Mitzi Runs a 5K
Updated: Dec 13, 2019
I have desperately avoided running all of my life.
I played sports when I was younger: Basketball, softball, even track and cross country (for a short stint). But I hated when I had to sprint down the court when the other team got the ball or barrel toward first base after a hit trying to beat the throw from the infield.
However, after consistently walking two miles virtually every day over the summer and into the fall, a thought occurred to me: If I can walk two miles daily with no issues, maybe I could run a little. It couldn't hurt, right?
I started Couch to 5K (C25K) on October 14. I even found a race in Charlotte that timed out exactly 8-weeks ahead and landed on a Sunday morning. I work late Friday nights so it would be difficult for me to participate early Saturday.
On the first day, I began with a 5-minute warmup walk then alternated 1-minute runs with 5-minute walks for 20 minutes. I did that again two more days that week, and then I was, literally, off and running.
When I worked up to my first 3-minute run, I panicked. I even put off the jog for a day. I just kept thinking, "How in the world am I going to run for 3-minutes straight?"
But I did it. I almost cried when I finished the first session that week. I just had to get out of my head and get outside. As the weeks went on, with every threshold I crossed, I found myself uttering that phrase after every new feat: I did it.
Suddenly, it was the day before my first 5K. The week prior I was running for 28 minutes without stopping. Yet, I wasn't getting close to the full 3.1 miles; I was only doing about 2.3. In my last run before the race, I pushed myself to go past the time, and I did 2.75 miles, just so I'd have some peace of mind that I was close to the mark.
The night before the race, I couldn't sleep. Once I did, I had a dream that the race was on a huge golf course, and I couldn't find where I was supposed to check-in. Also, I lost one of the bags I had with me. So instead of picking up my race packet, I looked all over for this bag and missed the race.
The morning of the race came, and my husband and I headed uptown. It was cold, in the 30s, but the sun was shining. The event was, of course, a fundraiser for a non-profit and also the culmination of a girls' running program. So there were lots of people and lots of kids.
Up until this point, I had run alone on mostly flat ground, even the treadmill a few times when I absolutely could not avoid it. So I welcomed the experience of totally new terrain and the energetic atmosphere of a group.
However, there were SO many people. I found it difficult to navigate around the walkers, the stoppers, the tying-my-shoe-ers, the looking-back-for-friends-ers. I quickly realized just how serious I was about this running thing.
Plenty of people were smiling and chatting as they ran. I couldn't do that. It didn't mean I wasn't having a good time. I just had to concentrate. I run the same way I work: I'm not really there to have a good time; I'm there to get things done. I'll have fun later.
There was also a big hill right before the finish line. Well, at least, it felt like it at that point. Many people stopped, but I didn't. I couldn't, and I wouldn't. I may have been slow as molasses, but I did not walk.
When I rounded the corner and crossed the finish line, I was handed a medal and told where the refreshments table was located. My husband found me soon after and gave me water. I walked a few minutes more to cool down, and then we headed to a nearby market to have some coffee and talk about what just transpired.
I didn't pay too much attention to my time because I didn't feel it was accurate considering all of the navigation I had to do. Next time, I said to myself, I'll pick my spot in the starting line with a little more precision and not just fall in with the crowd.
Oh, yes, my friends, there will be a next time.
I've marked races in Charlotte on my calendar for every month through May. I already signed up for one; it's in 30 days. I think there won't be as many people at this one, and I'm eager to see how my time improves by then.
You also can't help but think bigger after finishing a 5K: maybe an 8K, 10K, 15K, half marathon, marathon? We'll see. I can't imagine having the stamina to run 26.2 miles. But, then again, several weeks ago, I convinced myself I couldn't run for 3-minutes straight. But I did it.
Since the race, which was this past Sunday, I ran a 5K in my neighborhood on Tuesday. And as soon as I'm done writing this, I'm going to head out for another one. I planned my route last night and already thought of a new one this morning that I'll save for Saturday.
So, yeah, the girl who hated to run is a runner now. I think the post I wrote yesterday in one of my C25K Facebook groups sums it up best:
Mood before run: Yes! Let's do this! 😁
Mood during run: Why am I doing this?
Mood after run: Thank God that's over!
Mood on rest day: Oooooh, where should I run tomorrow? 😍