Well folks, I've done it. My first 5 k race.
Last October I committed to a 5 k race with some colleagues. I had never run, was out of shape, but what the heck. I told them to give me enough notice the following year, and I'd be in.
Fast-forward to June this year. I'm approaching my 33 birthday. Haven't run a meter yet. Fear sets in. I am on the couch end of the couch to 5k. The run is in the fall. A colleague recommends the NHS couch to 5 k program. I bite.
The program was full of ups and downs. It wasn't easy - but do-able. I managed to push through, always barely making it through each week. But so very happy that my recovery was improving, the distances were increasing. I had the occasional setback (Week 5 run 3 was a memorable one). To this day, I remember the points on my usual route that I struggled to run past. The points where I was gasping for air and trying to play it cool running past folks at the bus-stop.
Graduated late August. Ran, ran, ran through September, dropping my usual route to a fast 3 k which I love to this day (why aren't there any 3 k runs?!?)
Today I raced. I was nervous as heck. Wanted to throw up. Wanted to drop out. But I showed up and ran that 5k with a friend that was also working her way through the program. I thought of Laura and her positive attitude. I thought off all of you and your advice. Of Bazza and his comments on just traversing ground. Of Miss Wobble's realistic reminders and constant encouragement. Of Labshack's anticipating "let's go let's go' with her young pup. Of Miles Yonder and his impressive miles. And of juicyju's mantras and race day glam (which I skipped and regret!!!).
Anyhow, the run was fantastic. I didn't think I'd enjoy it - I'm a solo runner and love it that way. But the vibe and anticipation of the event was wonderful. The competition was fun. I was able to run really slowly at the start which was a goal of mine, and finished with a personal best and a sprint. I never would have thought that I'd have been here. Finishing a 5 k race was the goal, finishing it at a personal best was icing on the cake.
For those just starting - please stick with it. It's amazing where you'll go. Signing up for a race makes the goal even easier. The hardest step is getting started, everything after that is peanuts in comparison.
For me - this was what got me running - was the fear of this race I had committed to. For me, this was my personal graduation.
I am a graduate. I am a runner.
The best thing? This is only the beginning. I don't have crazy running aspirations. I don't want to run a marathon. I just want to run. And this is the best thing of all.
Happy trails folks.