This is the first in a series of 'flashback posts' where I post events and races from the past (before I had a blog) that I think are worth documenting and sharing publicly. Enjoy!
Last year in January I was frustrated with my current lifestyle and began to make healthier choices. I began to read and follow healthy living blogs that chronicled fellow twenty-something women and their food and fitness choices. After seeing that so many of them were runners and remembering my own running history, I searched the internet and signed up for my first 5K.
Armed with just my iPod touch and watch, I set off to follow this training plan.
Although many people find success with the Couch 2 5K program, I preferred this plan's simple methods of time and mileage goals. I started running in March to prepare for my May race. I remember the day the treadmill first showed that I ran 2 miles! I was incredulous and excited-- I had never run that far before.
I also started really, really slow. My average pace for these runs was about 11:30 minutes/mile. But I was totally fine with that! It's the pace that made me feel good and got me to my goals.
The week before the race was my college graduation. Instead of running the 3.5 miles scheduled for that day, I took the weekend off and celebrated my achievements.
Finally race day arrived! I had just moved to Ann Arbor and didn't have any family or friends around to cheer me on. But I felt like this was a personal goal that I had worked on for a few months and I was proud to achieve it alone. Race morning I woke up and ate an egg and cheese sandwich on an english muffin and got into the car to head for the race.
The race I picked was a women's only event and was on a flat course that looped around a local hospital. I couldn't have picked a better course because there was so much support around me! When I got to the location, I picked up my shirt and bib and then jogged around the parking lot to warm up. Soon, it was time to start!
At the start I met an older woman who is a professor at UM. I told her it was my first 5K and she was super supportive! As soon as the gun went off we found ourselves at similar paces and we ran the race together.
As we made our way through the first lap of the course, I was so exhausted already! I grabbed some Gatorade and walked through the only aid station. My partner kept running though, and so did I.
Many times I wanted to walk and felt tired, but this awesome woman (whose name I later discovered was Amy) kept saying encouraging things. Before I knew it, we were crossing the finish line.
After I finished I grabbed a banana and couldn't stop smiling. My official time was 36:28 for an 11:45 min/mile pace! Looking back I know that was incredibly slow, but it was so perfect for me that day.
AGE GROUP: 20 - 24 Place O'All No. Name Age City Time Pace ===== ===== ===== ======================= === =============== ======= ===== 1 157 73 Vanessa Lelli 22 Ann Arbor 35:45 11:31 2 163 318 Susan Kennedy 21 Ann Arbor 36:16 11:41 3 166 132 Kaitlin (me!) 20 Richmond 36:28 11:45 4 203 151 Caitlin Kelly 24 Huntinton Woods 44:42 14:24
As an added bonus, I ended up placing 3rd in my age group and won a small prize! I couldn't have been more happier or proud of myself that day. That feeling continued as I went home and signed up for my next race.
Since then I've run three more 5Ks, a 10K, two half marathons and a full marathon! But I never would have felt that confident if it hadn't been for my first awesome race experience.
Are you a runner? What was your first race like? If not, would you ever consider running a 5K?