3.1 Miles Later
September 21st, 2014
I ran my first 5K race today. My time was 44 minutes, 10 seconds and I ran the whole way.
Frankly, I was shocked.
I diligently followed my Couch-to-5K running program, hitting the pavement three times a week for the past two months and slowing working myself up to being able to run for thirty minutes without stopping. I hit that milestone earlier this week.
Unfortunately, at about the six week mark, I had a horrifying realization. The Couch-to-5K creators are Big Fat Liars.
The premise of the program is that running thirty minutes equals running five kilometers (just over three miles). Well, not for me it doesn’t!
It turns out that it takes me thirty minutes to run about two miles. And this is not atypical for a standard, marginally athletic thirty-something who hasn’t done much running.
I.e. the type of person who might be doing the Couch-to-5K training program…
In any case, I went into the race today resigned to the fact that I wouldn’t be able to run the whole thing. My goal was to run for thirty minutes, walk for a while to recover, then try to muster the will to jog some more.
But then a funny thing happened. I kept going.
It took me a while to find my pace. I started out too fast, spurred on by adrenaline and the pack of runners ahead of me. But once I slowed down and let the pack pull ahead, I found my stride. It was a slow stride, to be sure. (Several fast walkers passed me…) But it was a jogging stride. And I just kept going.
The race course looped around a bit, circling around the local college before winding up on the main drag through town. I had given myself permission to walk after I got past the college, certain that I’d be on my last legs by then. But when I got to my designated resting point, I realized I could see the finish line. It was still a long ways off, but I could SEE it.
That was the high point for me.* Not crossing the finish line (though that was cool). The best moment was the instant that I realized I was going to run the whole thing. The moment it occurred to me that I was going to make it.
That was awesome.
And then there was Miss Mouse. She was upset to hear that I wouldn’t be receiving an award for my efforts, so she gave me a string of Mardi Gras beads. “It’ll be like our own secret award, Mommy. I’m proud of you.” Me too, baby. I’m proud of me, too!
*Sidebar: the low point of the race was when I got lapped by a guy pushing a double stroller (with two kids in it). Whoever you are, buddy, know that I don’t like you very much.