I got busy with life and never finished journaling about my Couch to 5K experience.
The week before the race I did pretty well on my runs, had a better attitude, and started believing I could actually do this. That was a good week and a good feeling. Our last group run before the race was horrible. It was hot. My legs didn’t seem to want to work and I was running with a limp. That was weird. Nothing had happened, I had not overdone anything or injured myself previously – they just didn’t want to work. I ended up having to walk a larger portion of the end of that run than I should have. So I didn’t have the best confidence heading into race morning. I was exited the time was finally there and I was going to reach my goal. I was excited to do this thing with my friends. Before the race I did everything right as far as sleep, nutrition, hydration and warm up. But I was nervous. I felt so much better once I got to the starting line area and met up with the running group. It really is true that I couldn’t have (or wouldn’t have) done any of this without the group’s support and accountability. Being there with friends and the excitement of the festivities gave me the pump up I needed. I was excited to go. Three of us lined up in the 12 minute mile section, and although the other two are typically ahead of me on our runs I managed to keep up with them pretty well for the first mile. The first mile was great. Crowded, but felt good that I was at a good pace, passing some people, and didn’t even have to walk over the incline of the bridge. Nope, I did not stop once for that whole first mile. The periodic walk breaks did start a bit into mile 2 and I dropped further behind my faster friends as expected. Mile 2 was getting frustrating due to the amount of children walking on the left hand side of the path instead of keeping right. Don’t those little bastards know the rules? And where are their parents? That whole second mile I really tried positive self talk and kept chanting in my head, “the body is a machine, the body can keep going. The body is a machine, the body can keep going,” trying to convince myself I didn’t need to stop. There was an Asian teenage girl and a lady in her forties with a blonde ponytail that we kept all passing each other than slowing down, passing each other than slowing down. They kind of became my new running team, they just didn’t know it. When mile 3 started I was like “oh hell no, I am not walking any more, I can totally do this and I need to run across that finish line. When my family sees me I better be running. When the finish line camera snaps a photo, I better be running.” And I did muster whatever energy I had left to make sure I ran that final 0.1 mile. And then…”where’s the finish line? The Finish line should be here by now. Hey, there’s my coach waving. Hey, this has definitely been more than 0.1 miles since I crossed the river…. any second now, any second now.” Out loud I say to myself (panting heavily) “You can do this” and an older lady ahead of me turns her head, smiles, and says “Thanks I needed that.” Then we turned the corner, went another fifty yards and the Finish Line was finally there. Yes, come to find out that course was too long. Instead of 3.1 miles for the 5K, it was actually 3.3. Probably not a big deal to most, unless you are a first time runner trying not to collapse, then it makes a big difference. The farthest I had run up until that point was 2.9 miles. My final time was 43:22, which was around what I expected. But the timing didn’t matter to me so much as just finishing, staying upright, and being done. My husband and kids were right by the finish line cheering me on, which meant so much to me since they are not the most enthusiastic crowd-loving people, so I ran over for a quick hug as soon as I was done. Then met up with the running girls who all came in at all various times. It was an awesome feeling – we did it! Whew. This couch potato ran & completed her first 5K race!