I ran my first 5K race in 10 years. And I finished without walking. In 35 minutes and 34 seconds. It was such a good and successful feeling.
The last time I ran in a for real race was high school when I was on the Cross Country team, and my last season was in 2002, my Senior year. I ran a little bit in college on my own, sometimes 4 miles or so at a time, but never consistently, and not in a healthy way. I was doing it because I was stressed out, and doing it directly after working out at Curves which led to pain/injury. So, really, when I started running again last month, it had been ten years since I ran races, and about five since I ran at all. I really wasn't sure if I'd be able to go back to it consistently, or if my knees would be ok without hurting. But so far, so good!
I'm enjoying it a lot. And it felt so good to cross that finish line on Saturday. My goal was to finish without walking, to keep up with some other runners, and to have a time of 36 minutes or less, because my time last week when I practiced 3 miles for the first time was just over that. There were some other ladies from my school running too, a couple who had also just started running recently, and a couple who have been running for several years (half and full marathons too!) It was even more exciting that I crossed the finish line with the two who have experience in marathon running. They were obviously going at a slower pace and probably not running as intensely as normal, but I loved running with them, and it helped me push myself a little more! I was 5th out of 16 in my 20-29 yr. age category, though some were walking the race. I did it!
The race was for missions too, coordinated and sponsored by a woman at my church who started running a couple of years ago and desired to use that ability to glorify God. And He was glorified this weekend! The weather was SO beautiful, and over 100 people showed up. At $20/person, $2200 was raised to support the missions fund at our church. What a blessing and testimony of God's glory! You can visit her website here.
When I think about it, I'm also thankful for my Cross Country coach from school. I joined the team in Jr. High having never run anywhere in my whole life. I have no idea what made me want to join, but I did. I couldn't even make it a mile without walking, and I could never keep up with anyone at practice. Sometimes my mom would drive around and follow me so I wasn't running alone and worrying her. I walked in almost every race - and they were only 1.5 miles. Then, I skipped a few years and didn't join the team again until my senior year. I spent the whole summer before it running on my own and really just building up endurance. Imagine how proud I was the first time I realized I could make it on our team's longest run from school to a bridge about 2.5 miles down a country road and back (about 5 miles total, with some hills!) without walking! And when I finished each of the races that year (which were now 5Ks since I was in high school) without walking, and even beat a couple of other runners once or twice. It was such a feeling of achievement I never knew I could reach. I was also never fast, but I just loved the distance. So - I write all that to say that our coach never put me down. He never said, "What in the world are you thinking joining a running team when you can't even make it a mile without huffing, puffing, and walking?" He just encouraged me and all the other runners. He said to keep pushing myself, and I would be better before I knew it. He had people cheering for me at the finish line, even when I walked in a race, and finally, my senior year when I made that long, long, run at practice - he remembered where I'd come from, and he reminded me to celebrate that.
So - I guess 3.1 miles doesn't sound like that much to me when I think about it now. And I know there are a lot of people who "run" for recreation now. But it feels awesome. And I plan to keep going! I don't know if I'll ever be one of the people who pushes on to a half or full marathon, but I would love to get to the 10K level one day! God is good, and I am proud to celebrate my accomplishment from this weekend! It's a big deal to me! :)
P.S. - Here's a picture of my amazing roomie and me. She has been running longer than me and did the 10K race.....AND got a metal! Yay, E! :)