A few weeks ago, I ran my first 5k. I hate running, I have always hated running, but I wish I was a runner. I made the unfortunate mistake of mentioning this to a runner friend of mine. He has been on me for the last two months about getting out and running and to sign up for a 5k. In an effort to make him leave me alone, I finally signed up and began running several days per week. I prefer to run on a treadmill because it’s easier, but I knew the 5k was going to be outside. Therefore, while training I ran outside one or two days per week. Another two or three days per week, I would run on the treadmill. On the other days, I either walked, did the elliptical, or rested. I loved having low impact days because I have an old knee injury that would sometimes nag at me. Rest days were also very important, especially in the beginning or when I upped my mileage. My muscles were definitely sore. To recover and build my muscles, I made sleep a priority. The body needs to recharge, so giving myself some rest was vital.
I preferred to run in the mornings, so whatever I ate for dinner the night before was my fuel. I stayed away from fried foods and simple carbs which made me feel heavy and a little sick. I also didn’t eat just a boring lettuce salad. If I did, I wouldn’t have enough calories to go as far as I needed to. Delicious complex carbs and protein is what I stuck with. I also included healthy plant fats and vegetables. On the off chance I didn’t get enough food, or the right food, the night before, I would grab a bit of fruit for some energy. A few grapes or a glass of orange juice gave me enough energy for the run.
On my first run I couldn’t do .6 miles without burning out. But I ran 3.1 miles in 33:33. I was very nervous on race day. I arrived early to give myself plenty of time to work myself into a tizzy then calm down and focus on the task at hand. I picked up my packet, got my t-shirt, and pinned my on bib. When pinning, I read the instructions. Mine said it had to be on the front of the body, facing out, right side up. I warmed up using dynamic stretching and smiled at all the cute kids and dogs running around. I also recommend you check out the tents and jam to the music being played to help get you hyped. I didn’t, but I was there alone and too embarrassed to let loose.
When it comes to lining up, I chose the middle. I’m not an expert runner, nor am I complete beginner. I kept my muscles loose so when the race started, my legs were ready. Like most first timers, I went too fast in the beginning and I didn’t rehydrate at the station. I would say those are my two biggest mistakes. Another observation of myself and my personality that I will take into my next race, is I don’t determine the weather or the trail. There were small hills and it was very windy. I let these environmental factors slow me down, when I should have persevered. I was pleased to see the finish line and I pushed myself to finish strong. Tip: when you finish it is good to walk around a bit to let your muscles cool down. Oh and a tip I didn’t know I needed was to remember where you park. I walked around for about as long as my race because I couldn’t find my car in the parking garage.
After the race and I returned home, I ate…a lot…of carbs. I enjoyed my race and I was very proud of myself. I’m also pleased to say my running accountability partner was proud of me, too. So proud in fact, I have just signed up for my first 10k at his insistence. I’m nervous because it’s longer, in the city, and there will be a lot of people there. But I’m going to start training tomorrow and will be ready come race day!