hey, i ran a 5k last weekend!
i know 3.1 miles is not very far. and my speed was ok, not particularly fast. but still, for somebody who was never able to run a less than 10 minute mile until this year... i'm proud of myself for this small achievement. i've never considered myself athletic or in good shape before, but having trained for and accomplished this goal has given me a confidence boost in an area i've long avoided out of laziness or fear of failure.
the race i participated in was called the "go go green 5k" and its proceeds benefited the peggy notebaert nature museum in lincoln park, chicago. it took place up and down the park on a crisp saturday morning, the kind that's perfect for an outside run. i was a little nervous because i wasn't used to running outside (i'd been training on a treadmill) or without my trusty gym playlist to zone out to, but all the buzz and excitement around me was definitely more than enough to get me pumped up and my legs moving!
as always, i had to be really careful to pace myself. it was definitely tempting to pass people or follow those who were passing me, but i knew those stretches of energy bursts would be short-lived, so i made sure to stay within my own comfort zone and really pay attention to my breathing/body. sometimes i made a little mental pacemaker - "one" step step step "two" step step step "three" step step step - to keep myself distracted from my labored breathing (isn't hearing your own heavy breathing so gross?) or to set a small mental goal to reach. it was only near the finish line and at the encouragement of my boyfriend that i picked it up into a full sprint - and to my surprise, finished in the best time i've ever ran, a 26:17.
one thing that definitely surprised me at the race was the diverse range of the runners. a 9 year old girl beat my time by more than five minutes. i was flabbergasted.. when i was 9 years old i was probably stuffing my face with popcorn and trying to level up my NeoPet.
having worked for and ran in a 5k, i think my next goal will be to run another one in a few months with a better time. i'd be really pleased with something less than 25 minutes, but i'll have to follow a strict training and resting schedule in order to avoid such wonderful things as shin splints and precariously loose toenails.
if you've never tried a race, i highly recommend it! it benefits a charity, it benefits your body, and maybe most importantly, it benefits your mind. trust me, if i can do it, you definitely can.