This morning I finally ran a 5K after four months of training.
My first accomplishment was actually getting to the race and starting. I was convinced that it was too soon, and that I wasn’t ready. I almost backed out at the last minute.
But I made it there, and I ran the race. I’m not going to lie to you — it was hard. Today wasn’t just my first race — it’s the longest I’ve ever run in my life. I’d never run longer than a mile and a half in one stretch.
When I came to mile 1, it felt like I’d already been running for an hour. I made the mistake of training indoors on a treadmill, and running outside was a whole different experience. My lungs were burning with the chilly morning air. My legs ached as they hit the hard concrete. Several times during the race, I wondered if I could actually finish. I considered stopped, cutting through, and walking back to the car without finishing. But I kept going.
I was hoping I’d get a second wind as I hit mile 3. Instead, I just felt exhausted. I wondered how I’d actually get over the finish line.
At that moment, you’ll never believe what song randomly started playing on my iPod shuffle: “Eye of the Tiger.” I almost couldn’t believe it myself. I was going to finish my first 5K to “Eye of the Tiger”? It was too perfect. So I picked up the pace, pushed myself a little further, and I crossed the finish line.
My goal was to finish the race in under 40 minutes. I came in at 41:35. That’s roughly a 13:45 minute mile. My fastest speed is about 12:30 minutes per mile, but considering the fact that I’ve never run a full three miles, I’m cutting myself some slack for endurance.
I may have been slow by a seasoned runner’s standards, but I still crossed the finish line feeling like Rocky.