Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Journey to Running a 5K

If you don't know already I am doing a 5K this Saturday morning.  I am a little nervous.  This race is important to me because it will be the first time I run a whole 5K.  Signing up for the race was a bit nerve racking, but I have committed to doing it, and that is what I plan to do.  I have walked two other 5Ks before, a Turkey Trot in 2008 and the Reindeer Run in December 2009, so I kind of know how the whole thing is organized.

My brother, sister, and me Thanksgiving Day 2008
The Turkey Trot was a family activity we did one Thanksgiving and it was fun.  Not everyone was super enthused about doing it, but we all had a good time and the registration fee went to help feed those in need.  This race was before I made my real healthy living change, so I was not really prepared to do it.  I had been having several ankle issues.  My ankles must have been very weak or something because I kept rolling my left ankle doing everyday things (not good), it even happened the morning of this race, but luckily it was nothing serious.  I ended up walking the whole thing with my mom and finished in about 57 minutes.  It was kind of tough, but a great way to start Thanksgiving Day.  When I got back to school in January I decided to make a change in how I was living my life and joined Weight Watchers, thus beginning my new healthy living lifestyle.  
The Reindeer Run last December was kind of a last minute decision.  I had been losing weight for almost a year then and had lost around 45 pounds.  I had also been walking pretty consistently and attending a body tone exercise class twice a week.  I was looking for 5K to do and when I found this one online I asked my mom if she would walk it with me.  I was really excited about this race.  We walked most of the race, but had a few minutes of running mixed in and of course a final run through the finish line.  We finished it in about 43 minutes.  It was a way better race than the Turkey Trot the year before.  My ankle issues seemed to have disappeared over the year (I contribute it to the walking and body tone classes) and my general fitness and health was much improved.  I remember looking at the pictures we took after the race and for the first time noticing that I looked different. 

"That Picture"
My mom and me before the Reindeer Run 2009
My friends and family had noticed my weight loss along the way and that was encouraging, but I don't think I could really see the change in myself until I saw that picture.  I had noticed the number on the scale going down, but it was always in the back of my mind of how much more I needed to lose.  I did recognize that I could wear different clothes and that I was getting stronger (thanks to that wonderful group exercise class), but looking at that picture really hit home for me.  I thought I looked happier, more comfortable, healthier.  It is interesting to see yourself in a picture, because you have this idea of what you look like in your head, but getting an outside view was eye-opening in my case.  All of that is to say that it was a good race and a good day.  It was encouraging and motivating to see that my hard work and dedication was paying off.  It was the longest I had ever committed to a "diet" which it wasn't really because it was how I planned to live my life.  That is the mindset I had when I decided to join WW.   It is not a diet, because those are temporary, it is a lifestyle change and I am worth making a change for.  I feel like after the race was when I realized I was actually doing this and I could keep doing it forever.  It really was a great feeling.

This of course leads up to the Celebration of Running this Saturday.  Last night we stopped by Track Shack to pick up my race packet.  It came with a d-tag, race shirt, chapstick, energy bar, and crackers.  Track Shack was also having a sale where everything in the store is 20% off.  I actually found an awesome running shirt that was half-off and I bought a running hat, because I needed one that would breathe more.  I can't believe the race is in two days.  I have been learning to run over the past two months and it is all culminating in this race.  My goal is to run the whole thing.  Reading around other blogs and websites they tell me that if I can run 28-30 minutes than I can do a 5K; the adrenaline from the race experience will power me through the race, and I am hoping that is true.  I am nervous about it because I really want to run the whole thing.  I need to think that I can though because I have learned through my training experience that running is not just physical, but mental as well, so I am trying to stay positive. (My new quote for the week is what I am trying to focus on; I've got the nerve to run this race!)  I am not racing for a particular time, just the accomplishment and joy of crossing the finish line knowing that I ran the whole way.  I am excited by the prospect!  Wish me luck! I will post a race recap this weekend and let you know how it went!
Do you have any tips or stories about running your first 5K? 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Running my first race was empowering and yours will be too. The more you challenge yourself, the more you realize you can do! Running a race is a great way to celebrate your accomplishments! You rock !

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