Running a 5K is something that I've been wanting to do for a couple of years now. So last week, when Brad told me that his firm was getting a team together for the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure, we decided to sign up.
Although I run at least 3-4 days a week, most of those runs are on the treadmill at 600 am. I only run outside once or twice a week, and I have no idea how far those runs are. I was very, very nervous all week and I can't really articulate why. I guess it was my inner teenage fat girl telling me that I couldn't do it. I was afraid I would finish in last place, even though intellectually I knew that would not happen -- there were thousands of people running, walking, and even some wheelchair participants.
Yesterday was the big day. I woke up, ate some toast, slathered on sunblock and got dressed. Brad and I drove the 3 minutes from our house to the state capitol building, where the festivities were in full swing. We saw a bunch of people we knew, and talking to them eased my nerves a bit. I had previously made Brad promise to run with me, even though his natural running pace is much faster than mine (he's an athlete and 7" taller than me).
Soon, the race was on! I made the most common rookie mistake and started at a much faster pace than I could sustain for 3.1 miles. After about one mile, I had to slow down and eventually take a 30 second walk break. After that, I began to run again, trying to keep my pace slower, but I had to take a few more short walk breaks in the second half of the race. I tried to keep them all to no more than a minute or two. Before long, the finish line was in sight and Brad and I picked it up for the last maybe 50 yards so we could finish strong!
When we crossed the finish line, the clock read 35:19. But the time chip didn't start recording until we crossed the start line and, since that took a little while due to all of the participants, I'm not sure what my official time was. I think it must have been 34-something minutes, which makes me super happy. My goal was to finish in under 37 minutes! Eventually the results will be online and I'll know for sure what my time was.
I'm so happy that I did this! I'm also so happy that my wonderful husband did it with me. He walked when I needed to walk, told me to slow down when I was going too fast, and made me laugh even when I felt exhausted. On top of all of this, he never runs and he has a 40-mile mountain bike race today in Virginia! So he risked sore knees at his race to be there for me.
I know that running 3 miles is not a long distance, nor is it a big deal for a lot of people. I also know that I did not run fast. But, for me, the fact that I even did it is a big deal. I tend to tell myself that I can't do things, and then I never even try. But now that I've done one 5K, I know I can do others. Then maybe a 10K?
The one bad thing is that, by the time we got to registration, they only had XL t-shirts left. I was hoping to be able to wear my shirt to the gym with pride, but it's so big that all I can really do is sleep in it. Ah well. Maybe next time.