#24 - Run a 5K

I have some clarifying to do because I know there are several different categories of readers on my blog.  There are those who grew up with me, went through high school with me, and haven't seen me since.  There are those who have only known me in my adulthood.  There are those of you who might not know me at all.

Here's a little history.  In high school, I was fit.  I ate a lot of Doritos, but I worked them off playing sports.  I ran constantly, both literally and in the form of having lots of commitments and being a busy-body.  I went away to college, where I didn't play organized sports, but for the first year I did pretty well keeping up with the exercise.  We had a nice gym and I had a running partner.  I ate mashed potatoes and gravy at every meal, and I wasn't nearly as active as I had been, so the pounds started to pack on.  Not *a lot* of pounds, but there is some truth to that Freshman 15 thing.  I gained that all in the form of a portly little belly.  My sophomore year in college, I got pregnant with Ben.  My eating habits didn't change.  My sleeping habits got worse.  I was young and just trying to get by.  I gained 40 pounds during the pregnancy, and things kind of went downhill from there.

Long story short, after three kids, I am hovering at 35 lbs higher than I was in high school and I have been out of the "serious exercise" habit for about seven years.  Nice.

Needless to say, when I signed up for the Cantrell Center 5K back in January, I was a little nervous.

I started training very slowly, beginning with a mile around the neighborhood and slowly adding distance to it.  I had worked up to 2.9 miles around the neighborhood by a week before the race, so I was pretty confident that I could do it.  (Thanks to www.mapmyrun.com for their awesome help figuring out my route distances!) 

For many of the items on my list I have unwritten rules that apply in order for a task to count as "completed" and the 5K was no exception.  When I said "run" a 5K, that is what I meant.  I couldn't cross it off if I walked at all.  So that was my goal. 

Wednesday before the race, I intended to practice the actual course.  It was raining that day so I went Thursday instead (to allow for at least one rest day in between).  I ran the course, walking for about 30 seconds around the twenty minute mark after I waited for a car to pass so I could cross the street.  It just so happened that intersection was at a nice up-hill spot, so I had a good excuse to walk a couple of mailboxes.  I finished with a time of 29:10 on my cell phone stopwatch.

I don't really know what 5K times should be, but I knew this meant I was around at a 9+ minute mile and that made me sad.  I reminisced to my fit days back in high school when I consistently ran miles under 7 minutes.  I tried to tell myself that it was okay, it wasn't about the time.  I tried to remind myself that I am not 17 anymore and that I haven't run in seven years.  I tried to focus on the fact that I had *only* walked for 30 seconds, so surely I could run the entire thing on Saturday.

Race morning arrived.  I ate a Special K bar, enjoyed a cup of coffee, put on my racing shoes, grabbed my ear buds, and left an ailing Sam home with the three kids so I could make it happen.

In the interest of brevity (too little too late, huh?), it was really cold and I ended up way in the back of the pack of 1100 racers that morning.  When the air horn blew to start the race, I tried to set my pace, and bobbed and weaved around the walkers to get to my one and only programmed speed.  I ran right beside someone for the first mile.  It got hilly and she changed her pace on the hills, so I ended up in front of her and went on solo for the rest of the run.

It's amazing how much easier it is to stay motivated to keep going when you have a whole slew of people running in front of you and behind of you.  As corny as it sounds too, it really helped seeing those strangers on the side of the road cheering us on.  They were really proud of us.  It was so encouraging.  I can only *imagine* how marathoners must feel. 

I got to the point that I started walking on my practice run and realized that I hadn't even thought about stopping yet.  I wasn't having to give myself the internal pep talk to keep going.  I was just doing it, and that gave me such a boost.  I was excited because I knew I had about a mile to go, which meant about 9 minutes left and I told myself, "I can do anything for 9 minutes."

On the final stretch, I tried to open up and run faster, but I was stuck at my one and only programmed speed.  When I reached the finish line it took me about one step to slow down to a walk.  I helped myself to a complimentary water, banana, and oatmeal cookie (they hid that good stuff in the back corner).  Then I hopped in the car with a big smile on my face and headed home to relieve Sam.

I feel like a big dork for being as excited as I was and still am about it.  I had planned to treat myself to a nice hot coffee at Dunkin' Donuts on the way home for completing it without walking at all, and completely forgot about it until I was home.  Apparently, running a 5K in its entirety was reward enough.

To sum up the results, I ran it in 28:55 with a pace of 9:19 per mile.  I ranked 297th out of 1189 runners.  I was 85th in my gender.  In my age group (25-29) I was 16th out of 99.  And for those of you who would like to see what it looks like to suck wind at the end of a 5K, you can see my picture here.

It's a far cry from high school, but I'm not in high school anymore.  I was very pleased with how it turned out.  More than that, I was tickled.  I am so glad I did it, and I foresee signing up for more 5K's in the future to keep my lazy rear-end motivated.

Run a 5K...check!


Cara said...

Wow! Congrats on running a 5k!

CLewis said...

Way to go!! Running is like pure torture to me. I always wished I enjoyed it more but not only do I suck at it, I also hate it. You should be proud of your accomplishment:)

Debbie said...

Congratulations! A little birdie from Sunday School told me that you had done it. I was anticipating the report.

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