I ran my first 5k! I never thought I’d ever have the interest or motivation to do that. But it’s a fact. I did it! And it was pretty cool! So I wanted to share my story with you.
If you’ve been following my podcast or blog, you’ll know that I began training for this over the summer. Not specifically so I could run a 5k but as a way to fit in some exercise on my own schedule. I kept up with it even when it was hard and it proved to be a nice addition to my routine. Again, I had no real desire to run in a race or other event, but when my best friend asked me to join her Together in Gold Team at the 2014 Four Seasons Run of Hope, my interest was piqued. While walking a 2k with my family sounded fun, I was drawn to the 5k run option. My interest in running was starting wane just a little and I knew it would be good motivation for me (and it was). Plus, raising money to benefit Pediatric Cancer Research at Mass General Hospital was a nice added bonus. Sign me up!
The Week of the Race
I wasn’t feeling well the week leading up to the run. I ran on Monday and then wasn’t feeling well enough to do any more workouts that week so when I woke up that Sunday morning I felt a bit nervous. I got up and ate an english muffin with peanut butter and did some stretching to wake me up. Then it was time to head into Boston.
I checked in when I arrived and got my first ever race number! That in and of itself was more exciting than I anticipated!
We had some time to kill so we let the kids play at the playground and took a team photo in our t-shirts. Before we knew it, it was time to line up. Because I was running and the rest of our team was walking, it was time to make my own way over to the runners. The kids asked why I was leaving and my friend explained that I was running my first ever 5k! The kids yelled and cheered for me! What an amazing send off. I’m so lucky to have them in my life.
As I’m sure is typical, they lined up the runners by time with the fastest runners first. I found my spot in the 10+ minute group and listened while a local TV personality pumped us up. I found myself getting exciting and just wanting to GO! And soon enough we were off. It was a little frustrating at the beginning being in such a big clump of people and not being able to actually go anywhere. Secretly I was wondering if they were counting this barely-walking movement as part of my time and the injustice of that… but before I could put too much thought into it, it was time to move.
I was surprised how much fun it was to run in a group. I could feel the energy and was really moved by that. I was also pleasantly surprised at how many people I was able to pass. I wasn’t the fastest runner by any stretch of the imagination, but I certainly wasn’t the slowest either. It helped that it was a reasonably cool morning and even as it got hotter, there was a nice breeze from the Charles River. The scenery was beautiful, and I tried to just take it all in, breathe and push myself when I could.
Maybe because I’ve been spoiled by the uber high energy level at the Susan G Komen 3 Day for the Cure (with cheerleaders at every single crosswalk and street corner), but I was surprised at how low key it all was. Could have been specific to this event, but I know for sure at certain points I’d have appreciated a “way to go” instead of a quick point to the left to make sure I stayed on track. Not a complaint. I just assumed that those working the event would be a little more peppy.
I was also a little surprised by own performance. I’ve never run with anyone before and so I was surprised by how many people I passed and how strong I felt. It was hard, don’t get me wrong. But I just kept breathing and pushing through it and mostly it felt good.
Not so surprising
I usually run in a tank top (sometimes cotton, sometimes a wicking-material) but always a tank top. So i wasn’t surprised to find that I hated running in a t-shirt. Our team all had the same shirts and I was so happy to wear my team colors but it wasn’t ideal. If I do this again, I may cut it up a little to get some more airflow.
The other great thing about this course, which I knew from running it after work once or twice (just for convenience and proximity) is that it’s all flat ground. It’s a luxury I appreciate. Enough said.
So how did I do? As you can see, the first minute was good. My fastest mile yet. I guess I was passing some people. I tailed off a little after that. I think on mile 3 I could have gotten my time up a little if I understood the course slightly better. I sprinted across the finish line feeling good, but got a little mixed up before that and slowed down a lot to stay on course.
We stayed and enjoyed some of the festivities after the walk/run. The kids played. My 10 year old niece explained to the younger kids why were there and how cancer affects a lot of kids. My 7 year old nephew Will said “I’m so glad I don’t have cancer!” I replied, “Me too, buddy! Me too.” We have a lot to be grateful for.
If you’re interested in donating money to help fund pediatric cancer research click here for the link to our team’s page.