I survived a 5k!

Out of the way! Runners coming through!

People who run 5ks are scary:

  • They wear the right sort of special running clothing.
  • They run in packs (okay they call them running groups, but I have dark suspicions that these are really a type of gang activity, the sort that we've all been warned about)
  • They are so 'into' their gang running group that they show up to a 5k wearing a shirt with the team logo, socks with the team logo, and even skin with the team logo. (One woman had their logo tattooed into her calf.)

  • Oh yeah, they are also into wearing the appropriate footwear.

Unlike a certain blogger who shall remain nameless, who forgot her "running" shoes in the trunk of her car and only realized her mistake after she and her friend showed up at the start of the race. Yes, I was the only person at the place who was wearing her ordinary walking-in-the-street shoes.

No, not street walking shoes...

As it happens, I was with a friend who really wanted to do this 5k but was not in shape for anything but walking. I had planned to stay with her during the walk anyway. It was just the Sticking Out Like an Idiot aspect of the matter that bugged me.

There's another scary thing -- these people were all there to race.
See? They're all going so fast everything's a blur!
Now, I'm not one of those people who all stand in front and link arms and maybe even sing during a 5k, forcing people to go around them and plug their ears while they pass because the singing is so off-key. I'm cool with people who are faster than I am and who want to go fast. But these people were so damn intent on their racing, warming up and doing little preliminary sprints, that it made me nervous. I slunk around in the back hoping nobody would notice the only person in the place not wearing the right shoes. Bad enough that I was easily and by far the largest person in the place.

You know what? Scary as these runners were, not one of these speed racers gave me any crap, or sniggers, or nasty remarks about not coming dressed for the party. Everyone was cheerful and encouraging. Even the serious speed racers, when they stopped racing, were actually quite nice and friendly.

The only unpleasantness I encountered was when the route took us out of the track area and into the neighboring streets. Usually with a 5k race, as I understand it, streets are marked off, neighbors are warned, and everybody is cool with the brief inconvenience. This time, there was one woman who threaded her SUV down the road swerving left and right around groups of people and finally got so mad she just screamed at a bunch of women with strollers "get out of the damn road!" Aside from that, the good people of Sherwood were fairly friendly.

I was surprised at the number of people who'd brought their dogs along to the 5k, especially as this was a fund raiser for the Cat Adoption Team. I was even more surprised when they held a timed mile after the 5k, and even the people running with dogs made it in under 5 minutes. (Probably these people don't have arthritic old German Shepherds who have trouble even walking a mile, let alone running that far.)

But she's good with The Sad Look.

Of course, the best part was when we got to the end of the 5k. The finish line was on a high school track, with a camera set up at the end of the straightaway. So I persuaded my friend to run with me down the track, resulting in a picture that shows us running, at a 5k, outpacing all those slackers who were walking. This means I can have photographic proof that I ran a 5k. This could come in handy someday, presuming I want to cough up $30 for the picture.

Moral: even if you're not well shod and look a bit odd, runner at a 5k won't bite. Even if you aren't wearing appropriate shoes.

Next time, I'll be better prepared.

I have seen the light!

Any other social mistakes to avoid when you're doing a race? I've got: don't block the faster runners, wear the right shoes, get a tattoo, don't argue with the cranky lady driving a car... any others?

Yes, I know... some people can carry off a tattoo...
But can he do a 5k in walking shoes?

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