I’ve been behind on posts and like Alea said, I think we’re going to take some time to rethink our strategy and writing style for the blog. I’ll cover more on that later; today I’m going to talk about running my very first race!
I started running last year toward the end of November, so it’s been roughly about six months. Before that I was walking briskly twice a day, 15 minutes each session. Running wasn’t such a conscious decision but rather a way for me to expend some extra energy and stress. I thought to myself, well it’s not that much more for me to jog–why not? It quickly evolved to a series of small goals, such as–“I want to be able to run a mile!” and so on. In about 3 months I was running a mile three times a week. In about April I decided I wanted to try and run a 5K before my birthday in July.
I didn’t really do any special training to run the 5K, or really–to start running in the first place. I did some track in HS, so I knew not to overswing my arms and that breathing is crucial to maintaining a good pace, but in terms of reading up on form or having someone coach me–I haven’t had the opportunity to do that yet. It was more of an impatience to move that inspired me to put on my shoes three times a week and head out the door on my breaks at work, and it seems to be working fairly well. I started looking up races in June and July to meet my goal and the Kaiser Permanente one seemed like a good fit. It was held through my mom’s work, so it was convenient and free to sign up. I also liked that it was family-oriented, so the atmosphere was likely to be more casual–perfect for a beginner just getting her feet wet in running.
To prepare for the race, I had run on the beach at Huntington a few times. I timed myself doing a 3.2 mile loop, and Runkeeper told me I finished it at around 39 minutes. I set myself a few goals for the KP race: I wanted to finish under 40 minutes and I wanted to keep an under 11-minute-a-mile pace.
The race was held on June 7, 2014 at 7:45 in the morning–perfect timing for me, because my training runs are usually around 9:00 am. The race atmosphere is indeed completely different and for the first 1.5 miles I felt myself running a lot faster than I normally do. The course had us circle around the parking lot twice. In my opinion it was not well-marked, and the route was a bit repetitive/boring. I guess such is standard for more casual, homebrew races. There were water stations and they even posted a few photographers to snap shots of people running by. My dad was on hand with his phone for this shot:
This was still early on in the race, about a mile in. My dad waved me over and I tried some funny faces on as I jogged past him. I’m glad he got this shot because the professional photographer didn’t have any of me. Oh well, perhaps next year.
How did I feel post-race? I definitely needed a few days to recover. I took the rest of that Saturday off until Wednesday (which was my scheduled run day)–so about three days. And I needed them to roll out my muscles and to let my body heal. I felt very high on adrenaline for a few hours after the race, in fact, I felt a bit anxious and it was a little uncomfortable. I hadn’t slept well the night before the race because I was nervous, and all of that seemed to unwind immediately after running. I also didn’t feel too hungry post-race but my appetite picked up in the days afterward. It was interesting to experience such reactions, but now that I know what could possibly happen I can better prepare for my body’s post-race needs.
I’m really glad I met my goal of running a 5K before July almost a full month ahead of schedule! I’m inspired to do more because of it knowing that I really can become capable of more in my life–not just in fitness but also in other aspects of my life. That’s it from me for now; stay tuned for more in the upcoming week.