Wednesday, June 17, 2015

What I Learned From My First 5k

Let me start by saying I walked the 5k.  Let me follow that up by saying I was doing almost nothing physical before that.

Some of you will remember my last post, the one where I owned my weight (216 lbs.) and said I was ready to do something to change it.

I went to the doctor on May 18th and talked to him about my weight.  I wrote about it on May 20th.  And May 23rd I walked a 5k.  My first ever.

Was it wise to go from almost no activity to a 5k?  Maybe not.  I was hurting a lot afterward.  But I honestly think it was the best way for me.

Why did I do it?  Let me explain.

First, I was motivated by my weight (ugh!).  Second, I had a bit of a rush from knowing some of the meds I was on were likely making me gain weight and I was getting off almost all of them.  (Seriously, being able to blame the meds was a nice lift.)  Third, the last two years we've walked in the Chiari Walk Across America (because my daughter has a Chiari I malformation), and I had walked over two miles both times, and a 5k is 3.1 miles.  So I was pretty sure I could do it, even if I had to take it very slow.  But the biggest reason is because I wanted to so bad!

This 5k was in honor of the daughter of a couple I went to high school with.  She died in an accident when she was just 15 months old.  Her name is Elle and this was the Live wElle 5k.  I'd known about it for three or four years.  I'd wanted to participate in it ever since I heard about it, but I knew I couldn't.  I knew I wasn't ready.  This time I was.  And the title seemed to indicate it was the right one to start with.  I am trying to live well!

It was amazing!

But it was also hard.  And I learned a lot.

Before the race, with three of my kids.
That's me on the right, with the dark blue jacket and gloves.  It was very cold.  I was also wearing my yoga pants (because you have to wear comfortable pants, right?).  I wore my hair down for warmth, and curled it because I knew I'd see people I know there and didn't want to be hideous.  I brought a clip to pull it up as I warmed up.  I figured I'd just tie my jacket around my waist as it got warmer.

Me at the end of the race.
That's me on the left at the end of the race.  That was the only time I jogged, and it was because we were near the finish line.  You have to run across the finish line, right?  Oh, by the way, it's tough to run (or jog) when your feet and legs are numb.  Just sayin'.

Let me tell you what's wrong with this picture.  No matter how cold it is when the race starts - NO JACKET!  Seriously.  I found out I hated walking with something around my waist.  A few blocks is one thing.  Three miles is quite another.  And my clip kept slipping.  Seriously, pull that dang hair up in a ponytail.  No one cares what you look like.  No one.  And don't wear boot cut yoga pants.  Or a t-shirt of material you don't like, even if it's the race shirt.  Or heavy tennis shoes.  (Okay, those were the only tennis shoes I owned, so I really didn't have many other options.)

I was really excited.  I was totally stoked!  I knew I was going to rock this thing.  And then, two blocks after I started, this thought went through my mind, "What the hell have I done?"

Two blocks in.  And I've still got over three miles to go.  There's no way on this earth I'm going to be able to finish.  But, dang it, I spent money on this.  And I want to do this for my friends.  And, seriously, how humiliating would it be to have to be rescued?  So I kept going.

That first mile I thought I was going to die!  Probably not literally, but I thought I might pass out and have to be tended to.  Even though I was being careful and going at my own pace.

But guess what.  I didn't die.  After about a mile, my legs went numb.  And things got easier after that.  When you can't feel your legs and feet, they don't hurt.  Plus, passing that one mile sign is awesome!  Not nearly as awesome as the halfway sign, but still awesome.

Once I hit the halfway point I stepped up my pace.  I was feeling pretty good now.  And, gosh darn it, I was pretty sure I could pass some of those people right in front of me.  I went into the race planning to just walk my speed.  What was comfortable.  Not compete with anyone.  But since I'd paced myself well in the beginning, I had a bit more to give in the second half.  And I could see others slowing down.  And it's just possible my competitive side kicked in.

I picked up my pace and passed many people.  That was cool!

I ended up finishing in 53 minutes and 38.1 seconds.  I was thrilled to have done it under an hour.  Yay me!

And two weeks later I did another one.  This time I finished in 48 minutes and 43 seconds.  I took almost 5 minutes off my time!  Yay me again!

And this is what I wore for that race.

Much better clothing choices.
New, lighter shoes.  A lot less clothing.  Boy, was that a more enjoyable race!

But the most important thing I learned from that first 5k?  I learned I could do it!

We did it!

Labels: , , , , , , ,