Confession: I did something recently that, for those who know me, is very unusual. I’m not ashamed. I made my choice and I endured the consequences. Okay, here it is, I registered for a 5k. (Gasp).
I know what you’re thinking, “How could you,” “That’s so unlike you,” “Will you be okay?” “You’re becoming one of those people,” etc. This is shocking because the last time anyone might’ve considered me a runner was in 8th grade when I somehow thought signing up for cross country and track was a good idea. After that year, I retired my number.
So let me explain …
Perhaps you read my recent article about finding balance and becoming a more fit me! I’m not preparing to become the next great Olympian or something. In fact, I’ve never even considered myself athletic. My talents lie elsewhere. However, I have decided that some form of physical exercise is important.
I’m someone who thrives on motivation. If I don’t feel motivated by a task, I won’t complete it. I have to create little challenges for myself by setting goals. One of my recent goals was using my elliptical for 21 days. Another was preparing for and running a 5k.
I had initially planned to complete the first challenge before moving on to the second. But I got a bit ahead of myself. I told my mountain marathon running brother-in-law, Jordan, about my goal — but really, he ran the Leadville 100 last summer. We were planning to meet up six weeks later in Phoenix for baseball spring training. He got pretty excited and shared a 5K that happened to be taking place the same weekend as our trip. I felt like that was pretty convenient, but I’ve since realized there are runs occurring all the time. Seriously. Especially in states with consistently nice weather. But I felt compelled to sign up and run the race with him. After all, I thought, it would be nice to have an experienced runner to help calm the pre-race nerves I was sure to experience.
Jordan was really encouraging every step of the way. He sent me articles with tips, training schedules and even a GPS watch. This is something he’s clearly passionate about and I was curious to see what it was all about.
Well, I got ahead of myself for multiple reasons. One, I fooled myself into thinking that my 21-day elliptical challenge could actually prepare me for the run. I’m positive that it helped, no doubt! I went from zero daily exercise to using my elliptical every day for 21 days. But, there’s something about the full weight of your body hitting the pavement that an elliptical doesn’t completely prepare you for. Also, I live in a city and unfortunately, haven’t quite convinced myself that it’s completely safe to run alone outside.
I felt like I would have a couple advantages come race day. The weather would be beautiful and the course fairly flat. Also, even though it was a timed race it was more of a fun run for a good cause (Nun Run).
The morning of the race I got dressed, ate a banana, drank a little coffee (a little … things start moving when I drink my normal amount and there definitely wasn’t time for that) and grabbed a water bottle. We set off for the race (me, Jordan and my husband, who would’ve much rather stayed in bed). The feeling was mutual. But he got up to support us anyway. What a trooper! We blasted some tunes in the car and practiced our best 7a.m. karaoke. I was feeling better about this race thing with each passing high note.
We arrived and Jordan showed me how to pin on our numbers. I insisted we visit the port-a potties. I read this is a race day tradition and I wanted the full experience. The 10k runners started first and then we were up. My goal was to lightly jog the entire time. I knew at worst case I was fully capable of walking 3 miles, so I wasn’t in any physical danger (unless there was loose wildlife on the trail). Jordan started at the front of the pack because he is at the point in his race career where time matters. I held back with the childbearing crew.
There was no turning back. Ready or not, I was there in the thick of it and it was almost time to go.
Have you ever signed up for a 5k? How did it go? I’ll be sharing how the race went in my next post so stay tuned! —Katie