If you told 12 year old me that I would voluntarily run a 5k, I probably would have laughed in your face. Then if you told me I would voluntarily run a 15, I probably would have muttered some form of profanity. Not to mention if someone said I would not only enjoy myself so much that I would sign up for more! But I have now completed 1 5k mud run, 4 5k runs, and 1 15k. I never imagined I would love them so much.
I can place some of the blame on my sister, Maggie. My sister is an ex-personal trainer, and an ass kicker. She never ever let’s me tell myself I can’t do anything, and pushes me to things like these runs. It all started with her saying, “Hey, do the Phillies 5k?” I think I said no maybe 20 times or more, stating I am not a runner. She told me all sorts of things like it would help me with my fitness, most people walk the whole thing and I love walking, and of course lots of free stuff. So I told myself I would do it, if not for me than for the free stuff. Leading up to the 5k, I did some walking and jogging around the neighborhood. I put my giant pink bedazzled headphones on, and found that pushing myself a little harder to run a little bit wasn’t that bad. I wasn’t the first across the finish line by any means, but I also wasn’t the last one. The rest of the weekend I felt accomplished, that I had done something and it was something that was positive for myself.
My last run is part of the reason I started this blog. After doing the Hot Chocolate 5k in Philly in 2015, Maggie said for me to try the 15k for 2016. People have walked the whole thing and I could do it. So since big sisters knows everything, I signed myself up to do the 15k (9.3 miles)!! I started working out like never before for this one. I ran in my neighborhood some more and I decided to throw in other cardio workout just to keep me moving. On the suggestion of my friend Ang, who is an avid runner, I worked on my core too. I have to say I was really nervous the whole night before. Second guessing everything I have worked hard for. The morning of the run was rainy but not too cold. I forgot a hat, so I bought one there and was happy later when the rain never stopped. Maggie stayed with me through the first two miles to get me going, she ran ahead so I stayed in my own head for a bit and enjoyed the time to just run and think. This was the first time I didn’t put my giant pink bedazzled headphones on, and I found just running to my thoughts therapeutic. Then I stayed with the pacer for the 15 minute mile to finished up the race. When I finished I was beside myself. I did 9.3 miles! For the rest of the weekend I felt so proud of myself, sore as all hell, but proud of myself. Which made me think… if I can push myself to do something like that, and feel so good after… I should make being fit part of my life. Thanks Hot Chocolate 15k for the sore muscles and the kick in the pants!
I’m no expert but here are my top 10 tips for running-
1. Research! Look up what race you want to do in your area. Look at the course and all the information. Then research how you want to prepare for it. There most likely will be a training plan on the race’s site or at least a link to one. Also, there are a ton of apps out there like Run Keeper, Couch to 5k, etc. to help you get up and moving.
2. Find a friend to do it with! I’m very lucky to have my sister as my running partner. I don’t need someone with me for every daily run or with me every step of the race, but if you do that’s cool too. Encourage each other and make it fun.
3. Don’t start too late with your training. I am in no way an expert, but there was that one race where I didn’t start until the week before. I do not recommend it. Make a planner, if you don’t run walk, and enjoy yourself.
4. Be patient in the corral. The most nerve wracking time, at least for me, is the corral time. You are all packed in there and your adrenaline wants to kick in, but you have to wait. They release you in waves by your mile time, and the anticipation of it always makes me think I had to pee one last time.
5. If you are doing a race longer than a 5k, find a pace runner. These people are usually wearing shirts with Pacer on the back, and holding signs with the pace they will be keeping time. Also if you are in your corral waiting for the race start chat with them. They are full of great running tips!
6. Be proud of yourself after. At first I was mad that I wasn’t faster, I didn’t run as much as I wanted to, or things like that. But now I see that I accomplished something and was outside moving. It’s a good thing whether I ran or walked.
7. Say thank you when people say good job, and if they are runners too then say it back! At first I down played what I did. People in work on Monday would tell me, “Great job on Saturday!” or “5k, that’s tough!”, and I would think to myself it’s only a 5k and I walked some of it… But no! I need to say, “Thank you! It was a blast and you should do the next one with me!”
8. Treat yourself after! I personally want some time with a book and relaxing after. But whatever you think is more you. Try an at home pedicure for those feet (they worked pretty hard), a nice fancy meal (just don’t eat what you just burned), or something pretty from the mall (even if it’s just something small). Give yourself a little ‘pat on the back’ present.
9. Stretch!!!!!! Stretch before and after your race. Then at home a few hours after stretch, before bed stretch, and that next morning stretch. Your body will thank you in the long run. Also take some time to rub your feet and legs a bit after, they deserve it.
10. Find another race. Whether you do another 5k, or decide to challenge yourself to an 8k or 10k, sign up something to keep yourself in the game. It can be colorful, muddy, local, etc. I am going to start a running bucket list.
In the future I now have big goals. I want to do a half marathon, and since I am a Disney freak that might be the place to do it. I also want to look into some smaller charity runs in my area. They are cheap and will keep me moving. For right now Maggie and I do the Rocky Run in the Fall, and Hot Chocolate in the Spring. I highly recommend these runs to anyone else in the Philadelphia area. They are packed with amazing people and a positive atmosphere. It’s fun to think of myself enjoying the runs. Everyone needs positive fitness outlets and this is definitely one of mine.