This weekend I ran my first 5K as an official runner. I have walked and jogged many 5Ks in my time but my motivation was different. All the other 5Ks were for a charity I believed in. My last 5K in Seattle Bill came out and walked with me. I raised several hundreds of dollars for Alzheimer Awareness in honor of my Grandfather. This past weekend I signed up to run and run I did.
You might ask why on earth would we change our schedule while traveling to stay in a city for a 5K? Well about 6 months ago I joined a group that is a bit of an oddity. We were all together on a forum because we loved Disney and some of the people there wanted to also lose weight so before I came along a group was formed. The group has grown leaps and bounds over the year it has been around and I was lucky enough to hear about it when I started my weight loss journey again last year.
Many of the people in the group are runners. Back in February a few of the ladies in the group flew to Orlando to run in the Walt Disney World Princess Half Marathon. After the half marathon they posted pictures and they were so excited and energized that it became a bit infectious. Several others on the site started talking about doing it in 2013. I started thinking about it.
As we started traveling from where we stayed this winter in Florida to our summer jobs in Iowa I started running around the various RV parks we stayed in or at the gym we had joined. Running is a little difficult for me due to my bad knees but I discussed it with my doctor and she said just to watch for pain and be aware of what my body was telling me. She knows my rebellious spirit and if she told me I couldn’t do it I was going to go out and do it anyway.
So a month or two ago a few of the ladies on the site started talking about different races they planned to attend and the Mother’s Day 5K in Kansas City came up. It was a few days after we had planned to be in Iowa and Kansas City was the last planned stop before we arrived so after talking with Bill about it we decided to change our plans so I could meet some of the wonderful people that have been so supportive of me online. We arrived in KC the Sunday before the race and spent the week visiting different area attractions as well as getting to meet a good friend I have known only online for close to 8 years from my days at WizKids. It was a great week but I wasn’t feeling 100% and didn’t get any running in before the race.
Sunday arrived and it had been almost two weeks since I had run. I was very concerned about how long it was going to take me. I have been doing a 5K app from Jeff Galloway (a well known marathon runner) and I hadn’t completed the entire app. I had my time down to an 18-minute-mile which is actually pretty pathetic considering a normal person walking at a brisk pace is doing a 20-minute-mile. I figured if I beat my 18-minute-mile I would be happy.
We got to the race early and it was so wonderful meeting the four other ladies that would be running the race from the website. We had two of the ladies that have been running a lot longer then the rest of us and they came looking all professional. The other three of us are beginners and we did our best to look like we knew what we were doing.
The race started and there were over 3,000 people running. We were all in big groups with the slower people at the back. We stood and watched the first half of the people go and then finally we got started. Most of the people in the race didn’t understand that if you are walking you are supposed to keep right and I initially got stuck behind a big group not going very fast. I finally made my way around them and did my run/walk through the course. I really felt like I was not at the top of my game I was having some shin splints and so I walked more then I ran but when I hit mile 1 the guy calling out the time told me it was only 16 minutes. How could that be? He must be wrong.
The next mile my feet started to burn on the ball of my foot. I hadn’t run/walked over two miles yet and the new socks I had bought were not happy with my feet. I knew I would have blisters when I finally got done but no pain no gain. I hit mile 2 and the man called out 34 minutes. I smiled at him and told him he had just made my day. How on earth could I be under my 18-minute-mile? I thought for sure my walking must have put me over the 18.
Coming into mile 3 my ankle I twisted badly in October last year started to do me in. I had been babying it for the last two weeks trying to strengthen it with exercises but in the process of everything my hip screwed up. I knew the hip issue was directly related to my damn ankle and I would have to do a lot of stretching when I was done but I wasn’t going to quit now.
I came around the final corner and saw the time clock ticking away. It is amazing how much seeing that finish line can give you that one last final kick in the pants. I took off running my heart out crossing the line just under 54 minutes. Now I knew that it had taken a little time from the starting gun to me crossing the line but I didn’t know how much. I personally was extremely happy with the 54 minutes. That was 17:41-minute-mile which was faster then I had ever run.
We got the group back together for an after photo and some final hugs before saying goodbye. I got home and logged on to the race results page. My actual time was 51:11 which made it a 16:30-minute run. I am amazed and befuddled. I did it. No denying it… I actually did it. Now anyone that runs a lot might think that running 3.1 miles in 51 minutes is far from impressive and for a lot of healthy in shape people that could be true but I am not in shape and I am not very healthy right now. I am working to be healthy and in shape and this running is hopefully part of what is going to get me there.
Many runners have a moment where they finish a race and it starts to change their outlook. They feel like real runners. This race did that for me. Being able to come in so far under my best training time gives me hope that I will get faster and better then I have been. The Princess Half Marathon is 283 days away. I have to beat a 16-minute-mile to be able to complete the race. I am ¼ of the way there. Guess we will all see what happens.