On Sunday, I participated in my first 5K since March 2016. Yay! I made a goal for this school year to do a 5K each month if possible, and had to go down to the wire for September since vacation took up a big chunk of the month. My friend Stephanie also signed up for this one, but unfortunately she got sick the night before so she couldn’t attend. So Jason, the boys, and I all went to the race site, making sure to go early enough to get a parking spot in the small lot. The boys brought a football to throw around in the park while Jason and I waited in the shade for the 5K to start.
Honestly, it’s been so long since I’ve done one of these, and I was thrown off by no longer having a friend to walk with. I debated wearing the race shirt vs an exercise shirt, in case I wanted to run any sections (which I wouldn’t have been doing if I wasn’t alone), and decided on the race shirt even though it was cotton and not great for sweating. I debated bringing a water bottle, but chose not to because there would be water stations. I debated whether to eat a smaller breakfast because we left the house so early, or a larger one in case I decided to run, and chose the smaller. All these decisions were mistakes! I’ll know better next time! One other BIG mistake was putting on bug spray. With all the recent rain, I knew there would be tons of mosquitos, and they are very attracted to me. The spray did its job, but it led to other problems later.
The 5K started late, and it was almost 10 before we could walk across the start line. By that point the clouds were half-gone and it was starting to get really hot and humid. I wasn’t too worried because I knew most of the course would be under tree cover – until I found out that they had to change the course due to flooding. Now, more than a mile would be out in the open under increasingly sunny conditions. Oy.
About a quarter mile in, I decided to add some running into my 5K. For a minute at a time, I would jog slowly. I’m not sure how many of these running sections I did (maybe 15 mins total?). My indoor running doesn’t prepare me at all for outdoor running in shoes! My legs were on fire for the first two miles of the 5K. Unfortunately the last mile was all under baking sun, so that made things even worse than the sore, stiff legs! I finished strong, running, arms raised in triumph. Jason got this fun picture of me sticking my tongue out at Ambrose because he was booing me right before I got to the finish line. Ha! But yeah, I was hot and sweaty and exhausted by the time I crossed that line!
I cooled down, had a kolache and half a breakfast taco, and drank tons of water. Then my upper arms started itching like crazy under my sleeves. At first I thought it was just the sweat and my circulation being very surface level due to the heat and high heart rate, but then I looked and my arms had broken out in hives!! <– I’ve had hives a couple times in my life, but only as an allergic reaction. I hadn’t touched anything unusual – but I had put on bug spray. Here’s the thing: I’ve used this bug spray many times, and come on, I know my skin is ridiculously sensitive to stuff, so of course I used a sensitive skin variety! It’s not supposed to cause a reaction, and it never has before. But there’s nothing else that could have caused this reaction. It had to be a combination of bug spray and sweat and the non-wicking sleeves rubbing against the spray on my arms.
I immediately cooled/washed my arms off with water, and I got the attention of one of the volunteers to ask if they had a first aid area. Someone had a kit with hydrocortisone cream, thank goodness. That helped, and a nurse poured water down my back from my neck to help cool my circulation really quickly. We decided to leave then (after grabbing a pic of the official results) to get some Benedryl, and get me home to shower the rest of the spray off. It was the weirdest thing. I’ve never had this kind of reaction before while exercising! That bug spray is the only thing I can think it might be.
As for results, I crossed the line at 54:10, which isn’t a great number. I used to be able to walk a 5K faster than that. But it adds up to a 17-min mile (since the altered course was actually ~3.2 miles), and I did run about 15 mins of it, so I’m proud of that. It’s a baseline to improve, right? I came in 5th in the women’s 30-39 age bracket, which sounds kinda awesome and weird until you realize there were literally only five people in that bracket. Ha! I also got 62nd overall – out of 83 people. Heh.
Other than the hives and the heat/sun, I really enjoyed the event. It was nice to do something like this again. These 5ks always make me feel part of a community, especially the tiny ones, and it helps when they support a really good cause. This one was for Project Brave, which teaches kids in K-5th grade about healthy relationships as a way to help end domestic violence. “Make Kindness the Culture” is their slogan. It made me so happy to participate and contribute!