Monday, June 21, 2010

I Really Did It!!

Yesterday was a huge day for me as I ran my first 5K race.  It was the Father's Day 5K run.

It was a day for achieving goals. I'm all about baby steps and breaking down your goals into small pieces.

Goal #1 - If you're going to train for a 5K, you're going to have run one. Register already! 
Goal #2 - Actually get out of bed and go to the race course.
Goal #3 - Finish the race.
Goal #4 - Try to run it in less than 50 minutes.

I didn't register for the race weeks in advance; I registered Friday night for the Sunday race. I needed something to get me to the race and it wasn't a car ride. I needed to feel accountable to someone. So, I asked my friend and co-worker, Kelly, if she would be available Sunday morning to come to the race - cheer me on and provide advice. (Kelly is a runner/marathoner.) She was very supportive and enthusiastic and asked if it would be okay if Nathan (her main guy and another friend and co-worker of mine) also came to the race. Absolutely!

So, when I woke up Sunday morning. instead of playing my usual mind games and talk myself out of something, I focused on the fact that Kelly & Nathan would be there. I had to be there - no excuses!

When I got to the registration table to pick up my bib, I saw my name on the sheet of runners. It suddenly felt very real and it seemed strange to see my age listed on there as 50. I just don't feel 50. And then I realized that at the age of 50, I was running my first race. HA!

Kelly & Nate showed up and kept me walking and distracted until the race started. It wasn't a big group of runners, being the day after Grandma's and at the same time as the Stillwater marathon. I was thankful for that. I think I would have felt overwhelmed with a large group! 

When the race started, I was trying to figure out my pace. I did most of my training on the treadmill, so I wasn't sure how to determine if I was at the pace I wanted, about 4 mph. I ran and I walked and I jogged and I walked and I speed walked and I walked. I was talking to myself the entire time - not out loud as I'm sure the rest of the runners would wonder about me. 

The race was around Como Lake in Saint Paul. Almost twice around the lake is the 3.1 miles and it is a wonderful place to run - spots with shade and mostly flat with only one area with a slight incline. Now that I know about it, I'm going to have to go there at least once a week to do more outdoor running. 

I was so nervous about the race, that I completely forgot about my fear of running in front of people who can see me!  (Harry Potter's invisibility cloak would be an ideal gift for me.)

I kept the pace pretty well through most of the race. There was this 82-year old racer there doing it as a speed walker. Got a bit stressed when he passed me. For about a 1/2 mile we were playing leap frog. I was like, "Oh, no, I am not going to get passed by an 82-year man!" He was a motivation for awhile and then I realized this guy does all these races and is most likely in better shape than me.  

When I was lapped by the real runners (and winners) and I was okay with that. When I got lapped by them the second time, it was a bit of blow. Then I realized they had already finished and this was just their cool-down lap. My cool down lap was walking to my car to drive home. 

Many people have told me that having people cheer you on during a race provides great motivation. Now I understand. Having people cheer for me as I was coming around the first time made me kick a bit harder - I was motivated to get out of my walking mode and back into the jogging mode.

At the end, again having people there cheering for me, I kicked up the pace and got ready to cross the finish line. As I was coming in at the finish, I could see the official clock. I broke into a huge smile when I saw 43 minutes on the clock. No way! I was going to finish in less than 50 minutes, less than 45 minutes. I crossed the finish line at 43:28. 

I had imagined that I would cross the finish line and drop over or go all jelly legs. I didn't. I wasn't even out of breath. I just wanted to know where the water was! Got a bit of water and then a banana sounded like the greatest treat that God ever created! Luckily, they had plenty. 

During the race, I kept looking behind me and I didn't see anyone. Was I the last one?? I thought there were some walkers that would be behind me, but I couldn't see anyone. About a minute after I crossed the finish line, more people started crossing the finish line. "I wasn't the last one." Kelly just laughed and said, "Of course not."

Several people who knew it was my first race (I suppose because I was telling everyone) came over to congratulate me and one woman wearing a half-marathon t-shirt said, "see you at more races."
Today was also my first hit of the dopamine that runners talk about - my 5K runner's high. Kind of liked it. 

Wait, I have to go backward in the story here, not just pre-race, but pre-leaving-my-house. I had laid out the clothes I would be wearing the night before. (I never do that for my regular days!) I wanted to be able to get dressed and be ready to go. 

I put on the outfit and then determined I didn't like how it fit. Seriously? It's 10 minutes before I need to leave and I'm trashing about my fitness clothing. I found a gray top to wear, but it was wrinkled. For one brief second, I thought about ironing it. I'm about get it sweaty and I was thinking it would look bad? 

So, of the four goals that I had set for myself, I got all of them! I would like to do a couple more 5Ks this summer and perhaps start thinking about a 10K later down the road. My friend Lisa left a message on my Facebook wall asking me I wanted to do the TC Marathon 10 mile this fall. Baby steps, Lisa, baby steps.

Marathon? I don't think I could keep my concentration that long. With my ADD, I'll lose interest and just go wandering off...

If someone would have told me when I was turned 40 (when I was at the highest weight and the most unhealthy I had ever been) that I would be running at age 50 (when I never had before), I would have laughed. If they would have said, I would do a 5K race, I would have insisted they do a drug screen. 

It was just so damn cool!
(my first race t-shirt!!)

1 comment:

Jodi said...

This is awesome Elizabeth and too funny - the part about procrastination, need friends there, getting past up and lapped, being last, and of course what to wear sounded just like what I would think/do. You inspire me! I turn 50 in March..... :)

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