I finished my first 5k race! Notice how I said finished, not ran. I did intervals the entire race, which is a fancy way of saying I walked and jogged. It just sounds better, like I did it on purpose or something.
I started training for the race about two months prior and was progressing nicely until I developed Achilles tendinitis from running with the wrong shoes and increasing my mileage too quickly. I ended up having to completely stop jogging and even slow down my walking speed to get my heel in better shape. I also caught an upper respiratory infection so I was nowhere near 100%. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I was going to go. My husband had already picked up the race packet and I paid for it, so I thought I may as well go and see what happens. Worst case scenario, I’d have to walk the whole race and that would have been fine. Surprisingly, my heel didn’t hurt at all during the 5k, but my lungs were very painful and really slowed me down. I jogged until my lungs hurt, then walked until they didn’t, and then kept doing the intervals until I made it to the finish.
There was entertainment at two different locations along the race, a really great drummer (both in personality and skill, he wholeheartedly cheered each person) and a friendly DJ. There were two water stations as well, and I had no idea that after drinking your water it was standard procedure to just throw the cup on the ground. There were so many cups everywhere and it just felt wrong to litter, but they have people who pick them up. One word of caution, drink carefully. At the second station, I tossed it back too quickly and ended up choking on my water. Not good.
After surviving my brush with drowning while jogging, I did manage to make it to the finish line. As I jogged towards the huge banner, I could hear people cheering, clapping, and yelling—one voice stood out deep and clear as he said, “Finish strong!” I’ll never know who said it or who it was directed to, but it felt like it was for me and every other person that had reached the end of the race. We ran under the celebratory banner, were given a medal, and then had a picture taken for posterity. It was great!
For the majority of people, the point of racing is to finish with a new personal best. Since it was my first race, I just wanted to finish. I wanted to finish something I never thought I’d be able to do, not just from a physical perspective but a personal one as well. Finishing a 5k was a great experience and no one will can take it away. I will always be someone who competed in a 5k race and you know what? I’m going to do it again. In fact, I’ve already registered for several more 5k races and even a 10k in 6 months that will be the goal race I’m working towards. Be sure to keep an eye out for my follow up posts where I’ll talk about the things I learned from my first race and for training tips too. Have you competed in any races? Do you want to?