Slow and steady wins the race…

June 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

Rocking my Red Sox hot so that I could blend in. Took this right after the race, as I was walking home. This is how red my face gets after working out!
Me in my apartment after the race. Wanted to show off my race bib!

Bryan deployed to Iraq in April 2008. When he left, I was just about to go on summer vacation, and I made it my goal to get in shape while he was gone. I had visions of greeting him at the airport much thinner and shocking him with my hotness. I also set of goal of learning how to run. I have always hated running, ever since the dreaded mile runs in elementary and middle school P.E. I was moderately athletic through swimming and competitive cheerleading, but I just could not run. I couldn’t get the breathing and form to come naturally, and I was wheezing after a block. I heard about the Couch to 5K running program that eases you slowly into running, so that after 9 weeks you can run at 5K, and I decided to try it.

Over the summer of 2008 (the dreaded Phoenix summer), I went to the gym almost every single day. I slowly progressed through the program, though it was not always smooth sailing. I am overweight, and my heavier frame made running painful for my knees. Sometimes I had to wear a knee brace, and I’ve learned that I really can’t run consecutive days without experiencing some pain. I’m hoping that once I lose a bit more weight (I’ve lost about 10-12 lbs since I graduated college, by cleaning up my eating habits a bit and exercising more), the knee pain will diminish even more. I did all of my running on a treadmill, and was amazed that by the time Bryan returned from Iraq, I could run for about 30 minutes without stopping. I couldn’t even run for 1 minute when I started, but I taught myself to run what I considered to be a decent amount!

After Bryan returned, I kept up with my running on the treadmill, but not as consistently as before. We often woke up at 4 a.m. to get to the gym by 5 a.m., but when we found out that Bryan was moving to Japan and I was going to Boston, we started going out more on weeknights, drinking more to try to take advantage of our time left with our friends, and exercising less. Over the summer while I was living in Okinawa with Bryan, I ran a bit to keep up my endurance, but still not as consistently as I would have liked. First semester of law school I exercised even less, but I picked up the pace after we got engaged. I am still trying to lose more weight before our wedding in August so that I can be proud of the pictures–I’m hoping to lose 15-20 more lbs before then.

One major change I have made recently is moving from the treadmill to the road. It has been tricky, because Boston sidewalks are death traps, and running on the road is obvioiusly much more difficult than the treadmill. While we were in Hawaii, Bryan ran outside with me, and I was proud to work up to running 3 miles outside by the end of the trip. While in Hawaii, I researched 5K races in Boston, and found that there was going to be an AIDS 5K on June 6. I put it in my calendar and decided to run it alone (since most of my friends are out of town for their summer jobs), and then promptly forgot about it. It wasn’t until yesterday that I remembered that I planned to run it! I realized I hadn’t actually registered for it, and registration was closed, but you could register in-person on the day of, so that’s what I decided to do!

This morning I woke up, ate a banana and strawberry kefir for breakfast, and got ready. As I was walking there, it started pouring, but I waited out the heavy rain (which passed after a few minutes) under an awning, and then made my way down to the Charles River esplannade. When I got there, I found the registration tent, paid my $30, got my bib, and then checked in my purse. There was 30 minutes to go until race time, so I drank some water, used the port-a-potty, and stretched.

My goal was to run under 35 minutes, and to never walk–when I run on the treadmill, I’m usually at a 12 minute pace. I don’t track my speed when I run outdoors, but I thought it might be a little faster. The announcer had us line up and told the slower runners to go to the back of the pack, so that is where I headed (although not allll the way to the back). It was cloudy, cool, and still sprinkling, which actually made for great running weather. The gun sounded, and I started slowly jogging at my normal pace. I kept repeating to myself that slow and steady wins the race, especially when so many people were passing me. I skipped the first 2 water stops, which was a mistake, because I later felt my mouth getting dry. The first mile maker I was feeling pretty good, and found out my pace was right at 11 minutes. I tried to slow down a little during the 2nd mile, but by then people who had started off too quickly were fading and starting to walk, and my competitive nature made me speed up to pass some slower runners. I was pretty darn tired by mile 3, but I knew I only had one more mile to go and tried to pick up the pace. I also grabbed some water, but I didn’t stop to drink it and only got a little down before I threw my cup away.

The last mile was painful. I knew I was so close, and I really wanted to keep up my 11 minute or so pace (probably more like 11:30) and make it in under 35:00. I was breathing so hard, because I was pushing myself harder than normal, but I kept going no matter what. Walking was not even an option, though I let myself slow down a bit. But once I saw that finish line, I really tried to go all out–I didn’t have much more gas in the tank, but whatever I had left I used to get through that finish line. When I saw the time was 34:50, I knew I really had to push it to make my goal. I made it through at 34:53! I was absolutely exhausted, my heart was racing, and I had to walk it off for awhile before I felt normal again. Afterward I sipped some water, called and woke Bryan up to tell him my time, and tried to get a free hat, but they were all out šŸ˜¦ I knew I wasn’t going to be winning any awards, and I didn’t see anything much to do, so I just went home. But I wore my race bib the whole way home, feeling very proud of myself for making both of my goals.

Ultimately, I would like to run a half-marathon, and one day a full marathon. I had planned to run a half on June 27, but there is no way that is going to happen. They are also having a 5K that day, so I am going to try to switch to that. If I run the 5K, my goal will be to run it in less time than I did today. I’m feeling pretty good about myself right now šŸ™‚

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