The 5K Looming Ahead of Me

I’ve been having a lot of trouble with the 25 minute mark in running. Ever since BlogHer I’ve managed to run a full 25 minutes straight only a couple of times, and other times my legs have given out at the 22 or 23 minute instead. It’s been frustrating.

But Monday night, I set out to do a 25 minute run again, and a funny thing happened: I ran for 28 minutes – the next step on Couch to 5K. I’d like to say I did it due to great stamina and mental conditioning, but the truth is far more humble and a little funny.

As I looked at my iPhone and realized I had less than a minute left to run, I noticed two of my neighbors walking up ahead of me, going the same direction I was. At 20 seconds left, a quick calculation in my head made me realize that if I went into my cool down walk right at 25 minutes, I’d be stopping roughly at the same spot they were at. Which would mean I’d likely have to talk to them. We don’t get along all that well, and I really wasn’t in the mood to talk, anyway.

So I kept running. I ran right past them, my huffing and puffing a perfectly good excuse to not say hello or even acknowledge them as I focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I had to make sure I got far enough away before slowing to a walk – to keep it from looking obvious – so I gritted my teeth through the pain in my side and finished 28 minutes of running.

Social awkwardness: who knew it was such a great motivator?

This Friday I’ll be running in the March of Dimes Night Moves 5K. My hope was to run this one entirely, but I know I’m not quite ready for that yet, so I plan to run as much as possible and be proud just to finish. Well, that’s the plan, but I’m worried that I’ll come away disappointed if I don’t put in a certain level of performance, too.

As much as I want to run an entire 5K, I know that my body is still adjusting to the idea of being a runner. It will happen, though, and I’m hoping that the excitement of being at a 5K race again will push me to go a little further without walking.

Hey, I did 28 minutes straight, right? Maybe I just need to imagine the people in front of me are my neighbors who might want to have an awkward talk?

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  1. That might be the best “I KEPT GOING” reason ever! I have a theory that I can’t stop running unless the song I’m listening to is over unless I have to make a swimming lesson.

  2. I’ll be there too, maybe I’ll see you and fangirl you! Or just be really shy and not say anything. The latter is more likely. Either way, good luck!!

  3. The excitement of the race might just get you there the whole way – so please, please don’t go into it expecting that you can’t run the whole thing. You just might!

    That said, if you need to take a walk break, don’t be disappointed in yourself either. Whatever happens Friday is going to be life-changing for the good.

    Have you ever tried doing a 30-60 sec walk break after that 25 minute mark and then resuming running to see how long you can go? I think you might be surprised – a single brief walk break might be all you need; or, you might not need it at all.

    (My longest run-only before my first official 5k was around the 25 minute mark too – and I ran the entire thing because I told myself I would. It worked.)

    I have confidence in you – this race will be amazing for you!

  4. Brooke – No, please find me! I’ll be wearing my purple sweatband with a silver tiara on it. The more people I know at the race, the more confident I’ll feel! Hope to see you there!

  5. Well, that’s as good a reason to keep going as any! I think you’ll surprise yourself – maybe you could find someone who runs at a pace close to what you are comfortable doing, and run with them? That way you could both motivate each other. Either way, it’ll be great. You’ll see.

  6. Motivation comes in many forms, whatever works, right?! I am thinking about doing c25k soon.