My First 5K

I found that I couldn’t sleep. Was I actually nervous for my first 5K?

Apparently, yes. Even I didn’t realize it until I went to bed Friday night.

The next morning was going to be the 15th Annual Run and Walk for Children.

It was going to be my very first 5K. I signed up for the walk portion, but Tina and I planned to do as much jogging during the race as possible.

March 26, 2011 was a COLD day. We’ve had temperatures in the seventies for the past several weeks. What was the temperature range for the day of my first 5K? 42 to 47 degrees.

Crap.

Still, I’m tough, I can stand a little cold, right? So I put on my track shorts and a new navy blue t-shirt and decided I would just tough it out.

Bad call. At my next race, if it is not in the sixties, I am going to bring a hoodie or something. Tina was smart; she dressed in layers. I, too, dressed in layers. Unfortunately, my two layers consisted of underwear and then shorts and a t-shirt. I should have added at least one more layer. Oh well.

We got there around 6:50. The race didn’t start until 8:15, but the roads to the park were closing at 7:30 and we still hadn’t picked up our registration packets.

Once we got that (and I got a cup of coffee just so I would have something warm to hold. We killed some time in the car to warm up and talked about the race. I suggested that since we can both run at least 20 minutes without stopping, we should start there and just see how it goes. Around that time, I also decided I should eat the tiny breakfast we brought, so I ate a 100 calorie blueberry bagel. That blueberry bagel would come back to haunt me later, but not in the way you might be thinking.

We also took a quick photo of ourselves before the race with an automatic timer. Yes, I look so tense because I was FREEZING.

We then discovered that a gymnasium at a local church was open and providing bathroom access, so we went in there, used the bathroom, and warmed up. By that time, it was almost 8:15, the sun was fully out, so we went out to join the starting line throng.

Now, before I start telling stories about my race or posting the handful of pictures I took during, I have a quick story to share.

A few weeks back on The Biggest Loser, Jay wrote the weight he wanted to weigh at that week’s weigh-in on his arm as motivation in sharpie. I thought that was a great idea, and I decided to do the same. I was going to write the names of everyone who helped me get ready for this race on my arm. It would be a great way to motivate myself by looking down at my forearm during the race, seeing those names, and get spurred on to keep going. After all, this training has NOT been in a vacuum. I have had people either cheering me on directly or they have been indirect motivations, because reading about their first 5K or their exercise and weight loss struggles have kept me going.

So I got a 3×5 card and I wrote out the names of everyone who had, in one way or another, inspired me.

Uhm… my arm isn’t that big.

Tina (my wife and partner in everything, including 5K training)
Tara
Steve
Brandon
Joe
Jess
Carla (aka MizFit)
Jody
Mary
Craig
Erin
Lynne
Josie
Foodie McBody
Ryan
Josie
Emmie
Kerrie
Seth
Hanlie
Jody

Those were the names that immediately came to mind. I’m sure there are more if I keep digging.

So instead, I came up with a different idea. I plan to do a LOT of 5Ks. This is just the first. And every 5K I do, I’m going to write the name of someone who helped me get there in some way or another.

For this first 5K, I wrote two names.

So thank you, Tina, for helping me in everything. And thank you, Tara, for showing me that we can make our bodies do anything we want. Thank you EVERYONE whose names I couldn’t put on my arm just yet. I know this list will be growing, and hopefully, I won’t develop sharpie poisoning from drawing on myself before every race.

Okay, back to the race. We were clustered at the starting line, just waiting.

I was expecting a gun. There wasn’t one, but suddenly, we were running.

Tina and I found ourselves near the middle of the pack almost instantly. There were a LOT of walkers. We started jogging, and I felt great. I’m going to jog for twenty minutes!

Eight minutes later, I had to stop. We continued walking. This couple was in front of us for almost the entire race. I took their photo because their shirts were from the Family Enrichment Center, which is who the race was benefiting.

We ran a few more times, but I had no fuel in the tank. I definitely learned that I MUST eat more than a 100 calorie bagel before a race. Next Saturday at my 2nd 5K, I’ll eat a bigger breakfast. Running (even walking) requires fuel, and my tank was empty.

Still, we kept on keeping on. Run for a bit, walk for a bit longer. I did a LOT more walking than I did running. I was sure that I was going to be somewhere around 53 or 54 minutes. In fact, I told myself, “At least you won’t be slower than your first 5K at almost 57 minutes.”

