becoming a runner

i was running

It wasn't too long ago that I told you I had started running in my post run forrest run.  Well my 5k race day has come and gone and I am still feeling pretty darn proud about the whole event.  One of my best friends and I signed up for a 5k race - neither of us had ever ran before - and we had an absolute blast.

I really had no idea what to expect.  It turned out to be a wonderful event, full of very supportive people, and overall it was a great experience.  I was a bit nervous about the race and how I would make out.  I had done all my training inside on a treadmill and was afraid of the pavement - would it be harder than on a treadmill? Would I be intimidated by all the runners? What if I place last?  All of those fears went away the minute the race started and my feet started moving.  It was just me and the road, and of course some great music blasting in my ears to keep me motivated.  I hardly even noticed the 200+ people running along with me.

Running outside was definitely harder than running on the treadmill.  Towards the end of the race I really felt like giving up and just walking the rest of it.  But then a very nice woman, an experienced runner, spoke to me and told me I was doing a great job.  I told her this was my first ever race and she exclaimed "you've already won then - you can do it, just run beside me".  Her push and motivation really helped me to push myself harder and to finish strong.  I owe her a huge thank you.  That moment was my favourite part of the entire race. 

I ended up placing near the end (but not last overall or last in my age bracket!) but it doesn't matter to me one bit where I placed.  I ran a 5k race.  Something I never ever thought I would ever do.  And I enjoyed it.  Imagine that! My time wasn't even that bad really, there is lots of room for improvement, but I will improve and will definitely run a 5k race again. 

I have a few pointers to anyone considering running in their first ever race. Do not, I repeat do not, try any new gear on race day.  I made the mistake of using a new ipod arm band for the first time during the race and ended up with a nasty rub burn on my arm. 

I could feel it burning during my run but I knew I didn't want to waste the time to stop and deal with it. It has been a few weeks since the race and I still have the marks. 

Another tip to a newbie would be to think about the impact to your knees.  I had done my training inside on a treadmill because the bugs are very bad where I live, and I prefer to sweat in private (no need of the neighbours seeing me running like a crazy woman!).  Running the 5k race outside on the pavement after training solely on a treadmill really messed up my left knee.  I am now starting physio to help fix the problem.  I am hoping after a few sessions of physio I'll be back to running and working on improving my 5k time.

Overall, running a 5k was a great experience.  I made a few mistakes as a newbie, my time wasn't the greatest, but that's okay with me.  I race a 5k race.  I can cross it off my bucket list.  Who knows what is next?  Maybe 10 years from now I will be blogging about my first marathon.  Maybe. This experience has taught me that anything is possible.

run forrest run

Reporters: Why are you running? Are you doing this for world peace? Are you doing this for women's right? Or for the environment? Or for animals? Or for nuclear arms? Why are you doing this?

Forrest: I just felt like running.

~ Forrest Gump, 1994 Movie

I have a new hobby - attempting to become a runner. Why? Because I just felt like running.  No real reason. I have never been a long distance runner. Ever. In fact, in the past if someone asked me what I thought about long distance running I would have laughed my head off and replied "no way - too much work and not for me!".  Something changed this year.  It all started when one of my best friends decided to run a 5k for a new years resolution.  It got me thinking that maybe I could do it too. I pictured myself running all gracefully down the road in really nice looking running clothes, wind in my hair and a big smile on my face.  So far that has not happened.  Most of the time I look like a crazy monster all sweaty and red with my chest bouncing like it could knock me out any second and on the brink of swearing like a sailor.  However as scary as I look I must admit I am enjoying the process of becoming a runner, as slow as it may be.

I started out this new journey by purchasing a treadmill.  Living in Manitoba with the cold, cold winters and excessive flooding, having the option of running inside is a must, although I hope to start running outside in the very near future.  I didn't want to purchase a top of the line expensive treadmill just in case this new hobby only lasted a month or two (who doesn't have a piece of exercise equipment collecting dust in a closet or basement?).  I started watching the flyers and saw one at Canadian Tire that caught my eye.

I got it on sale for $399.  You can read about it here.  In fact this week it is on sale again!  I strategically placed my treadmill beside a window overlooking my bird feeder so I would have something cute and entertaining to look at while running.  Here is the view from my treadmill:


Up next was a good pair of running sneakers.  I decided to pay a visit to the Running Room in Regina, Saskatchewan and be properly fitted for sneakers.  I had always just gone to a local sports store and picked out the prettiest pair of sneakers on the shelf with no real thought about how it fit my feet or would work for my particular sport.  Going to the Running Room was a great experience.  They had me walk in my sock feet around the store to watch my foot and investigate its arch.  They also measured my foot.  Turns out I have a very narrow foot and had been wearing the wrong type of sneakers my entire life.  I am now the proud owner of a pair of sneakers that best fit my feet and are made especially for narrow feet. They feel fantastic and are definitely a big improvement. They are Asics in a 2A width (model number GT-2160 2A).


So now I had the gear and it was time to actually start running.  I thought to myself how in the world am I going to do this? How do I learn how to run? I bet there is an app for that!  It turns out there is an app for that! It is called Couch to 5K and it is by Felt Tip Inc.  It is great!  It trains you to run a 5k by running three times a week for nine weeks.  You can listen to your own music while using this app.  A voice comes on over the music and tells you when to warm up, when to run, when to walk, and when to cool down.  As you progress in weeks the running time is increased and the walking time is decreased.  I absolutely love it!

So now I was running regularly and needed an actual goal.  Once again I turned to the Running Room and searched their races tab to find a 5k near me.  I found a race close by and registered.  There is no turning back now!

Much to my surprise I am really enjoying this process of becoming a runner, although some days I still swear at the treadmill, and some days I struggle to keep running.  I can't believe how far I have come in just a short period of time.  My race is getting closer and closer. I know I will not be the fastest.  I may even be the slowest person in the race. I will probably have to still alternate between running and walking in order to complete it, but I know I will finish it and that will be a huge accomplishment for me.  I will keep you posted!