My first 5K or When I realized I could accomplish something athletic

In the latest edition of the together-but-separate blog postings, Amy and I are writing about our first athletic achievements. I started thinking about my first running accomplishments recently during a discussion with Heather about how to begin running. I remember the first time I ran a mile – it felt so amazing and accomplished! My first 5K was a similar feeling.

A memory

I’m a treadmill runner, but I like to try new things. So a couple of years ago when a former colleague, Elizabeth, asked me if I’d like to run the Great Pumpkin 5K with her in Rock Hill, I agreed wholeheartedly. Elizabeth is a lot more athletic than me, but I figured she could either push me to run faster or leave me in the dust at the start line, either of which would be OK.

I was running about 10-minute miles at the time, on the treadmill with no incline, so I knew the outside run would be a challenge. My goal was to finish the race in around 30 minutes, and to try not to walk any – to run the entire time. Nothing huge here – it was my first race, after all.

The day of the race came and I was so pleasantly surprised at all the positive energy! It was early in the morning – especially for me, a night person – but people were cheerful and dressed up (some even as pumpkins!) and excited.

We packed in like sardines at the start line – and the beginning of the race was slow moving. We were practically walking. But eventually it thinned out and Elizabeth and I kept a strong pace. We rounded the first mile together, at 9 minutes. At the 1.5 mile mark, there was a water station. She, a seasoned race pro, was able to run and drink at the same time. I however, not so coordinated. I walked for a minute with my water, knowing I was dropping behind her but I was OK with it.

However, after walking for a second I could see Elizabeth, not too far ahead of me, and I decided to catch her. I sprinted until I was beside her, back on track. She looked over at me, impressed. “Wow!” she said. I smiled, and then about 10 paces later I realized that wasn’t so smart. Now I was out of breath and needed a walk break again.

The rest of the race I kept a run/walk pace. I was disappointed in myself for not having run the whole way, but I did finish at about 31 minutes – an entire 5 minutes behind Elizabeth. I wasn’t unhappy with the time considering the amount of walking I had done.

The best part? After the race, she looked over at me: “Want to go to spinning?”

“Sure!” I answered, and so we went. To the gym, the first row of bikes, wearing our race numbers during cycle class. We felt hard core.

Read about Amy’s first athletic accomplishment here.