On Saturday morning, I ran my first 5K race.
Starting out was tough. Even running for just a minute was hard for me. When my app would tell me to walk, I was super-relieved. I couldn’t imagine how I was going to get to the point that I could run for five minutes straight, let alone 5 kilometres.
But, I kept at it. I did my best to fit in three runs per week and, slowly, it started to get easier.
During my final week of training, I managed to run for 30 minutes straight after a five-minute warm-up walk. I felt pretty good and knew that I would be able to run for the full 5K.
Race day arrived and the morning was a little bit hectic. D was working, so my parents agreed to come help with the kids. I loaded up the car with stroller, diaper bag and my running stuff. Off we went. The race was in a park pretty close to home, so the drive was quick. Unfortunately, parking close to the start line was limited and we had to drive pretty far to find a spot. I ended up setting up the stroller for my mom so she and the kids could start walking. Then my dad dropped me back at the start line before heading off to find a parking spot. (I couldn’t handle the thought of walking a few kilometres before running 5K!)
I felt a little weird once my dad drove away. I was on my own in a crowd of people. Loud music was blasting. I had to pee so I stood in line for that. Then I realized that, in my haste getting out of the car, I had forgotten to grab my running gloves. Crap. Oh well. The weather was pretty decent so I could survive without them.
I started to wander around and then saw a familiar face walk by. One of my work colleagues was there! I caught up with her for a minute (hadn’t seen her since before Bo was born) and that totally helped calm me down.
My mom and boys made it to the start area at that point so I hung out with them for a couple of minutes until it was time to get ready to run.
The next part was probably the most nerve-wracking for me. I said goodbye to my family and made my way to the start area. I positioned myself in the “36 minutes +” area because I wasn’t really sure how long it would take me. My goal was to do it in under 40 minutes (I’m not very fast) so I figured this was a good place to start. I re-tied my shoelaces and got my phone strapped onto my arm. I put in my earphones. Someone called my name. It was my fitness instructor – the woman who teaches my mommy and baby fitness class. She is the one who convinced me to do this and I was happy to see her there.
All of a sudden the race was starting. Off we went! I was happy to be starting because, at this point, I kind of just wanted to get the whole thing over with! This was the first time that I started off running without walking to warm up. I wasn’t sure how that would impact the overall run for me, but my goal was to run the entire time so I just started off pretty slow.
The run itself was pretty uneventful. Around the 2K point, I felt like I could probably go a bit faster so I sped up a bit. Other than that, I just chugged along, listening to my music and looking at the scenery (the leaves were looking pretty beautiful in the park!) It turned out to be a beautiful morning so I was very warm. My hands were freezing (those damn gloves!) but I tried my best to ignored that. The only part that really sucked was that I started to get a cramp with about 1/2 a kilometre left to go. So annoying! Luckily, I knew I was close to the finish and forced myself to keep running. I really, really wanted to walk but I’m stubborn and forced myself to run the whole way.
I rounded the final corner and could see my mom and Bo on the sideline. That definitely helped. I waved to them and wondered where my dad and Littleman were. Then I saw them up closer to the finish line. That’s when I glanced up at the finish line and saw the clock. 34:45. Eek! If I booted it, I could finish in under 35 minutes. Despite the cramp (and kind of feeling like I could barf!) I sprinted the final stretch and beat the clock. Yeehaw!
My instructor had finished just ahead of me (she’s 4 months pregnant by the way… I am so impressed!) and she gave me a big hug. Then we received our race medals together before I went to find my family.
My actual time was 34:24. I feel good about that. Actually, I feel good about the whole thing. I know running 5K is not a big deal to a lot of people but I never, ever imagined that I would run at all, so completing this race feels great. I didn’t start running until I was 36-years-old and after having two kids. I’m proud that I was able to accomplish this on my own in 8 weeks.
I don’t know if I’ll do another organized run or if I’ll train for a longer distance. I haven’t really thought that far ahead yet. But, running has made me feel good and I’ve been enjoying the time out of the house by myself, so I think I’ll keep it up for as long as the weather allows.
When Littleman saw my medal after the race, he asked, “did you win, Mommy?” I tried to explain the concept that everyone’s a winner. Since his only experience with medals is watching the Olympics, I don’t think he totally got it. That’s ok. I kind of felt like a winner, anyway!