First 5K

This morning I ran my first 5K race.  I didn’t ever stop running and I finished in 39:59, well under my goal of 45:00.  You can see my stats on this run on Runkeeper.

The race atmosphere seemed very relaxed, with lots of families and pets milling about at the starting line, as there were also family/team events included in the race.  I stood around at the start waiting nervously for the race to begin.  My DH set pace alarms on his Garmin to help ensure we didn’t go out too fast or too slow to finish at my target time.  We stretched, warmed up, and generally just waited.

Once the race started, we were in the back of the pack.  It was tough mentally to get over the “ZOMG I’m the last runner in the pack” thoughts (even though I wasn’t ever the last runner in the pack).  But I pushed those thoughts out of my mind and just ran like I always do.

There were two pleasant surprises along the way.  First, the race volunteers cheering everyone on along the way.  Because this was my first race, I didn’t expect to hear the encouraging words from total strangers while I ran.  The second pleasant surprise was that about a third of the way through the race, I noticed people in front of me slowing down and walking.  I was still feeling strong and able to keep running, so I was starting to pass people.  That was a very powerful motivator – that I had stuck to my intended pace and was able to keep to that pace despite the challenging hills.

Oh the hills.  The race was an “out and back” race and on the way out, we encountered a tougher hill.  “Don’t worry,” my DH reassured me, “it’ll be mostly downhill on the way back!”  How wrong he was.  The race was actually downhill for the first half and completely back up those hills on the second half.

As we were rounding the corner and heading the last bit towards the finish line, I glanced at my watch and knew I had it in me for a strong finish.  I’m so glad I pushed at the end, because having my first 5K race come in under 40 minutes is really making me happy.

A fellow poster on a forum I frequent posted a motivational saying a couple of days ago – “No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch”.  I am so very proud of myself for today’s accomplishment.  Less than a year ago I was one of those people on the couch and could barely walk around the block without getting winded.  I’m positive that had I ever attempted to walk 5 km, I would have been in some pain and had a fair bit of difficulty.  This morning I conquered this challenge and surpassed all of my expectations.  I don’t know if I’ve ever been as proud of myself as I’m feeling right now.

What a happy Sunday.

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