The Three Things I Learned While Running A 5K

Today, I pinned a race number to my clothes and completed a 5K. These were all epic firsts for me since I’m not much of a runner and have lead a relatively sedentary life thus far.

I wasn’t always like this. As a child, my parents did the best they could to keep my brother and I active. We tried to play soccer with my dad, spent sunrise to sundown at playgrounds, played tennis, went skiing, and was involved in school sports as we got older. I was even part of an aerobics dance team in elementary school led by my P.E. teacher. I’m pretty sure my downfall came in college.

Physical education was a requirement including a swim test in my college, but I was too busy making friends, joining clubs, and relishing in utter and complete freedom from watchful parental eyes. Plus, I had discovered buffalo wings.

I tried hard to make amends and went to the gym after I graduated, but it never quite stuck. So fast forward to now as I see my forties approaching like a runaway train…I have kid who has boundless energy and I want to be a good example. I also am aging and need to take care of my body better. For all these reasons and more, I thought I should get active and get moving. Then, as I usually do, I opened my big mouth to five of my friends and said, “We should run a 5K together since we are all talking about getting fit and getting healthy!”

Since these ladies move fast, I found myself committed to the Jolly Jaunt and to running. Today, despite the fact that it was raining and freezing, I got myself out there to complete the 5K. My friends were there with me (including my very pregnant friend who cheered us on!) and we were off. For each mile I ran, I learned some important things that I thought I would share with you:

Mile 1: The start of a race is always exciting. After the runners start going, though, your body may feel like a ton of bricks – if it’s freezing cold outside. Warm up is essential. I should’ve paid more attention during the warm up session that was going on. Most of the people, in the photo below, were actually dancing and paying attention to the fun warm up. I was too busy taking pictures because I’m a blogger first.

Mile 2: The downhill helps, but it’s also a mental thing. The first mile wasn’t so bad, but as you are trying to get to mile 2, all sorts of thoughts came into my head. “I could just cut across this course…Maybe I should just walk the rest of the way…Why is it so cold…I think I have a blister….I’m so thirsty….What did I sign up for…I’m crazy…Maybe one of my friends will want to stop…” I fought hard to get those thoughts out of my head and to keep going. I have to admit, it was hard.

Mile 3: One my friends and I ended up walking for a bit and talked. She made me realize that the reason I probably hate exercise of any kind is because I’m missing the social aspect of it. I enjoy being around people. I hate running and being at the gym alone – or it’s hard to get myself moving when I have to do it alone. Accountability helps. I should get one of those fitbit bracelets and have a running buddy.

My friend and I finished the 5K at 46:00 minutes. My other two friends finished ahead of us and were there at the finish line to cheer us on. I was amazingly proud of myself for doing something that I found so difficult and thought I was not able to do. I was also thrilled that my friends committed to, held me accountable to, and ran alongside me in this. I really could not have done this on my own.

Til the next 5K!

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