My First Ever 5K

I’ve been meaning to blog about this for a couple of months now!  I actually ran the race on October 28, 2012 but just haven’t had the time or energy to do much blogging lately… which I will explain…

But first I thought I’d start from the beginning….  I was convicted last winter about how I needed to get into a better exercise routine for my physical, emotional and spiritual health (which I blogged about here).  However it took another month or two before I actually downloaded the Couch to 5K App to my iPod.  And it was several more months before I finally got motivated to use it!

I ended up deciding on the Couch to 5K program because it was cheap (you know how frugal I am!) and was something I could do with my 2-year-old.  I bought a jogging stroller on Craigslist for $20 (I wasn’t ready to invest a lot of money because I know my track record is not so great at sticking with things – especially an exercise program!).  I drove the car around our neighborhood to find the best route and to measure the approximate distance I would need to run to finish a 5K.  Then I started training on July 18, 2012.

Stopping at a nearby park after a run.

Stopping at a nearby park after a run.

The first day you are supposed to alternate between 1 minute of jogging and 1 1/2 minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.  I only made it to 10 minutes before I thought I was going to die and stopped (that shows you how long I’d been on the couch!). But, I didn’t want to give up that soon, so I repeated the first day a couple of days later and was able to finish it!  I was shocked at how quickly my body seemed to be able to adapt and was inspired to keep going.

I really enjoyed the time in nature (my run went by Bradley Woods) and listening to music.  Though when my son was with me the playlist was set to Veggie Tales music.  As I got farther along in my training, I started going out for a run in the morning while my husband was still at home so I could have some time alone.  Then I would get to choose the music and usually ended up with a selection of worship songs.  My favorites for running ended up being several songs from Gungor‘s album Beautiful Things (Please Be My Strength, Beautiful Things, We Will Run, You Have Me, etc.).  Running definitely increased my prayer life as I had to learn to depend on God in some very real, physical ways and saw Him answer prayers and bring restoration to my body.

You may not know this about me, but I was born with a mild form of a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot.  I had open heart surgery to correct it at age 4 and don’t really have any limitations or problems now.  However, I have always been a little afraid to push myself to exercise because I wasn’t 100% sure how my heart would react.  So a few years ago I asked for a watch with a heart rate monitor for Christmas and that has given me some reassurance while exercising that I’m keeping my heart rate in a safe zone.

At the same time that I was training, we were also trying to conceive our second child so I also wanted to monitor my heart rate to keep it below 150 BPM in case we happened to be successful.  Which we were!  We found out on October 24, 2012 that I was pregnant!

positive test

This was just a few days before my 5K race on October 28, 2012.  So I ended up training for 14 weeks and I’m glad I gave myself that extra time because I wouldn’t have been ready before then.  (I read another blog about a first-timer’s experience training for a 5K and am thankful for her advice to give yourself at least 12 weeks of training if you are going by time not distance.)  I finished the race in 48 minutes (that’s a 15 1/2 minute mile… just a little faster than walking briskly!), but I’m just so thankful that I actually finished it!

At the finish line!

At the finish line!

I was also really touched when my husband and son surprised me at the finish line (I thought my husband had to work that morning)!  It was a cold and rainy day… just a couple of days before Hurricane Sandy hit our area with a ton of rain and high winds.

I’m ashamed to admit, however, that I’ve only run once since my 5K!  The combination of morning sickness, tiredness from the first trimester of pregnancy, increasingly cold weather, and shorter days due to the time change have pretty much discouraged me from keeping it up.  That is also the reason you haven’t seen me blogging much in the past several weeks.  But, I am into the second trimester now and feeling like I have more energy now, so hopefully I will get to blog a little more regularly.

Have any of you done the Couch to 5K program or ran a 5K?  I’d love to hear about your experience!

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