So, I ran my 5k this morning and did awesome, and I raised a total of £42.50 for the charity AgeCymru, which is about $60.00! Some of you may recall that I'd originally signed up to do the 10k race with Joshua's dad. I ended up changing my registration to the 5k because I didn't feel ready to do the 10k, and I'm so glad I did! I had a fantastic experience for my first run and feel really great about it, whereas if I'd done the 10k I would probably not be saying that at all. Plus Amber did the 5k as well, so we got to start together!
The race began at 10am sharp, so Amber and Greg stayed the night at ours and we all drove in together this morning, leaving bright and early at 6:30 am sharp. We stopped at Josh's parents for a cup of tea and to pick up his family as his father ran the 10k, and his siblings and mother and dog all came along to cheer us on which was really awesome! We arrived in Cardiff and got parked and had our numbers by 9:40, and then we did part of their aerobic warmup led by some army guys, though I didn't want to wear myself out or be sore before I even started running! I was SO nervous before we began. To be honest, I was less than optimistic. I tried this week during my training runs to complete a 5k (or close to it) all running, and came nowhere near, so I was thinking I'd just try and pace myself well, run as long as I could, take walking breaks, and then continue. My goal was to be in at below 55 minutes, based on what my pace had been in training.
Off the start I was probably going a bit faster than I should have, but I managed to run the first kilometer, and then my legs were quite sore so I stopped to take a break. I then walked for somewhere between 2 and 5 minutes. Just as I was getting ready to start running again, this group of 3 people caught up to me, and they were keeping a really good pace (one of the ladies seemed to be their pacer/pep squad) so I decided to tag along with them for a bit. I think that really got me through the middle 2 kilometers, because I needed some sort of help pacing myself!
Josh and his family met me 3 or 4 times along the course, cheering me on and taking photos, which was so awesome. Especially because Josh's dad was the one who inspired me to start running after watching him do the half marathon in October, so that was really cool. But the best part of the race was the fact that I somehow missed seeing the 3km marker. So I just kept running, and then just as I was starting to panic because I thought we still hadn't reached 3km and it had been ages...we came upon the 4k marker. I actually had to ask the marshall if that was correct, and he gave me a chuckle and said yes and...I was thrilled. Because at that point, aside from my walk break after the first km, I hadn't stopped at all, and I knew that if I had made it all of 4 kilometers with just that exception, I had no excuse not to finish. So I did! I powered through to the end, even though as I was approaching the finish I really felt myself starting to drag. Later on Josh's sister Lucy said, "You should have gone faster over the finish and finished hard!" which was funny because I did--at least to me, I tried to pick up the pace but despite my excitement I was so exhausted and when I crossed the line was quite dizzy and breathless--but I finished, and I beat my expectations massively. I only walked that small bit at the start, and my official chip time was 41:43. If you had told me last week that I'd be running it in that time, I'd have laughed in your face. My biggest struggle in training has been pacing myself, as I tend to run too fast, so I'm amazed I managed so well today. I finished a bit ahead of the group that I'd run with for a while, and I stopped them afterwards to thank them for getting me through that middle bit, because I think I'd have stopped to walk if it weren't for having someone to keep up with.
I am extremely proud of myself. I was pretty in shape as a kid with swimming, but still was really awful at aerobic activity such as running, which I think was mostly due to my asthma. Now that I've pretty much outgrown my asthma I think that's a main factor as to why I was able to do this, but it's still a huge achievement to me because running is always something that's seemed foreign and impossible to me. I not only ran a 5k today, I surpassed my expectations and I enjoyed it! And now I'm hooked. I can't wait to do another run, maybe a 5k in May but if not I'd like to try a 10k during the summer or fall!
So that's my 5k story :) Sometime this week I will share some photos as well as the playlist I ended up running to, because the songs were all oddly appropriate. I swear my iPod reads my mind sometimes.