My First 5K

The wind in my hair, the soft patter of my little feet, the adrenaline moving through my bloodstream, the slow in and out of my breath—I’m running. But, friends, I’m not a runner. Not only do I have a foot injury that never healed from college, in general it’s a bit too rough on my joints. Even though I don’t think running will ever be MY thing, I signed up for a 5K to support my roomie, Jodi, who recently ran two races this year (5K and half marathon).

About a month after we signed up, Jodi injured her knee, which left her depressed and incapable of partaking in this particular event. I mean, I signed up to run with her (not next to her or anything), but as a fun moment to share together. Having an injury is devastating and especially when running is your lifeblood, which it is for her, this was bad news bears.

Now that I was running the race solo, I really didn’t have the drive to train intensely or even talk about it with her (to not aid in her depression). I did a couple runs a week and decided on the goal of finishing in 31 minutes—I thought that would be a good target since I normally run about a 10-minute mile. I figured I could speed it up here and there if I used a watch to monitor my pace.

Race day approached quickly and I was feeling a little out of running shape—I had been running about 6-12 miles a week (and only about 4 during my last week). My college buddy, Christin, came down from Newport Beach and used Jodi’s ticket, so I had a partner in crime, which left Jodi in charge of the photos (I got a really great photo of part of her leg during her half marathon, so it was her turn to be the photographer and try and do better than me, which wouldn’t be hard to accomplish). ;-)

I made two huge mistakes the day before: drinking alcohol and not getting a good night’s rest. I think I had about three or four hours of snoozing when the alarm went off on Sunday morning at 5am. I pulled myself together with some coffee and wheat toast with peanut butter, and Jodi took us to the start line of the race: Balboa Park. At least I started off the morning right with a light snack and some caffeine. YAY! I was ready to rock and roll.

I had one minor glitch: I was without an iPod. A couple months back, I left it in NYC, so I’ve gotten pretty used to the sound of my own breath and really taking the quite time to think and reflect (or focusing on not dying mid-run). I guess I could have gone out to purchase a new one, but that would be the easy route, right? I was also planning on borrowing a watch from Jodi to monitor my stride, but I forgot to do that, so it was just me, myself and I (and the annoying sound of people breathing and dragging their feet along the pavement).

During the race, I figured I was running about a 10-minute mile, but I had NO CLUE because I had no way of knowing. It was a pretty nice run with no hills and no major obstacles, but I was definitely feeling tired around mile two. I knew it was just one more mile and some change—I could do this. As I rounded the corner to the finish line, I heard Jodi cheering for me and took off sprinting. Success! I made it!

My final time was just under 28 minutes, which is my quickest pace yet (that’s under 9-minute miles). However ill prepared I was, I pulled through for Jodi, my motivation for this 5K. The feeling of coming through the finish line was amazing! I accomplished something and it felt great. I just might do another 5K after all.