Saturday, October 25, 2008

My First 5 K

Fitness is a personal thing. Its battle between yourself and your body. You can be as fit as you want or as unfit as you want. It's the one thing that is in your complete control. Coming from a military family it's something that should be part of every fiber of your being - and my parents have been very disappointed that it hasn't played a larger role in my life.

Since I've graduated I haven't spent nearly enough time working on it. Last year I made a pact with myself to turn over a new leaf. For me.

Steady diet and exercise, coupled with encouragement from my doctor, allowed me to drop 25 pounds. While it's an accomplishment that I am very proud of, I still have a long way to go. I still try to stick with my diet (1400 calorie diet that I learned while working with a dietitian - same as weight watchers but without the weekly meetings) and incorporate exercise into my weekly routine at least twice. (I'm hoping to bump that up to 3 to 4 times soon)

My Saturday morning routine consists of an hour and a half workout. I wake up early (8am - early for me!), drop Dan off at his masters class and head to the gym for some me time.
This morning was a bit different. I woke up, got dressed in my usual work out wear but this time I headed to Fairield to compete in my first 5 K. After a 30 minute ride I pulled into the parking lot and found my friends waiting for me.

Up until two days before the race I had no fears competing. Let's be honest - - - I was under no impressions that I'd smoke anyone out there. But I wanted to do it for me, and even though a few of my coworkers would be participating as well, I felt like I could hold my own and not be embarrassed. My goal was to finish in 45 minutes. At most less than an hour. I know, that's not very fast but it was my goal. Last night I started to worry. Worried that I would suck. Worried that I'd be last. But I went.

After chatting, stretching, eating a banana, pinning on my racing number and taking a few photos with coworkers we were ready to go. Here I am below before the race, posing with an apple, ready to take the road on.

We all lined up and then heard, "ready, set, go!" and the race was on! I ran for a bit, but started to hurt early and ended up speed walking for almost the remainder of the race. Oddly enough, I can walk much faster than I can run - isn't that sad!? When we met the first mile marker the counter shouted, "15 minutes and 30 seconds." I turned to my friend and race partner in crime Shana and exclaimed, "We're doing good! Let's keep it up." Second mile marker and I knew that I wasn't going to make my goal. The counter shouted "33 minutes ladies." Ugh. There was no way I could push it any harder and do a 12 minute mile and a bit. But we didn't give up. I don't know my exact finish time. I think it was 53:15, or was it 55:13?

At the finish line our coworkers were waiting for us. They had finished in half the time we did. Ugh - I instantly thought. Try and stay positive Mack! You didn't finish last in the entire race, just last out of your group! We grabbed a few bottles of water and posed by a firetruck for a photo that will make it into our company newsletter.

When I left the race I felt disappointed. I didn't understand why I hadn't done better. At the gym I can clock 3.5 or 4 miles in an hour (on the elliptical and treadmill), where had I gone wrong? In the last month and a half I've lost 6.5 pounds. Why did I suck? I should have trained outside I thought. I should have pushed myself more. Or the ground outside should move like it does in the gym!

I realize that even though I didn't do spectacular, the main point is I did it. There's no way I would have done this a year ago. No way I would have put myself out there. In front of people I know and in front of REAL runners. It's okay that I did how I did. I think I need to learn to not put so much pressure on myself. Fitness is a journey and I'm just on the second lap.

I hope this is another new beginning that can continue in my life. Maybe I'll find more 5Ks to participate in. And maybe, with training, I can improve on my time for the next one.


Alli said...

You did GREAT Melissa! It was great that we all went out early on a Saturday morning and supported the cause and JP!

cakers said...

You did great - Congrats on your 1st 5k!! Here's to the next : )

Shana said...

at least we had each other =)

Nic said...

You did great Melissa!! :)