I’m new to running and ran my first 5K; can I call myself a runner now?

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.

running loving living blog

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).

 new to running

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!

new to running

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)

 new to running

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!)

 new to running

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? 


Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.

Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.


  1. you and I are SOOOOOOOOOOO alike.
    never done a 5k here.
    did a half marathon once as part of a media mixer.
    Im no runner.
    Miz recently posted…We’re doing shots!My Profile

  2. I can’t imagine doing a half marathon; my oomph was pretty much gone by the end of the fifth km. Maybe if I were wearing a tutu and waving a magic wand I’d feel differently…

  3. LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congrats! In my late 20’s to early 30’s I did 5ks. I even placed & won a couple BUT I WAS NEVER A RUNNER! I never loved it like many. My knees started to hurt with me pushing to run so fast so I decided long term exercising was more important & I stopped races. I still run but I am not a runner! 😉
    Jody – Fit at 54 recently posted…Check Out my Calves & Glutes!My Profile

  4. You are a rockstar!! It takes me 48 mins to do a 5K but I am not as fit as you! My most recent 5K was the Race for the Cure and that was the first time I decided to actually run a little. I recently signed up for a half marathon that I am training for and we ran 9 miles last week and we have 8-10 miles on Saturday to do. I’m the worlds slowest runner but thats ok.
    Melanie recently posted…8 no wait 9 miles!!My Profile

    • Holy cow! I can’t imagine a half, let alone a full marathon! Keep me posted on your training!
      P.S. I had three solid hours of knitting while traveling today. Bliss! Started a new wrap with Plucky Knitter Primo fingering. It’s beautiful yarn!

  5. I haven’t done a 5K, but I have done a few 10k’s…slowly. My first 10K was in 2006, to get my body back from what I thought was my last pregnancy. After my last baby in 2007, I reluctantly got back into working out, and my son urged me to do the sun run with him in 2010 (he was 8 at the time). I am not a runner, I don’t particularly enjoy running, but I will do it for my son. He loves the annual Sun Run, and this year we did the 10k in just over an hour. He wants to do it under an hour next year when he is 10. He might be running waaaaayyyyy ahead of me!

  6. Great job! I don’t even remember my first 5k it was so long ago:) I love to run, so I usually feel excited and ready to do another race after every race I do. So, are you ready for the next one?:)
    hikermom recently posted…I Am in the Club!My Profile

  7. Great job!!! Now the next question is will you become addicted to racing and running.

    • Ha, ha! Knew that somebody would ask! I’ll certainly run again, but not sure I want to get into racing. That would entail actual training!

  8. That is awesome, Tamara! So funny that you didn’t even realize what you were signing up for. 🙂 Um, yes- you are totally a runner. That’s a great time! Especially for not running in years- I’m impressed.
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…Mixing protein powder and runnersMy Profile

  9. Tamara, this is awesome! Good for you & congratulations!!!

    Sarah recently posted…Sweating In A Giant Fish BowlMy Profile

  10. Like I said on twitter – that’s so impressive! Your time is awesome. I’m really inspired by your 5km 😀
    Kate recently posted…Marathon Training – what they don’t tell youMy Profile

  11. That’s a great time for your first 5km attempt…in fact thats similar to my first 5km competition event so …you suck! PS – I love your Adidas!
    kirri White (@kirri_white) recently posted…What self-compassion is not.My Profile


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