My First 5K

Currently, my body is sore. All I would really like to do is sit in a massive tub of scalding water with about three pounds of epsom salt. But no, I’m being responsible and writing a blog post, like an adult.

Saturday afternoon, a friend from college stopped into town. Kaleigh needed to get an outfit for a formal event and she decided to take advantage of my sixth sense for amazing clearance deals. We grabbed some dinner and walked around the mall, scoffing at Macy’s $80 clearance. (“Clearance: You’re doing it wrong.”) Somewhere between stuffing my face with a pound of mongolian stir fry and trying on prom dresses, Kaleigh asked if I was interested in doing a 5k with her.

I recalled seeing an invite anout something like that earlier in the week. “Oh yeah, I forgot to actually look at that, what is it all about?”

“It’s a 5k mud run for breast cancer. There’s a bunch of obstacles – like a big mud pile you have to run up and over and then a big mud puddle you run through at the end.”

As I licked the peanut-curry sauce from the corner of my lip and felt the first hints of bloating and regret, I realized I should probably make some changes. Committing to a 5k seemed like a good first step.

“Yeah, I want to get a team of girls together. We can t-shirts printed and maybe get some sponsors,” Kaleigh said. “My one friend said she’d only do it if she got to wear a tutu, so I guess we’re wearing tutus and t-shirts.”

“I’m in.”

To convince me, all she really had to say was: “Hey, wanna run three miles in a tutu?”

And my response would have been: “Hell yes I do!”

Later that night, I got into bed with my Kindle and began planning my 5k the way most runners probably do: by creating a Pinterest board. I found an 8 week training program, added the schedule to my calendar, and got my gym bag together for Monday.

I did the first day of the program last night – run for five  minutes, walk for one, repeat five times. By the time I was done with that, I was at about 3.6k and I was curious to see how long it would take me to do 5k so I just finished it. I say “just finished it” like I wasn’t dying and extremely aware of the blister growing on my left instep. It took me just over 42 minutes to do 5k. 

I know it’s not terrible, but it’s not great either. I’m having a hard time not comparing it to my older brother’s 5ks from high school. Corey is a natural-born runner. Even while eating fast food several times a week, he’s able to maintain roughly three ounces of fat on his body. Jerk. Supposedly, he went to his first cross country practice in high school, ran eight miles and was one of the first kids to finish. This is a kid whose only previous athletic experience was shooting hoops in the driveway. Anyway, my base time (42:20, we’ll say) is twice his time.

I realize that this is a process though, so I wasn’t expecting to run like a Nigerian off the bat. I am, after all, a blogger/reader/violinist. We’re not known for our agility. I’ll shoot for doing a 5k every Monday and I’ll keep you posted on my times. I’m giving you permission to bug me about it by whatever means necessary if you suspect I’m slacking.


Sunday Morning Jog

I had what you might call a bout of insomnia this morning. It’s probably not fair to call it insomnia since it started at 5am. But come on. It’s Sunday. On a three day weekend. I should be sleeping in till at least 10:30 like a normal 20-something, right? My body was not having it though. Naturally, I tweeted about it. You know, like people used to do in the 90s when they wanted to broadcast something nobody else actually cared about.

Twitter InsomniaMy friend Logan replied and said “No. Just get up and go running.”  I scowled, knowing he was right. To be honest, the idea of sitting in bed waiting for sleep to come repulsed me. Eventually I would have probably dozed off and fallen asleep for 20  minutes or so, then I would have spent the rest of the day in a sloth-like state. So I updated my ipod shuffle with a Hood Internet mixtape and went on my way.

I normally only jog about a mile, but I decided to combine two of my normal routes, making it a 3-mile loop. I’ve been thinking of training for a 5k. But just that – thinking about it. Right now it seems like a sort of nice thing to imagine myself doing. “Yeah,” I think. “That would be really cool to be the sort of person who runs 5ks.” I realize that 5ks are not very impressive. Especially when there are people who run marathons. Or do triathlons. A measly 3.1 miles seems like nothing.

The hardest part is the mental block. I don’t know how people have the willpower to run 24 miles.

I’ve tried several things:

  • Reminding myself that if I run faster, it’ll be over sooner. Yeah, I don’t care so much when it’s done. In that moment, I hate running and I don’t care if I have to crabwalk home, I just want to stop moving my limbs like that.
  • Imagining fitting into that silk origami dress that’s been sitting in my closet since 2009. I wore it to a wedding once and haven’t touch it since then. In that moment, I don’t care about the dress. It’s not that cute anyway and I’m okay with wearing non-constricting yoga pants until I cross into muumuu territory.
  • Reminding myself that nobody likes a fat girl in skinny jeans. In that moment, I vow to wear bootleg or wide-leg jeans, ignoring the redundancy of the latter. Any flowy tops that necessitate skinny jeans will be donated to make room for muumuus.
  • Remembering what I look like naked and how I don’t want anybody to see it. In that moment, my lack of physical intimacy ceases to be a problem and I’m suddenly thrilled that I won’t be having sex for the foreseeable future. Also, muumuus.

Today, I was able to push through it by paying attention to the beat of my music (it was just in time with my pace) , but towards the end I felt like I was going to hurl, so I ended up walking for about a block to recover. It doesn’t matter if I run one or five miles, once I get back to my apartment and I finish stretching, I look in the mirror and know I could have done more. In that moment, I’m tempted to go back outside and run another mile.

Normally when I jog, I pass a few other people working on their fitness. The only creatures I encountered this morning  was a flock of geese, and I was glad to find that they weren’t as violent as the ones who used to chase me through the park in Oshkosh. It made the morning seem like a sort of a sort of blessing, which made my run feel like a meditation (done to mashups of hiphop and indie songs). I knew I wouldn’t regret getting out of bed, but the quietness of my neighborhood at 6:30 was as much a reward as anything else. I cooled down with a little yoga in my sunny living room before having breakfast and coffee on my patio.

I love my sleep as much as anybody else, but this was a great way to start my day. However, I won’t be surprised if my bed calls me for a nap this afternoon.