I’ve been “secretly” training for my first 5K race for the past couple months. I mean “secret” because I didn’t mention a word about it on the blog, though my family and friends (and twitter )were well aware. The reason I didn’t tell you guys? I honestly did not think I would really be able to do it. I have never been a runner, and I have never been “in shape”. I was on the track team for one week in high school before I quit because it was too hard. I decided to run this race this morning mainly to prove to myself that I could accomplish it! And I DID!
Before the race I was incredibly nervous. I literally sat in bed for over two hours last night with my eyes closed and the lights off, completely unable to fall asleep because of my nerves. I kept thinking about all the things that could go wrong, all the things I wasn’t sure of. It’s hard not knowing at all what to expect! I started to feel a little better this morning but was still crazy nervous. My brother David was running with me which really helped. We’re both race newbies though and felt quite out of place when we arrived!
Luckily for us, the course was fairly flat and the weather was cooperating even though we’re right in the middle of a heat wave. David and I found a nice comfortable spot in the back of the pack and went for it!
Mile 1 went by really fast. I think I was running on nerves and I literally could not believe it when we got to the Mile 1 water stop. After that things got a little more difficult.
Mile 2 had some pretty unfortunate hills, and we both took at least a few walk breaks to recover from that. Somewhere during this mile I also had a mild asthma attack…which was no fun. I’ve had asthma all my life but have almost entirely grown out of it. But every once in a while, when doing strenuous exercise, I have a lot of trouble breathing.
The last mile was a total blur. A lot of the people near us started to burn out and I used that as motivation to keep pushing so that I could pass them. It totally worked! I passed a dude and a couple women in that last stretch and sprinted at the finish. It paid off because when I got to the finish line the race coordinator told me my time was 35:15! That’s 10 MINUTES FASTER than I’ve ever run that distance!
Sadly when I looked around for our family at the finish line, they weren’t there. They got turned around on the way to the race and weren’t able to find the finish line. There weren’t any spectators either or anyone cheering so the finish was not AT ALL what I was expecting. But David and I were still both so happy that we made it and finished in such good time (he finished right behind me).
The disappointment from the underwhelming finish line situation quickly wore off when I checked my iPhone for the full race results and realized that I came in 1ST PLACE IN MY AGE GROUP. I didn’t even believe it was true at first, but then sure enough they called my name out in the awards ceremony. I got a shiny medal and a gift certificate to Dick’s Sporting Goods! I have never won a medal in my ENTIRE LIFE. If I look a little bit like I’m trying not to cry in this picture, it’s probably because I was.
Mind you, I realize that my time was not actually stellar and that the reason I won was because there were CLEARLY no pros running in my age group. But that didn’t take anything away from it for me. I feel more proud of myself than I have in a long time and so in shock that my body was actually capable of doing this. I won first place. ME. ME! What? Me. I don’t believe it. But I like it.
I encourage every single one of you RIGHT NOW to sign up for a race in your area even if you’ve never run before in your life. You will be amazed at how much it challenges you and how incredible it feels to accomplish it. Just try it. IF I CAN DO IT, ANYONE CAN. I mean that.
Thanks for reading!