#14/30: Run a 5k

Happy Tuesday! I recently revamped my 30 Before 30 List and decided to start sharing some of the progress I've already made. This morning the Shamrock Marathon Facebook page posted this picture


and I knew which item on my list I needed to share today. It's an oldie but a goodie, the one that started it all - my first 5k!

A lot of people who know about my running tell me how a 5k is on their bucket list, or how they've walked a 5k or two but want to really run one. I love these comments and have nothing but encouragement for these people! If you're one of them and don't know where to start, I can't sing the praises of Couch to 5k enough. I had never run in my life and had no clue how to even start. The idea of running ONE mile seemed like a task for Hercules. I had no idea how 3...in a row...without stopping...was even humanly possible. I fully credit that program with teaching me to run. There are a billion apps you can download but I just used that website. I looked at it before my run and saw what intervals I needed to do, then I timed them with my phone. I was pretty low-tech back then. Oh how things have changed...

So, on to my first 5k race. Technically, I have two first 5ks: the first one I ever did, and the first one I ever ran. I completed the former about a month into Couch to 5k so I did a combination of running and walking. I still count it as one of my races, but I didn't feel like I had truly completed a 5k (the way I wanted to anyway), until I finished the latter one.

I finished the C25k program in August 2011, but I still had never run a continuous 3.1 miles. The program is based on time more than distance, and it culminates in a 30-minute run. I was running somewhere in the 12:00 - 12:30 minute mile pace range, so 30 minutes was only about 2.5 miles. After I finished the program I fell off the wagon a little (I think I ran twice in the whole month of September, oops), so I didn't really "train" for this race, per se. I wasn't planning on running it, but my dad mentioned it to me and I think we signed up a week or two before the race.

I still remember what song was playing when I turned on my iPod at the start line: "Oh No" by Girl Talk. Which is kind of ironic because, at the speed I was running, I don't think anyone really had to move and get out of my way. It's also a pretty small race with only a few hundred participants which, in retrospect, was probably a good thing. There were always people around so I never felt lonely, but I also never got in any traffic jams.


The race course is pretty neat because it runs around and through our big outdoor music amphitheater here (fun Latin/Greek nerd fact for the day: amphi means both so really an amphitheater is a full circle even though we call the half-circle theaters amphitheaters). All I really remember about the actual running part is that it was slow and steady. So slow, in fact, that Ben was able to answer a phone call about 2 miles in and have a full-on conversation with his sister for about 5 minutes.

One thing I thought about a lot during the run was that it was my cousin's birthday that day. He was killed in 1999 at age 9 - he would have turned 22 on race day. I thought about the fact that I was doing something he never had the opportunity to do, and that kept me going when it got hard. That's still one of my go-to thoughts when I just don't feel like running anymore: keep going for those who can't.


It's nice to think back on this race and realize how pure of a moment crossing the finish line was. I don't really remember looking at the clock when I finished. I had no watch to immediately stop and check to see how I did. I had Runkeeper going on my phone but I don't remember immediately checking that either. The only thing that mattered was that I had conquered something I never in a million years thought I'd have the strength or determination to conquer. It was such a feeling of bliss!

8 comments :

  1. Ha I sing that song when I'm in traffic. One day I'm going to win Mother of the Year. For now though, no guilt. :D

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  2. It's so cool that you thought of your cousin. And keeping yourself going because they never had that opportunity. Next time I run a race, it'll be for my grandpa :)

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  3. I love this. My first 5k was not so long ago, so that feeling is still so fresh in my mind, and I hope I never forget it. Like you, I never thought it was possible when I started running — I was just hoping to be able to run for more than a minute without collapsing! But look at you now! :)
    Also, the song I stepped off my first race to was "Love is an Open Door" from Frozen, haha! But I LOVE running to that Girl Talk album! It's one of my favorites

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  4. I'll be running my first 5K since being back next month and it's really refreshing to see I'm not the only one who says things like "the way I wanted to" when it comes to a race. It's so great to see where you started to see where you are now ! Super inspirational :)

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  5. This is so inspiring! I tried the Nike 5k app a few weeks back and it was WAY too hard to start, but I started the actual C25K app last week and I really like it so far- I'm shooting to run a 5k in September and my goal will be to run the entire thing-- which still seems close to impossible at this point :) Thanks for sharing your first race story!

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  6. GIRL TALK. i like you even more now.

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  7. that is awesome! on my bucket list!!

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  8. this was such a great read - i feel like you described my first 5k. and look how far you've come! brilliant.

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