If you’re a geek, Utah is one of the best places to live. No, seriously. After all, we’ve been dubbed the nerdiest state in the US, and have Salt Lake Comic Con, which has rapidly become the third biggest comic con in the United States in just a few short years. Utah is also home to cool geeky races like the Gamer Dash 5K, put on by the Geek’d Out Running Club.

My story of doing the Gamer Dash 5K

It has been a while, but I am no stranger to doing races and have the shirts and bibs to prove it. In fact, I even did a half marathon once in Idaho. I loved that the swag included things like hashbrowns and a bag of potatoes.

The starting line for the running race part of the Gamer Dash 5K

Starting line for Gamer Dash 5K race (not walking part)

If I Did a Half Marathon, How Is a Simple 5K Like the Gamer Dash My Hardest Race Ever?

After all, if you’ve done this one before or seen what the course looks like, you might be a bit puzzled. It’s just a few times around a paved walkway circling a park. No obstacles, hills or any of the usual challenges that might make it difficult.

In fact, it was one of the most fun courses I have ever seen. They started you off with the start line music from Mario Kart. Along the way, you went through a big inflated warp tunnel and could punch Mario question boxes to score chocolate coins. Easy peasy.

Question boxes full of coins were at the Gamer Dash 5K

I got a couple of gold coins for our girls

Until It Wasn’t

For almost a year now, I have been having strange joint pains creep up. It seems to come and go, shifting from one spot to another. The latest iteration has settled into a middle toe/ball of foot and right index joint. I signed up at a time when I was not in much pain and hoped for the best. I didn’t really get any training in, though, when it became painful just to walk around.

Favoring the injured foot also seems to have made the ankle of my other foot flare up a bit. I was left facing the possibility of doing a race where I was injured and just plain not really ready. It sounded so fun, though, and I had already paid the fee….

You get to go through a big warp tunnel in the Gamer Dash 5K

How the Race Day Began

I’ll admit that I didn’t go into it with the best attitude. I was worried about pain and running late, with fleeting thoughts popping in that maybe I could just skip it. They had both a run and a walk option. I opted to do the walk. While I was waiting for that. I meandered around a little hitting some Pokéstops in Pokémon Go. I watched as runners and walkers completed the race.

There was just a small group of people doing the walking part. I lined up when it was time and then suddenly, we were off! I kept up for a while. My pride didn’t want to be last to finish. I slowed a little when I got a coin or two but tried to make it up.

For the First Time, I Contemplated Quitting a Race

As expected, the pain started creeping up. I gradually fell further behind everyone else. Thoughts crept in about how much it sucked to be last, which had never happened to me before. I mean, SOMEONE has to be last, and it’s not the worst thing in the world….but when I was having trouble hobbling along anyways, it added insult to injury. As I worked my way through the second lap, I fought with myself after quitting soon.

My Cheesy Movie-Worthy Motivational Moment

Suddenly I heard music faintly from the distance from another event in the park. As I kept moving, I figured out that it was “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten.

As I heard lyrics like:

“Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me”

a sort of grim determination set in. I wasn’t in this one to win. I hadn’t been able to train and I was in pain. But I WOULD finish. After Lap 3, I checked in to get my medal so I wouldn’t keep them waiting. I then set off to finish the race by completing Lap 4. And I did it! I think it took me about 1 hour and 20 minutes in total. A little hard to think about compared to times from before. but I completed the Gamer Dash 5K.

My medal from the Gamer Dash 5K

Lessons Learned From This Race

  • Never Give Up, Never Surrender! One of my favorite quotes from Galaxy Quest is the key to accomplishing so many things in life. I pushed through the challenges and kept on going.
  • Winning isn’t everything Now, I’ve never been one to place first in a 5K or anything like that. It just made my pride smart for a short time, thinking about how I was dead last. It doesn’t really matter in the long run. I won to my own satisfaction by finishing at all.
  • I want to do more geeky races This was a ton of fun. A medal shaped like a game controller that lights up is pretty awesome. This club and others allow you to do a themed race virtually even if you don’t live nearby.
  • I need to train more and lose weight It’s been a long year with a lot of pain, but it is getting milder for now. I should do whatever I can, like doing some more Just Dance for weight loss.

Have you ever been tempted to quit a race? What happened?