I did it! Our 5K was this past Saturday and I ran the whole dang thing, hills and all!
I was nervous going into it because all my runs the week leading up to the race were awful. Awful. I ran four times the week before, and each time I had no energy and couldn't get myself moving faster than a slow shuffle. And on my last run before the race, I couldn't even finish 3 miles. So come race day, I was definitely nervous I wouldn't be able to finish it.
The morning of the race, Melanie and I got to the race location about an hour and a half before it started so we could find parking, get our stuff in order, get our timing chips, etc. It was freezing that early in the morning so we walked around for a while and people watched and I tried to keep myself positive, which is probably the hardest part in all of this running. Mind over body.
Once we got running, the nerves were gone. It was still a hard course because there were quite a few big, gradual hills and a few steep ones too, but we settled into our pace and talked and it was just like all the other runs we'd done over the past months.
The best part of the race was actually the worst part, too. We'd just passed halfway, we'd just finished the gradual hill that sapped all of my strength, and we had two steep hills coming up one after the other. For the life of me, I couldn't keep myself positive. (This is where Melanie comes in-- she's pretty good at pep talks.) As we're running these hills, a woman comes up next to us and joins in on our conversation like she's been there the whole time. So we started to talk with her and get to know her, and she told us she'd just retired from teaching after thirty years. I told her I was trying to find a teaching job and asked if she had any advice, and she began to offer all these different tips for getting into the school system and told me who I could contact at her former school in order to get a foot in the door. Then she told us that she had done the Couch to 5K program too with women from her church, so we talked about churches and it turns out we'd all done the same Beth Moore Bible study.
As we're talking about all these things, I realized that we were already into the last half mile-- which was thankfully all downhill-- and in no time we crossed the finish line! I tell ya, God's timing was perfect. He knew how negative I can be and He knew how much I'd been dreading those hills, so He sent someone we could talk with and who could distract us in order to get us through the race. It was such an enjoyable race, mostly because of our conversation with that woman (who also introduced me to a couple of her teacher friends after the race-- how sweet is that?). And it was such a great feeling afterwards to realize that I'd officially run a 5K, which is something I never thought I would do.
Sadly, we only got one picture of the race after it was all over and we were sweaty and gross. :) Check out my cool shirt from the race...look closely and you'll see a dog on top of the sign, painting a 9 after 5K. Get it? (Say it all together...5K 9...har har.)
Next up is an 8K by Thanksgiving! Look out world...I'm officially a runner!