I did it. I ran my 5k on October 10th. I had just two goals -- run the whole thing and do it under 40 mins. I met both goals.
I loved it. It was a perfect fall day, and the atmosphere was fantastic. I couldn't believe that I was standing with all these runners and that they considered me one of them. On the way to the registration table I got speaking to a 66 year old man who ran a half marathon the week before. He was so inspiring in his accomplishments, and yet, he was so excited about my first race!
The course was great -- rolling hills, but nothing I couldn't handle. As others walked the hills, I slowly trudged on. The clocks at the mile markers weren't working, so I had no idea what my pace was. I just kept on going. As I came into the last stretch, I saw the clock at the three mile mark. I could make out the three, but did it say 38 or 33? Did I have to sprint to make it under 40? NO! It said 33 -- I could not believe my time. As I came across the finish line I saw the clock -- 34:45 -- yes! My official chip time was 33:40. I was psyched.
The 5K boosted my confidence tremendously. I did it, and I killed my goal time (admittedly a padded goal). I was elated and sure my training was going to take off with ease from there. I took Monday off and headed out Tuesday. My legs were dead, so I only eeked out about 1.5 miles before I called it quits with plans to come back stronger on Thursday. And then, something I would never have imagined happened.
On Wednesday night I receieved a phone call from my mother. My dad's younger brother had suffered a massive heart attack while driving and hadn't survived. Of everyone in my family, my uncle was the last I'd expect this to happen to. He was an active golfer and hockey player -- in fact he was driving home from a hockey game that night. Needless to say, the next few days running was on hold.
When I got back to running, I felt like I was in a no man's land -- I have a 10K I'm running on Nov. 20th, but I didn't have a concrete plan to follow between the 5 and 10Ks. I gave weak efforts to some runs during the week and attempted some "longish" runs on the weekend. I tried to run 4 miles last weekend with a bit of a cold -- my nose ran much longer and faster than I did. I was in a slump and had to do something to change things up.
Thankfully I have a good friend who is the assistant cross country coach at the high school I teach at. She had offered to do a long run with me, but our schedules hadn't worked out. And, to be honest, I was afraid to run with her. I am slow, and I know that. I really am mostly okay with it, too, but I didn't want to FEEL slow. However, I decided to ask her to run with me. I knew it was time to shake things up. So, I asked her to pick a route of at least 4 miles and not tell me how long it was. The idea was for me to hit 4 and maybe even go beyond without the mental issues that plague my training, and it worked! The first 2 miles were hell -- nearly half of it was uphill, but I did it, and as I ran, I started to feel really good. When she gave me the option between the shorter and longer run, I chose the longer, still not knowing the distance. At the end of the run she gleefully told me, "You ran 5 miles! You're awesome!"
Awesome. I ran 5 miles. Never in my life would I think I could run 5 miles. It was slow. It was VERY slow, but it was my run. My 5 - freaking mile run. I did it.
10K in two weeks -- I can't wait.