gear, and all kinds of apparel. They are truly experts in what they do, and they helped me pick the right shoe that worked perfectly for me. Right away I noticed this was not like any other store, I had been to in the past and I loved their service. When we paid we saw a sign that was advertising the Bucktown 5K race, and the store was offering a FREE 8-week training program for the race. My wife and I immediately signed up for the program.
The way the program worked was that they had a 30-minute class that covered different topics, and then after that we would go for a run. Some of the topics they covered were: how to buy running shoes, what running clothes to wear, safety tips, nutrition tips, stretching tips, and race day preparation tips. The first class was on how to buy the proper shoes. I learned running shoes have to be 1 size bigger than my regular everyday shoe size. I’m a size 12 in regular shoes, but when it comes to running shoes I now get a size 13. The reason why is because of the impact that running causes. If the shoe is too tight the impact on each stride has no place to go, and it can cause you to have knee pain, back pain, shin splints or any other kind injury. That class taught me so much, and I really liked it. On our first practice we went out for 1 mile run. I was in P90X shape so I felt really good on the training. Eventually we started increasing the mileage week after week and I felt great.
Finally race day came and I was ready to bring it! I always like to set up goals, and I didn’t really know anything about running or pace at that time. So, I just said I want to run this race in 20 minutes. Very quickly I realized that this was a pretty BIG goal for my running abilities at that time. On race day it was pretty cold day. I did some warming up and stretching while waiting for the bell to go off. Finally the moment of truth came and off we went. I started running pretty strong at the beginning, and then in the middle I started slowing down and by the end I was even slower. I had no idea on how to pace myself, but I was very focused and I just did my best. At the end of the race I had a huge headache, and a girl came up to me and gave me some water and a banana to eat. Apparently, I was dehydrated because I didn’t want to drink anything during the race. I learned that I must drink Gatorade and water during races; even, if I’m not thirsty because otherwise I can have problems. After the race I went home, and I was so tired that I just laid on the couch the whole day. I couldn’t believe that I was so tired after only a 5K race. I learned that practice and actual races are totally different because races are more intense. I had practiced for the race, but that first race opened my eyes into a whole new world. I finished the race in 24 min 10 seconds, and I felt very proud of the effort I gave. I found a new fitness challenge, and a new passion was born!