This past weekend I ran my first 5K. I’ve been training since November of last year when it was still relatively warm in Michigan and I was keen to get away from the gym atmosphere of the local Y. Also, I’ve been noticing that some of my favorite characters (Harry Dresden, for example) are runners. I’m easily influenced.
I knew what 5K I was going to make my first, the annual Mt Olivet Sunrise Run in Detroit. I used the Couch-to-5K program from Active.com and after a few starts and stops over a few months, I was well on my way to serious training. I ran 3 days a week, per the program, and I switched up between programs and apps to keep from getting bored. When I was in New Orleans NOT MAKING A MOVIE ($#!@), I ran every other day in the 80 degree heat of 7am to stay on track. I ran through the Garden District, past Lafayette Cemetery #1 and Anne Rice’s home, past other stately mansions, over uneven brick pavers and generally felt good about my training.
My home course here in Royal Oak (just around the neighborhood) increased from 2.10 miles to 2.75 as I added streets and modified my route without venturing onto the major roads. I posted my running progress to FB because I needed to keep honest, and made running friends on Nike+. watching their running progress surpass mine in leaps as I kept to my under 3 miles a run, while they easily did several more. I began running the Nike+ app concurrent with my Couch-to-5K app to log total distance.
I drank more water and ate better lunches. I ran and sweated, panting and refining my still awkward form. I ran when it was icy and windy, pushed through the rain and once even light snow. I got better over considerably more time than 9 weeks, ran for longer, l earned to push myself just a little bit more every time. I imagined running partners and coaches driving me further. I added songs to my playlist and encouraged friends to suggest their favorites (which I happily added). When just the music wasn’t enough I discovered Zombies Run! which added that final kick of motivation, especially when running in the twilight.
I was determined not to fall flat on my first time out in a race. I want to be good in everything I touch, and deep down I worried I wouldn’t even finish and sometimes that means worrying more than necessary about the final outcome.
I probably shouldn’t have.
I ran my 5K in 40 minutes and 10 seconds, five minutes slower than in my dreams, five minutes faster than I thought I would actually do.
I don’t mind tell you I got a little emotional at the starter shot. I’m doing it I thought as the much faster 5k and 10K runners sped off. I jogged at my own pace for an entire mile and *that* felt good. I watched the speedy peeps disappear around headstones and through the tunnel, listening to my Race Day Mission in my headphones. See, I’m Runner 5, and me and Runner 8 were heading out to the Simpson’s Corner Shop for information and that’s about all I remember because somewhere after the first mile I zoned out. I could hear the music, but not so much the words of the mission. I was concentrating on making the next mile, not slowing too much, and not letting my heart explode.
I do remember flinching when the helicopter blew up my destination, which made me giggle since Mt Olivet is on the edge of City airport. I saw the finish line and with Runner 8’s encouragement, ran the entirety of the last kilometer. I got through it and finished in a time better than I anticipated, but not quite as good as I would have like (because I’m selfish). There may have been more than salty sweat in my eyes when I hit the chute. As serendipity would have it, The Oatmeal posted a six-part comic today about his long-distance running and what it means to him. It connected with me as a lot of Matt’s stuff does, but this most importantly:
“I run very fast because I desperately want to stand very still. I run to seek a void. The world around me is so very, very loud. It begs me to slow down, to sit down, to lie down. And the buzzing roar of the world is nothing compared to the noise inside my head. I’m an introspective person, and sometimes I think too much, about my job and about my life. I feed an army of pointless, bantering demons. But when I run, the world grows quiet. Demons are forgotten. Krakens are slain, and Blerches are silenced.” – Matt Inman
That’s why I’ll be out again tomorrow.
If you’d like to be buddies on Nike+, hit me up and I’ll add you. I can always use a few more motivations.