Why was I so self-defeating during this race? That’s one of my mental health issues I’m going to have to work out. Clearly, I am afraid to succeed at some things. I’m not afraid to succeed at work. I have an incredible job that I’m good at. But when it comes to things involving weight loss and my physical health, sometimes, I doubt myself.

And then I remembered the post I made on Wednesday night, after I ran for 1.55 miles for the first time ever. I am an athlete. So many of you said such wonderful, supportive things to me after that.

I look at Tara’s name on my forearm. I knew that she was off somewhere right then running a race, too. So even though I was running on fumes at that point, I walked faster. I jogged when I could. Tina supported me through the entire race, right by my side, even though she could have easily jogged off and left me and gotten a much better time.

There were cheering teams everywhere all along the track. There is truly no feeling like crossing the finish line with people cheering you on. NOW I know why people run races. That feeling was INCREDIBLE!

What was my time?

48:06.

Best time yet. (And yes, this was my first race, but I time myself on the treadmill, too.)

Next Saturday will be even better.

I’ve learned a few things about myself through this 5K process. I still have some issues to work on, both physical and mental. The physical = learn to change my stride. I am still doing too much heel pounding when I run, and I am feeling it today. I’m going to concentrate on shifting my impact toward the front of my foot.

The mental = tons of things. I’m way better, but I’m not there yet. I may never be as mentally healthy as I want to be, but I’ll never stop trying.

All I do know is this.

I ran my first 5K this weekend, and I am an athlete.

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  • RantsofaLoser

    I am commenting this with tears in my eyes.

    I felt like I was reading something I had written. I can so relate to the self-defeating tenancies. The power that our mentalities have over our physical abilities is astonishing – and often our greatest demise. I am my worst enemy. And it sounds like you’ve had some similar struggles.

    But this time, Jeremy, you didn’t let your mind over-power your body. Your legs kept moving despite your lack of energy. You did it. You are an athlete, my friend.

    I am honored to be on that list – but moreso, I am honored to have the opportunity to get to know you more.

    Congratulations to you and Tina. You are inspiring me to want to do a 5k.

    Know that a stranger is proud of what you’ve done. Keep it up, buddy.

  • http://mypracticallife.com Marla

    Congrats on your first 5K! 48:06 is an awesome time. You are definitely an athlete!
    Marla recently posted..100DayChipQuest

  • http://mythunderthighs.com Elisha

    Congratulations! This is just the start of an illustrious 5k career for you!
    Elisha recently posted..Everything feels like a challenge

  • http://brookenotonadiet.wordpress.com BrookeNotOnADiet

    Congrats on finishing your first 5k! You’re a rockstar! 🙂

  • http://www.hblewett.com/blog/ Hanlie

    Yes you are an athlete! Way to go, Jeremy!

    I am incredibly honored to be included in the list… It will be like a Flat Stanley (I almost wrote Fat Stanley) – I get to do the race with you!
    Hanlie recently posted..Roundup of the Week – 12-52 of 2011

  • http://erintakescontrol.wordpress.com Erin

    Running in the cold! Finishing in 48:06! Best time yet!
    Way to go, Jeremy!
    Erin recently posted..Remind Me…

  • @Amywestphal

    omg you did amazing! 48:06 is a great time! See brad gansbergs blog about arm warmers for the colder races. So happy and proud of you!
    Amy

  • http://www.joetherunner.com Joe

    What an honor to be on that list, it really made my day. Very happy for you. And I can never sleep before any race.
    Joe recently posted..Running For Beginners

  • http://ahealthydad.com Brandon

    Awesome job on your first 5K Jeremy! And so glad to be on your list as someone who has inspired you – keep up the great work!
    Brandon recently posted..Review- Safeway’s New SimpleNutrition Program

  • http://craigversion2.wordpress.com Craig

    That is a great time!! I’m so proud of you (and happy I was included on the 3×5 card of people that helped inspire you!) 🙂
    You will only improve from here….you are so in the ZONE and THAT is inspiring to me and a lot of others reading this I’m sure. I wish I could have been there at the finish line applauding for you and Tina both! 🙂
    Can’t wait to read about your next 5k Adventure.
    Craig recently posted..A Tale of Two Weigh-Ins

  • Katie

    I too am commenting on this post with tears in my eyes!
    This post was absolutely beautiful!
    I too am (attempting) running my first 5k this coming Saturday.
    I will think of you while running.
    To keep things short and sweet… I too am an athlete despite the time I achieve.
    Thank you so much!

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