Running My First Race: The Insane Inflatable 5K

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Female Runner Jogging in the city and finishing her training with her hand up in the air screaming with happiness. She made her goal!

Trying new things in your exercise routine is essential to banish boredom and keep things excited – and that’s why I decided to sign up to race in the Insane Inflatable 5K.

I had never competed in a 5K or for that matter, even jogged 3.1 miles at one time. I regularly run for 30 minutes, three times a week in the cardio portion of my workout – which works out to about two miles every time. Could I up the ante and run another mile?

I knew when I saw the Insane Inflatable 5K advertised, it was the race for me. With eight inflatable obstacles to climb through, over, and under, the run was like a series of bounce houses for adults. I roped in a friend to compete in the race with me, and paid the $68.87 (including all taxes and fees) to register.

Preparation: Theory vs. Reality

In theory, I would have increased my cardio bit by bit in the weeks leading up to the race. In reality, I just ran 30 minutes on the treadmill as usual. My trainer had no doubt that I could manage the three miles, but I did. I don’t jog outdoors often, but when I do, I tend to have trouble pacing myself – I run too fast and then burn out. Could I do it?

Race Day Arrives: Bundle Up

The day of the Insane Inflatable 5K featured the coldest morning of the year, in the low 40s. We were instructed to arrive one hour prior to our heat, which was at 8:30 am, which we did – and then sat in the car for an hour trying to stay warm. Finally, the time approached. I stuffed my pockets full of tissues, stretched out my freezing muscles, and grabbed a sample of key lime pie from the vendors at the starting line.

Climb, Bounce, Slide… and Run

The race began with a rope-assisted climb up an inflated mountain, followed by a big slide down the other side. The obstacles were a blast. I bounced against giant beach balls, climbed over inflated hurdles, and slid face-first down the rubber hills. Most obstacles included a climb and a slide of some sort. My friend and I were in the first heat of the day, so the obstacles and course weren’t crowded at all.

Between the eight inflatable obstacles, the course meandered between scenic woodland trails through parking lots and sports fields. Overall, it was much prettier than I was expecting. Autumn leaves crunched underfoot, and the fresh, cold air was much more invigorating than the stale sweat-stank aroma at my gym. I vowed to run outside more often.

Crossing the Finish Line

I completed the race having barely broken a sweat or even getting out of breath. My trainer had been right – the 5K was a piece of cake for me. I was actually a little disappointed because it presented such a lack of a challenge. I thought that I would be tested! Although the race was more of a fun run than a competition, it would have been nice to know my time or my place across the finish line.

The obstacles were great fun and I’m glad that I signed up for the Insane Inflatable 5K, but I’m not sure if the price tag on the experience was merited. Also, there were supposed to be photographers on the course and digital images provided afterward, but I never saw either. Was it insane? Not at all. Fun? Absolutely. Maybe next time I’ll go for the 10K!

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