Eight years ago on October 11, 2008, I ran my first ever race. In January 2008, I had decided that I wanted to get fit and start eating better. I became a vegetarian and started working out at the gym at school with my friend Heather. When she first suggested we should run, I laughed at the idea. I had always hated running and had never run a mile in my life. Well, one thing led to another, and soon not only had I run a mile, but I was training to run a 5k. I ended up losing 30lbs and getting into the best shape of my life. That year Heather and I ran the CMU Homecoming Miles for Medals race and two more 5k races later that month. And then I took a 4 year hiatus from running races.
When I first got back into running, it was a struggle. I gained back all of the weight I lost in college, and then some. Needless to say, I lost a lot of the gains that I had achieved when I first started running. And I continued to struggle with running for another few years. It wasn’t until recently that I really got serious about running and working towards loftier goals. One of those goals being to run a full marathon – something that I honestly never even DREAMED I would do. It wasn’t even a doubt issue, it was more that I didn’t think I wanted it.
And now here I am, one week away from my first marathon. A friend of mine from my running group asked if anyone was planning to run the CMU Homecoming 5k this year. I didn’t have anything going on this weekend, so I decided, hey, why not!? Originally I had planned to do what I did last week – run the 5k, then do 5 more miles for a total of 8. But since I slacked on my running this week, I plan on doing another 8 miles tomorrow.
So this morning I headed up to Mt. Pleasant, and it was chilly! Mid 40s… which is actually great running weather… but I just felt unprepared for it! I mean, it was 80 degrees yesterday afternoon! I met up with two of my running friends, and then saw a couple others from the local running group that I am a part of. My parents met me at the start, too, which is always great.
It was definitely nostalgic running the race today. I remembered being anxious and excited for the race to start 8 years ago, and it seeming like it was taking forever. Today it felt like, hey, just another 5k! It truly amazes me how far I have come in the last 8 years. I started off slowly, probably slower than I needed to, because I’m still paranoid about injuring myself. After the first mile I picked up the pace a bit, and started passing other runners. Before I knew it I had hit the 2 mile mark and continued to speed up. I hit the corner to turn down Franklin, the home stretch of the race. A runner that had been passing me and then hanging back the whole race caught up and passed me again, but I wasn’t about to let that happen. I hauled butt for that last quarter mile and saw the clock ticking towards 35 minutes. I knew if I stayed under 36 minutes I would have a course PR.
My official chip time for the race was 34:08 – a 2 minute 17 second course PR! The course is short – it’s only 3 miles instead of 3.11 – so it was not a 5k PR, but still darn good! I ended up with negative splits – per Garmin my first mile was 11:39, my second mile 11:29, and my last mile 10:59!
I have to be honest. I’m SUPER excited, nervous, terrified, elated to be running my first marathon next weekend. But at the same time I’m also looking forward to a fresh training program. Marathon training is extremely exhausting, both physically and mentally. It is super time consuming, especially when you are a slow-poke like I am! Today’s 5k proved that I haven’t totally lost my speed, and that I still have the ability to push myself. So I’ll be looking forward to doing just that – pushing for speed. But first… 26.2 miles… in ONE WEEK!!!