My first 5k recap
Hi, friends! Hope you’re having a great Tuesday.
I had a crazy start to my morning today. Since my work hours are somewhat flexible, I have the freedom to sleep in a bit and start my day later than most office monkeys. I hate staying at work until 7pm, so obviously I try not to do it all the time, but sometimes a warm bed and a chubby, cuddly kittie are hard to say no to…
Mojo is such a chunky bugger. This was taken after I came home from the gym (note the headphone cords under his fat butt) and I couldn’t help but take a picture. He usually sleeps like this, or in some sort of contorted pose with his legs in the air. Love this little guy <3
Anyway, this morning I woke up pretty early (for me) around 7:30, but just stayed in bed dozing in and out. Before I knew it, it was 9:15 (WHA?), and my phone started beeping — it turns out, I had a meeting at 9:30 that I had forgotten about. AHHHHH!!! Talk about panic mode. I leapt out of bed and did the “bare minimum” routine: wash face, brush teeth, hair in ponytail, tinted moisturizer. Contact case went in the purse, along with makeup bag, and I hopped in a cab about five minutes after getting up. My outfit (mostly) matches, but it is not a pretty sight. And I HATE taking cabs to work…ugh, it’s such a waste of money, but there is no way I could have made it to the Loop from my north side apartment in less than 40 minutes. Poop.
The meeting was called a “team breakfast meeting,” so naturally, I expected breakfast to be available. Reasonable assumption, right? (This kind of assumption becomes much more important when you leave the house within five minutes of waking up without eating a thing). As it turned out, “breakfast” meant a small box of freakin’ Dunkin Donuts Munchkins on the table, and NO COFFEE. I nibbled on four Munchkins throughout the 20-minute meeting because I thoroughly believe that eating something, anything — even if it’s fatty, sugary crap for breakfast is better than nothing at all. Unfortunately, I know the sugar crash will be coming later to haunt me.
Since it was Pride weekend in Chicago, my eating habits weren’t any better — I alternated between Mexican food, beer, nothing at all and race food — aka free bananas and bagels :D Oh, and there was our victory breakfast afterward at Ann Sather, which consisted of mimosas, eggs benedict and hash browns!
(am I awkward, or what? but I don’t care — I just finished my first 5k!!)
This whole, lack of a shower thing is going to be an issue since I have a Chicago ladyblogger meetup for dinner tonight (!!!) at Karyn’s on Green, a totally vegan restaurant serving up chic, classic American food that, “makes vegan sexy.” I’m nowhere near a vegan, but I do love my veggies so I’ve been wanting to try this place out.
AND, I am so so excited to meet up with some Chicago blogger ladies for the very first time! Since I’m still relatively new to the “scene,” I kinda feel like the awkward kid who’s still trying to make friends (don’t laugh, damn it), so I was over the moon when Miz MmmStories invited me to come along. And this time around, I won’t even feel awkward about busting out my gigantic camera throughout the meal, ‘cause everybody else will be doin’ it too! :)
So I bet you’re wondering about this 5k, huh? Well, it was the annual Proud to Run 5k run/walk and 10k. I opted for the 5k run since I had never done a race before. I won’t lie, I was so nervous from the time I signed up, right until I was standing there at the starting line. I have never been a good (or fast) runner, so the fact that I’ve been running at all is still a miracle to me.
My lovely friend Amy signed up with me, which I think was key to my success with this first race. Although we didn’t train together at all (hah! seriously, the first time we ran together was AT the race), we vowed that we would do the whole thing together and finish at the same time. Each time one of us would get nervous or discouraged, the other would offer some inspirational, motivational, or get-your-fucking-act-together (my personal favorite) words to keep ourselves on track. We were nervous, but excited, and I’m so so glad I had her by my side to finish this awesome (albeit not that huge) first step.
On a side note, I’m sure you’ve noticed our awesomely rainbowed-out outfits. Proud to Run benefits and supports Chicago’s LGBTQ community, specifically its youth. With many friends of mine being part of the LGBTQ community, as well as being an “ally” myself, this is an important cause to me and I was so honored to be able to support it with my first race. Check out Pride Youth if you’re curious about the program.
So back to the race. The very first mile flew by. Amy and I both kept grinning from ear to ear, saying that we couldn’t believe we were actually doing this. Let me repeat — I am not a runner. I couldn’t even run a mile a few years ago. I may not be much farther, but it has been an uphill battle, so this was a big step. You can see our goofy, ridiculous smiles in this shot.
Hahahah, see us in the middle there? It’s obviously the beginning of the race :) this totally cracks me up!
