Friday, October 18, 2013

I am a Runner, #1.

I've always wanted to be a runner, but my body (albeit I'm rather tall and thin for a girl) tells me otherwise.  I've never been a GOOD runner.  I read a great quote somewhere that says something along the lines of there not being prerequisites to being a runner.  If you run, you are, by definition, a runner.  There's no minimum race requirement or time hack you have to make.  If you run, you are a runner.  So, I guess I'm a runner.

But instead of just running a few months out of the year in order to make sure I pass my yearly physical fitness test for the Air Force, I decided I really wanted to run some races.  So, I started with a 5K.

Note:  The weekend I ran my first 5K, I had friends that ran 1) a marathon, 2) two half marathons and a 5K, and 3) a 10K, so if you are one of those people, feel free to stop reading or laugh at my piddly little 5K.  But for those of you are intrigued at what I did, read on!

I decided to use Hal Higdon's training plan for the novice 5K runner.  I've run 5K and much longer (I have a vague memory of a horrible half marathon in Berlin many years ago), but never 5K as a race.  Since that makes me a 5K novice racer, I started with his novice program.  I printed it out and began running in accordance with it, tracking my times each time.


During the program, you can see that you run between 1.5 and 3 miles, and you often run the same distance.  My goal was simple:  The first time I run a distance, I just run at a good pace, whatever feels good to me.  The next time I run that distance, I have to beat the time I ran it in the last time I ran it.  That was my only personal goal in this.  You might be able to tell from my filled out plan that I made my goal every day but one day, where I ran 2 miles slower than I had the last time I had ran it.  To be fair, that was a 3-mile day, but I wasn't feeling great, and decided to make it a 2-mile day on my last lap, but couldn't speed up enough to break my previous 2-mile time. 

You can also see there were a few days that I just didn't run.  One week I wasn't feeling good, the week after that, Avery was in the hospital the night before and neither of us got decent sleep for a week.  I can only run during lunch or if I take off of work early, because I don't have anyone to watch the kids if I want to get up early and run or run in the evening.  That week of the ER trip, I used my lunch hour to sleep, I won't lie.

So, race day.  At the start of my 8-week training program, I randomly picked a nearby 5K 8 weeks out, which turned out to support a fund in memory of a guy that died when hit by a drunk driver a few years ago.  Good people, good cause.  It was a bit chilly, so I wore shorts, an Army t-shirt, a lightweight long sleeve over that, and my hat to keep my silly hair from flying all over the place and to keep any rain/mist from annoying me.

Racin' clothes
 I wish I had convinced someone else to come with me, or that Jon and the kids had been there to cheer me on, cause I was honestly just bored sitting around waiting for it to start.  I got my number, went to the bathroom, checked out the silent auction, played Candy Crush on my phone, stretched, and drank a little water to pass the time.  Some people did some jogging to warm up, which I might try next time.

#1001 reporting for racing!
Finally the race started (right on time, yay!) and we were off!  The course was interesting.  We ran past the finish line down a straightaway, turned around, ran back down, past the finish, past the start, then turned around AGAIN and then ran past the start and to the finish.  Although there was an official time clock and a sensor on my number, I carried my iPod and clocked myself.

I opted not to listen to music, which I regret.  I've ran this whole training program with tunes and for some reason decided not to do it this time.  But, the adrenaline got me going.  I ran the first mile in 8:19, which is pretty fast, and the second mile (slightly uphill) in 8:48.  There wasn't a three-mile sign, so I don't know what I ran that in, but I finished the whole race in 26:37.  This was under the 27:00 mark that I was shooting for, so I was very happy.

When the official results came out, I was 49th out of 154 runners, and 12 out of 49 for my age group.  (NOTE:  The girl ahead of me in my age group had the exact same time, so maybe there was a tiebreaker I am unaware of). 

I had a really good time, and the great thing about the race is that it didn't wipe me for the rest of the day and didn't exhaust me into saying "If I say I'm going to do another one of these, punch me in my face," which may or may not have been said after Berlin to my then-new-boyfriend, Jon.

I've already signed up to do another one next month, and it's in just 6 weeks.  I'm going to stick to the same training plan (but start on week three since I only have six weeks until the race) and hopefully keep improving.  My goal is just to run faster than 26:37 this time, and I'm sure I can do it!

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