I know a lot of you have been keeping up with my new love for running. I never thought I would be a runner, but here I am, running regularly and loving it.
Up until recently, the most I had run was a 5K, 3.1 miles, and I’d completed two of those. We ran in our first 5K in March, and my time was 45 minutes. I improved my time by a few minutes in my second race in April, which I finished in 42 minutes.
On Saturday, even though neither of us had ever run five miles before, my husband and I ran in a five mile race. We didn’t intentionally set out to run in the Contraband Days Five Miler. I signed up to run virtually in the HER 5K, but since we were out of town for Mother’s Day, I called my sister to ask if I could join her running club’s Saturday morning run to complete the 5K with them. The club, however, was running in the five miler, so we decided to join them. I would wear my sister’s GPS watch to get an accurate time and distance for the HER 5K race, and then keep running the five miler.
But I changed my goal. Instead of trying to beat my pace and time in the HER 5K, which is only 3.1 miles, my goal was to have the stamina to complete the five miler. I read advice from Jeff Galloway and decided that there was no shame in walking occasionally during the race, if that’s what enabled me to complete the race without an injury.
I also knew that I would be the last person to cross the finish line, but I tried not to dwell on it. As a perfectionist, these kinds of thoughts hurt my pride and can easily keep me from running. In general,
if I’m not good at something, I don’t even want to try.
Terrible, I know, but it’s completely true. I’ve had to let go of that attitude with running.
Because I hadn’t trained for a longer run, I was really nervous. Two days beforehand, I ran four miles to challenge my body and see if I could do it. I was completely shocked to see that I really could run four miles, and walking for a minute after completing each mile really enabled me to recover quickly and keep running. Five miles suddenly felt possible.
On race day, I felt terrible. We arrived at my mom’s house in Louisiana around 11 pm, and it was well after midnight by the time we got the kids and ourselves in bed. Sleeping near me in the pack and play, my nine month old decided to wake up several times during the night to nurse, so by the time my alarm went off at 5:30 am, I felt like I’d been run over by a Mack truck. But I got up, fed the baby (again) so that I could leave him with my mom for a few hours, and got ready for the race.
The race itself was amazing. The weather was perfect for it, breezy and cool in the morning, though it warmed up quickly, and my husband and I had almost forgotten about that South Louisiana humidity. The route was beautiful, running along Lake Charles on Shell Beach Drive.
I started walking for a minute at a time around the 1 mile point, way before I felt tired, as Galloway had suggested. When I neared the 2 mile point, I started walking again, but as I walked, I looked at my time and realized I could actually beat my 5K time. I ran hard, and when I saw other runners stopping to walk as they approached mile 3, I kept going so that I could beat my time.
After I finished the 5K, I took a walk break to recover, and I continued to walk/run until I hit the four mile mark. I wanted to run the entire last mile, and I knew that I could push myself to do it. As I ran that last mile, I started passing up runners who had passed me long ago in the race. And when I neared the finish line, I ran harder so that I could get the best time and pace possible.
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