Before we knew it, we were passing the first mile marker and the course started to wind back around over to the lake. It was a gorgeous morning, full of sunshine, so it was really neat to take that turn and run along the lake. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in love with Chicago and am pretty much hypnotized by Lake Michigan. Any chance to run, walk or simply sit by the lake makes me a happy lady.
One thing I didn’t really expect was the incredible buzz and energy that I felt while standing at the start of the race, as well as that first mile where everybody is packed in tightly. I’ve heard other runners talk about it before, but I always assumed it was just nervous energy. But there’s just this almost indescribable feeling of camaraderie that you sense, where everybody is excited and there for the same great reasons that you are. It was so neat!
After getting into mile 2, Amy and I started to “feel the burn.” There were some uphill spots that really bothered my bum knee, and it started to get pretty warm at that point (this was probably not helped by my polyester leg warmers…d’oh!). We started gettin’ sweaty and huffing and puffing, but kept going. We slowed our pace a bit and took a walking break or two (just about 30 seconds), and that seemed to help. There was a water station that we hit up for a quick gulp of Gatorade (no water!), and it was at this point that we started to encounter all of the spectators cheering us on.
I could never understand why people would want to come out and cheer on runners — I thought it seemed so boring. But I have to tell you, I have never been so grateful for “cheerleaders” in my life. There were city workers, SUPER FAST runners (who had already finished), friends and family members of the participants, members of the LGBTQ community, and regular, random people who just decided to show up. People would be slapping us high fives, clapping and hooting, and screaming “Keep going! You’re doing a great job!” At a few points, it even brought tears to my eyes… I know that sounds so hokey, but it felt so amazing that these people had offered up their mornings to support me in this huge personal challenge. Their words of encouragement added serious fuel to my fire, and gave me some extra energy to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I can’t thank them enough.
It seemed like mile 2 would never end…Amy and I kept asking where the hell the 3 mile marker was…it seriously felt like it was going to go on forever! We got to the point where the 5k course and 10k course split off, and after what seemed like an eternity, we finally saw the 3 mile mark. That was really the point where it got exciting. More and more people were lined up along the sides cheering, especially younger kids, which I thought was really cool. People were even saying, “Thank you! Thank you for doing this!” which brought another tear or two to my eye :) It felt so good to be doing this!
We didn’t have any music and hardly chatted, which I also thought was pretty neat. Both of us were so focused on getting to this goal that we hardly said a word. We had set a modest and almost embarrassing goal for ourselves of 40 minutes because we had no idea what we were capable of, or how things would go. I knew that I could probably beat that, but I was just so determined to finish that I really wanted to give myself something to work toward, but also something I knew was achievable. After we got into mile 3 and saw that the time was still in the 20′s, I knew we were going to beat it and I really got excited :D
Finally, we began to hear music and loud cheering, so we knew the finish line was close. More and more people were cheering us on and shouting, “You’re almost there! Finish strong, guys!!” Amy and I picked up our pace and started giggling and grinning, even though we were both beet red in the face and out of breath. At that point (since I am still a slow runner), I felt like my lungs were going to explode, but we pushed on anyway. And then, with the finish line in sight, we sprinted as quickly as we could. And we crossed.
I’m not a huge fan of how big my butt looks in that middle picture, haha, but hey — if there’s anything you can do to make your butt look smaller, it’s running, right? ;)
We are SO sweaty here in this last picture, but you couldn’t wip away those smiles if you tried. I’ve experienced plenty of runner’s highs before, but nothing topped this one.
Just because my mom is awesome, she caught this ridiculous picture of me after grabbing a water. I was trying shrug and make a funny face, but she caught me mid-expression. Love ya, mama.
I am so sexy. But not as sexy as this lady on the left. Not sure how she ran in that tutu…
The post-run atmosphere was so neat too, with all the goodies that one of the sponsors, Whole Foods (!!!) brought like whole wheat bagels and nanners. I chugged some water, had half a banana and a slice of orange because I knew we’d be going out for breakfast soon after.
All in all, I’m so so glad I decided to sign up for this race. It was not easy, and I really had to bust my butt to be able to get to this point, but I am beyond proud of myself. As I said before, there was a time in my life where I couldn’t even run a mile despite being able to chug away on the elliptical for an hour. Running is truly its own beast that requires a lot of hard work, mental focus and determination, and I can’t wait to keep pushing myself to see what else I am capable of….
Amy and I beat our goal of 40:00 with a time of 37:23, and didn’t even finish dead last in our age division. Priorities. :D
Oh, and did I mention we’re already signed up for our next one? ;)