Today, I am basking in the feeling of having accomplished a major goal. And, while I am very physically sore because of it, it’s still an awesome feeling!
From May, 2003 to September, 2006, I lost 110 pounds. I hit a plateau at 75 pounds, and as a last resort to break through that plateau, I started running. I had never been into sports and rarely exercised before I started my weight loss journey, so running was a big step for me. I used the Couch to 5K program to learn how to run. Then, when I finished that, I decided I needed to challenge myself further, so I signed up to run the IU Mini Marathon in September, 2006.
I met my weight goal just before I ran it. I then signed up to run the Hoosiers Outrun Cancer 5k in October, 2006. After that, I continued to run to maintain my weight loss, but didn’t enter any other races.
Then, in September, 2007, I enrolled in grad school. I continued to work full time while attending graduate classes full time. As a result, I had no time to workout regularly, and my eating habits became horrid. Over the 2 years that I was in grad school, I gained all the weight I had lost back.
I promised myself that when I graduated in May, 2009, I would re-focus on my health. And, I kept that promise. I started weight training with a friend 3 times a week, and I decided to re-learn how to run. I knew I needed a goal in order to stay motivated, so I signed up to run the Jill Behrman 5k.
I broke out the Couch To 5K training program again, and over the summer I ran 2 – 3 times a week. And, today, I met the goal I set for myself back in May: I ran a 5k!! 🙂 🙂
So, here is my race reflection:
I did not feel prepared for it. Due to sickness and a crazy-busy social schedule over the last month, I missed several planned training runs. I was barely able to make it 3 miles on a flat surface, yet I was planning to run 3.1 on a VERY hilly course. So, I was nervous. I was tempted – briefly – to not do it because I didn’t feel prepared.
When I started to have that temptation, you know what I did? I signed up to run the Indianapolis 500 Mini Marathon next May! After, I did that, my attitude about the Jill Behrman 5k changed. Instead being the final goal, it now became the first step in reaching the larger goal of the Indy 500 Mini.
I told myself that I would use it just for training and to set a basline for a 5k pace that I can work to improve upon before May. So, I showed up this morning, even though the thought of running up those hills scared the bejeezus out of me! Especially the hill on Law Lane!
It was 42 degrees and very windy when I arrived at the stadium–not very comfortable. But shortly after I arrived, they did a group warm up, and after I got my blood flowing, I was able to take off my jacket.
The last time I ran a 5k in 2006, I started up near the start line, which was a big mistake because that’s where the faster runners start. I ended up starting off at a pace that was too fast for me and losing steam early. Plus, it’s pretty demotivating to have people continuously pass you for the first mile. So, I decided to start at the end of the pack, with the walkers. (Really, my ‘run’ is more of a slow jog/fast walk, anyway.)
The gun blew and we all took off. I began jogging and worked my way over to the side because I knew I would be passed by the faster runners for a while. Near the end of mile 1, we turned onto Law Lane. And, there was the hill I had been dreading. At that moment, Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” came on my iTunes, and I took a deep breath, checked my form, and went for it.
I made it up about halfway, then realized that if I didn’t stop and walk, I wouldn’t be able to run much more of the race, and we were only in mile 1. So, I walked to the top, then started running down it. I walked through the water stop at mile 1.5, and then started jogging again. We then turned left onto Lingelbach and I found myself facing another hill. This one wasn’t as steep as the one on Law Lane, but it was longer. Again, I ran up about half of it, then I walked the rest. When I got to the top, I started jogging again.
At this point, I was hurting. I was beginning to think I wasn’t going to be able to run much more. I could feel my pace slowing. We then turned on Jordan, where all the sorority and fraternity houses are. And, there I saw a couple of girls doing the walk of shame. This really amused me because they were walking in the midst of all these runners and seemed very oblivious, especially the girl who had her dress on backwards LOL
I then realized that for the entire race, I had focused on how I was feeling and if I was going to make it. One of the things I love about running around the IU campus is how beautiful it is. Especially now, with all the fall colors at peak. And, I had been paying no attention to any of that. So, I had a mental shift and quit focusing on how poorly I thought I was doing and began to notice all the beautiful trees and houses.
At mile 2, they told me I was at about 28 minutes. Well, no wonder I was so tired! The most I had ever run in my training was 30 minutes and that was on flat surfaces! And, I still had another mile to go. Hearing that time somehow gave me the push I needed. I could feel my pace increasing and I actually began to pass some people.
I gave it everything I had that last mile. When I turned into the stadium’s parking lot and saw the finish line, I got goose bumps. It became real to me that I was accomplishing a goal.
When I crossed the finish line, the time on the clock was 41:13. However, I did not cross the start line right at 00:00, since I was at the back of the pack. So, I’m guessing my actual time is closer to 40 minutes, which would be a pace of 13 minutes per mile. And, that is better than I expected. I was figuring a 45 minute finish time. 🙂 They’ll post the official times online sometime in the next few days and I’ll get the official pace that I will now be working to improve.
When I ran the 5k in October of 2006, I was in the best shape of my life, and I finished it in 29:50. Considering that I weigh 70 pounds more now than I did then, and I’ve only been training for 5 months this time when last time I had trained for over a year, I am very pleased with the results.
Oh, and, losing 30 pounds in the process of training over the past 5 months is a nice bonus!
Now, I’m going to rest this weekend (or try to anyway…going to a show tonight so I know I’ll want to dance LOL), and my next scheduled running day, Tuesday, will be the continuation of my training for the half marathon next May.
UPDATE: My official time was 40:32.9, pace of 13:03. I finished 582 out of 765 overall and 17 out of 28 in my age group (36 – 39).