As I’ve been mentioning around here lately, I ran my first 5k last weekend. [This girl doesn’t run ‘by nature’].. Looking back, I would definitely do the ‘Insane Inflatable 5k’ again… BUT there’s definitely a few things I wish I knew before starting.
** If you’ve never heard of the ‘Insane Inflatable 5k’ before, it is a 5k (which is right around 3 miles) that involves giant carnival style inflatable obstacles along the way. What are the obstacles, you ask? Many of these are ramps to be climbed, giant slides, and general inflatable thing-in-my-way’s. **
1. Sangria and Tacos are not the night-before dinner of champions.
There’s just no excuse for this, outside of the fact I was on a mini-vacation to run the 5k with college friends. I’m a health teacher, and generally of adult status, so I can’t blame this choice on lack of runner’s knowledge.
2. Don’t sign up to run at 1pm in August.
We were so excited for the event that we made sure to get to the 5k early (for checking in, etc). There was absolutely no shade available outside of the beer tent, which I knew better than to head towards immediately before the race. We definitely had to be more careful and not push ourselves as hard running since we were sweating long before we even began.
3. Take water when you can get it.
Granted, a 3 mile run doesn’t typically warrant an IMMEDIATE need for water. However, like I mentioned, everyone was sweating in the 85 degree sunshine well before the event started. We didn’t grab water at the first station because (a) it was a whole bottle, and we didn’t know what to do with it while doing obstacles (b) I was trying to look tough. We definitely regretted this choice since we didn’t get any water beyond that point until the very end. So. Thirsty.
4. Beware of slide burn.
Being that everyone was nice and dewy with sweat, those tarp-material inflatable slides could get ugly pretty quickly. Maybe I’m the only one that battled this, I definitely tend to find a way to accidentally be injured more than your average person, but I was picking up some serious speed on those slides. So, when the back of my shirt rode up, my back felt what can only be described as slide burn. Lesson learned: tuck that shirt in before attempting slides.
5. The middle is not safe.
The starting line of this event was a giant uphill climb with a slide down the backside. Being that I’m not a runner, I definitely did not want to be one of the first ones up this thing- mostly because I was afraid I wouldn’t make it up. We strategically placed ourselves in the middle of the line to start, and of course were tagged as the ‘first people in the next wave.’ While this made me about 10,000 times more terrified, it also pushed me to be brave, which is always a valuable life experience.
6. Wear costumes ( or at least fun shirts)
We saw tutus, panda masks, and beyond. Maybe this is something that is common for 5k’s and I just never got the memo- but I instantly regretted not having some sort of ‘sweating for the wedding’ shirt.
7. You get a medal
And I will tell everyone it was because I came in first place.
8. It’s a great starter 5k
They must’ve said ‘THIS IS NOT A RACE, JUST HAVE FUN!’ about 10 times while we waited to start our run, and they weren’t lying. The spirit of this 5k is totally welcoming to newbies, and can be a riot with the right mentality. Plenty of people walked and just enjoyed the obstacles, the race is not timed, and you can pass any obstacles you feel uncomfortable doing. I would 100% recommend this to anyone just dipping their toes into running, like me, or someone more advanced just looking for a change of pace (literally).