My First 5K | My 180

You may remember my previous post about my schemes to weasel my way out of the dreaded Physical Fitness Test in High School. The thought of running a mile made me sick every time… or at least sickness was the excuse I used to get out of running the “1 Mile Challenge” every year during High School.  In June when I started my journey toward better health and fitness, running quickly became a daily requirement.

I remember the excitement I experienced July 14th 2010 when I finally completed my first mile in 13.33. (You can read more about that here.) Looking back six months ago and reading how I described running one mile is now quite funny:

There were times during the mile that I wanted to quit, especially when my calves started to feel like a million jellyfish had latched onto them. (Seriously, one million jellyfish.) But Mark knew how important it was for me to achieve my goal, therefore he wouldn’t back down in pushing me to keep running though the pain… With the cheers of a friend I not only finished in under 15 minutes, but came in at 13.33. While my time won’t be recorded in record books, that day, one hot mid-summer afternoon, with the help of a friend, I kicked the track’s ass.

Thankfully since that mid-summer’s day, my love for running has increased and so has my speed. One of my New Year’s resolutions was a commitment to run 12 miles a week. So far I’ve kept that commitment. Yet the thought of running a 5k has made me nervous. I had planned on running one in late November, but instead backed out due to “runner fright,” better known as “fear of failure.”

I finally manned up and registered for the Red Nose Run that was January 29th 2011. My friend Travis Wright agreed to run with me. Several days before the race I ran the entire 3.10 miles, just to remind myself that yes, I can in fact complete the entire course. I’m convinced that mind games makes running easier; setting short goals along the course, obtaining that goal/marker, then moving on to the next point until eventually you’ve successfully crossed the finish line.

Travis and I arrived at the Colonial Life Arena about 30 minutes before the race was to begin. Everyone was stretching and carboloading. It looked like a Krispy Kreme and Panera got together and had babies. There were so many fresh muffins, homemade breads and donuts. (Honestly, I don’t know how you could eat that stuff then run.) The energy and excitement before the race was contagious. Along the course there were volunteers cheering us on. Travis made it a point to give every police officer stopping traffic a high-five. (I swear he would have finished 2 minutes faster had he skipped the high-fives.) Until that day I always hated when they’d close main city roads for running events, but as I ran by and saw all the cars stopped and drivers muttering swear words while stuck in traffic, I felt a since of pride as I knew that traffic was stopped for me. It was also great to run beside one of my best friends and someone that has pushed and encouraged me every step of my 180. That morning we got to encourage each other to keep running toward the finish line.

I finished the race in 29:16, averaging a 9.25 minute mile.  The best part of the entire day was hearing my name announced as I crossed the finish line. It’s amazing to look back and see the progress that I’ve made in 6 months. I just might be a runner after all, or an adrenaline junkie that loves the rush that comes from crossing the finish line. Either way, running has become part of my lifestyle.

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