We didn’t choose the running life, the running life chose us!
Actually, that’s not true. I think that anyone can tell you that it’s a decision, and sometimes a struggle to get out there day after day, year after year and run.
It’s a love/hate relationship. There are times when it’s awesome and there’s other times when it sucks and we dread every minute of it. But being that it’s Valentine’s Day, we are going to focus on love and share our very first race experiences with you.
When I started training with C25K (Couch to 5K) in the summer of 2013 I’d signed up for a The Color Run with some friends. There were three of us that would be running our first race together so we kept up with each other on Facebook and through texts to see how our progress was going. Before we got to the race in which we would get colored cornstarch thrown all over us, we found a different race.
The local fire department supports a charity each year and does a Pink Heals 5K, so we figured we’d go for it. We’d all done the training and we were ready. Right?
Well, yeah. Right.
The race was in October so the weather was, well, I live in Florida so it was warm and muggy. I was feeling pretty confident, especially being surrounded by all of my friends. There was no pressure, really. It was the first time for a lot of us and we thought of it as a “practice run” (get it?) for our upcoming race. The course was simple: down the street, over the bridge, and back. Only…I didn’t train for bridges! I remember feeling so defeated because I ended up walking some of the bridge and hating that it was happening.
When all was said and done, though, I felt such a great sense of accomplishment. I was also sore and having my first experience of being rungry. It’s a thing, okay? Looking back, I am so glad I had those friends to train and run with. Having support for a sport that is about mind over matter, truly matter.
I have a really hard time coming up with my first race. I honestly can’t remember what the very first running race I ever did was… I would have been very little, probably running alongside my mom, in some local 5k in Anchorage. That was just my childhood – running with mom, doing triathlons, cross country skiing, playing basketball.
Having said all of that, as a kid I also didn’t like running. Like, at all. It made me tired, there wasn’t a whole lot of “fun” in it, I wasn’t scoring points… yeah. It was lame. My mom dragged me out there and I complained the whole time (until I could horse-to-the-barn back to the car when we were almost done).
I ran as training for basketball in college – still hated it. I ran after basketball (still in college) to kind of stay in shape – it just made me feel really OUT of shape.
I graduated college, realized that I missed being fit and strong and decided that running was an easy way to find those things again. So I started on the treadmill in my friends’ basement, ran at the gym, cleaned up my diet, ran outside, and finally decided to sign up for a race.
In 2012, I’d just moved back in with my parents and was making the most of the comfortable Alaskan running weather and knew that the Run for Women – a five-miler – was right around the corner. I hadn’t run a race in a long time and really felt as though I could run this one and feel good about it.
And I DID feel good about it! I had signed up alone, but about a half mile into the race found a friend of my mom’s and ran with her for a bit. After a while, we split up, but I felt comfortable and confident and by the time I crossed the finish line I’d not only enjoyed myself, but I done so much better than I thought I would. After I got home that morning, I told my mom I wanted to run a half marathon… and that was that.
It was 2013 and the Color Run was all the rage, so when some friends asked me if I wanted to join their team, Team Scrambled Legs, for the Denver Color Run, I was IN! I trained using Couch to 5k, too, and my team mates were much faster than me. I remember finding them before the start was the most stressful part of the race.
Not only was it the best team name ever, but it was a great intro to road racing. I was slow as usual, but it didn’t matter. I think my time was around 42 minutes. I was hoping to be closer to 35 minutes but meh. I had fun, got dirty, and gave a little girl my gumball necklace. It was a crowded race, and aside from the BOLDER Boulder and Run Disney events, I tend to stay away from big race crowds.
Running through Denver City Park is always enjoyable, the park is gorgeous and the weather that day was warm. My husband, saint that he is, got up with me and made the 45 minute drive to the race start. That day, he became my personal race photographer.
I think I might be the only person in that photo who still runs. When I ran that race, I never dreamed I’d run a half marathon. Five years later I’m planning to finish my 10th half this year, and embark on lots of trail adventures. Looking back, it’s great to see how far I, and my running goals, have come!
My very first race was a 5k. But not just any ol’ 5k. It was the Down and Dirty Obstacle Race in Philadelphia.
The year was 2011 and while I’d been working out for a few years before that with Stroller Strides, 2011 is the year I started running. I’d begun training on my treadmill during the spring and by the summer event, I thought that I’d be absolutely FINE.
I was absolutely wrong.
The hilly, rough terrain running was honestly the least of my problems. You guys, the obstacles… the first one was a low wall which I not-so-gracefully threw myself over and landed on my knees.
However, I had Cam with me for this race so while I might have been ill-prepared for the obstacles, I had a really good time! Well, not a good time, but we entertained each other and made sure we both survived.
My husband was a spectator, so he snagged a few pictures of obstacles that I was actually able to conquer and not hurt myself on.
It was a tough, tough race but I had the determination to finish and then sign up for another race, the Rothman 8k, about 4 months later.
After the Down and Dirty, on my old tumblr, I wrote:
Something I learned this weekend is that it’s always important to challenge yourself because you hold yourself to a higher level of achievement each time. Things get easier every time you do them and that’s when you have to kick it up to the next step.
Also? I’m pretty freaking bad ass.
We love you! Tell us about YOUR first race ever? Was it love at first run or did it take some time to settle into the relationship?
My first race was the TC 5K during Twin Cities Marathon weekend. And I guess you could say I fell in love after that because I signed up for a 5K race series and two half marathons for the next year! Plus I graduated from the 5K to the 5K/10K/10 mile challenge and then the full marathon 🙂
Sadly, 2018 will be the first year I don’t run a race during Twin Cities Marathon weekend since we have a wedding.
Oh wow! That challenge sounds AWESOME and while I’ve never done a full marathon, I’ve heard that Twin Cities is a fantastic one.
I have a favorite race that I’m skipping this year because of a family obligation – I was a little sad at first but I know it will be waiting for me in 2019!
My health journey started out as “moving 30 min a day”, and that would usually be at least a 20 min walk outside on my lunch break. Then I started the C25k on my elliptical, thinking it had to be about the same as running, but less impact! And I fully believed that until I ran outside! But my walks became a run/walk progress as I did c25k outside. I honestly don’t think I ever made it past week 6 on that thing! I started running every morning, between 2 – 2.75 miles and one morning a co-worker asked about my running, and I told him, and he goes “oh, well then you can run a 5k now!”
Until that moment, I didn’t know I could!
So, I went home, signed up for a local, easy to get to, 5k. Didn’t tell anyone until the start – and was the most nervous I’ve ever been!
I placed 5th in my AG! 🙂
Awesome start off story, Kate! I love that you didn’t tell anyone – sometimes we need to do things just for ourselves at first. And 5th is your AG is amazing!!! You’re rocking it.