If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I’m no runner.
I spin, step, weight lift, walk and generally live a very active lifestyle. Despite all the pressure around me (doesn’t it seem like ALL fitness bloggers are runners?), I’ve avoided it for most of my life. I never ran track and field. I always chose the outfield (waaaay out in the field) during softball so I wouldn’t have to sprint for the ball. I chose rowing over track and field.
There was a brief period of time (between my 2nd and 3rd pregnancies; that would be over 8 years ago now) when I pretended to be a runner. Three friends and I jogged lightly a couple of times each week as a prelude to coffee at Starbucks. We never timed our runs or worried about how long they were. And there was a significant amount of walking involved. Jogging served the function of cementing our friendship and carving out a few minutes in our busy days for ourselves.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Toni announced that she would be running (pun intended!) a SummerVirtual 5K/10K (it’s not too late to sign up and there are PRIZES!) over at her blog Running Loving Living.
Silly me, I thought that ‘virtual’ really meant ‘virtual’ (i.e., something you do over the computer), and although I wasn’t sure how a virtual run would work, in the spirit of camaraderie, I signed up!
Guess what? The running is real; the only virtual thing about the race is that we all run our own 5 or 10K and report our times back to her!
In for a penny, in for a pound, as my grandmother used to say.
So today, I laced up my new Adidas runners(I figured the day-glow laces might alert passer-byers to my body, should I trip and land in the bushes), strapped on my Timex Ironman Road Trainer, charged up my iPod and headed out for a run. (The last part of that sentence sounds so strange to my ears).
I had asked a running friend for a local 5K route that didn’t involve trails (I don’t need a sprained ankle right now) or locations of recent bear sightings (runners worry more about bears than evil strangers in my neighbourhood) or too many hills (you know that I live in the Pacific Northwest, right? my driveway is half way up a mountain).
My goal was to run the entire way. I had no idea how long it would take and frankly, wasn’t concerned at all with my time. Toni assured me that the whole thing would take less than 40 minutes. 40 MINUTES!
The first 10 minutes was a challenge; I won’t lie. My hips felt tight. My left knee a bit twitchy. I couldn’t get my breathing quite right. But by minute 12 I was into a groove. Not a terribly fast one, but I was still moving and breathing and actually enjoying the scenery as it flew by.
I hit the halfway point at just under 15 minutes! Perhaps it wouldn’t take me 40 minutes after all! Of course, the return trip was a long, slow incline; not very much elevation gain really, but my legs could definitely feel the difference. I was tempted to stop and walk a couple of times, but talked myself out of it. Mostly because I knew that it would be extremely difficult to start running again if I did.
I tried to keep from looking at my watch (why does it always feel like you’ve been exercising longer than you have?), but when I hit the last kilometre, I had to take a peek. Four K done and 24:25 on my watch. Holy crow! I realized that I might be able to do the entire 5K in less than 30 minutes if I upped my pace just a little for the remainder of the run.
Guess what? (My children are obsessed with guessing games right now; it’s rubbing off)
My first 5K in under 30 minutes! Can I call myself a runner now? (Cause I know I’ll have the sore hamstrings tomorrow to prove it!)
Thanks so much Toni for encouraging me to do something outside of my comfort zone! I didn’t hate it and may just do it again next week. Wonder if I can beat my time….
All you runners out there, tell me about YOUR first 5K!
Were you proud of yourself? Elated? Exhausted? Ready to run another one?