Saturday, July 17, 2010

My First 5k

There's a saying in my family: Marckettas don't run.  It's not a particularly interesting saying, nor very inspiring, but there you have it.  Marckettas don't run and Marckettas don't dance (or at least not well), either.  Apparently we really like to limit ourselves.  I certainly used to believe it.  I never used to run any distance longer than required for kickball or ultimate frisbee, and my (required) efforts to run a mile in gym class in middle school were just a joke.  It seemed true.  Marckettas don't run.  This is not to say that Marckettas never run.  I have an aunt who has run not one, but two marathons.  We tend to forget that, though.

Last year around this time, I decided that I wanted to lose some weight.  I wasn't fat or overweight, but I was past the weight where I wanted to be and didn't want to gain anymore so I decided to do something about it before it got out of hand.  I said No, thank you to all the crazy fad diets and decided to do it simply: eat healthier, track calories, fat, protein, etc. with the Lose It! app on my i-pod touch, and exercise more.  Normally my exercise of choice is yoga with a smattering of pilates but suddenly, I was inspired.  Maybe it had been a while since I'd heard my family's catchphrase, but I decided to just do it.  Run.

At the time I lived in an apartment complex which was built around a circle - a convenient place to start jogging.  I clocked the mileage around the circle: ⅓ of a mile.  Doable, right?  I dragged my athletic then-fiance out and forced him to jog with me.  Our first time out, I made it halfway around the circle before I had to stop, gasping for air.  One-sixth of a mile, and I only made it that far thanks to his encouragement.  This kept up for a few weeks, with him eventually returning to his video games and me very slowly improving.  Then school started and completely ruined my routine, as normal, and jogging was forgotten in favor of the school's pilates and belly dancing classes and my yoga DVDs.

Come winter break and suddenly, with extra time on my hands, I remembered my decision to jog.  I started the whole process over except this time, right from the beginning, I could make it around the whole circle at a go and last longer.  It's as though my body remembered the improvements it had already made, despite the four month gap.  I started improving much faster, despite the road's many icy obstacles and my freezing ears.  I started dreaming of a 5k.  Then school started and… well, you know what happened.

So here we are.  School's done, the wedding's over, I'm unemployed and searching for a job meaning extra time on my hands, and I've decided to give it another go.  Third time's the charm, right?  It wasn't even a very intentional decision.  I got up one morning and out of nowhere decided that I wanted to run (in my body, not my head).  I've moved to the next town, which is far hillier, and the gap in time has been much longer, but my body still remembers its improvements.  My first jog was about 1.75 miles with a couple short walking breaks to recover from particularly steep inclines.  To keep myself motivated, I suggested a friendly competition to my brother who has recently also taken up jogging.  First one to run a 5k wins / fastest time wins.  We didn't really nail out the details but the motivation still works.  I need to beat PJ, therefore I need to run.

And on Thursday, I did it.  I jogged 3.34 miles, which is about 5.37k, without any breaks despite several hills.  Check out the route.   I made it.  It's time.  Hoping it's not a fluke, I've signed up for a 5k race next weekend, supporting a local hospital's Center for Brain Injuries (being organized by a very impressive friend of mine who asks that you join if you can).

Me all sweaty and gross after my longest jog to date.
Feel free to mock my yuckiness and ridiculous outfit.
This isn't to say that I've become some amazing jogger with great form and fancy shoes churning out six minute miles like its nothing.  My shoes are falling apart (there's a plastic piece in the back that poked through years ago but I can't bring myself to shell out the money for new ones while I'm unemployed) and I'm averaging something like a twelve minute mile which is pretty much as close to walking as you can get while still jogging.  But at least I'm doing it (or trying to) and I am improving.  My endurance increases every day even if my speed doesn't, and I tend to think that that's more important.  Plus, it just feels good to be out there, doing something in the fresh (though humid) air, strengthening my body.

Just a note: my brother is up to two mile runs which, I believe, means that I win!  I'll just ignore the fact that he's running a ten minute mile and therefore will most likely win the second part of the competition.  Not the point.  :]

This week my goal is to run 3-4 times and have the majority of those runs be over 5k to make sure that I'm ready for my race on the 25th.  I'm so excited!  I've never done anything like this before and it's great to know that my body is improving.  It's even more satisfying to contradict my family's negative claims on our abilities.  Marckettas do run and I'm the proof.

  • Do you jog?  How did you get into it? (i.e. Did it come naturally, as part of a high school sport, or did you have to convince your body like I did?)
  • How often do you jog?  I'm currently going out about three times a week.
  • Which is more important to you - endurance or speed?
  • What do you do to prepare for a race?  What do you recommend I eat the night before my 5k?
  • Does your family have catchphrases that inhibit rather than inspire?  Does that deter you?

1 comment:

  1. Yay! Running a marathon is such an exciting goal! Of course, I would never run a marathon as running is really just not my thing, but it's an exciting goal to work towards. =) My brother runs them too!

    Endurance is definitely more important to me. Speed branches off of that. If your endurance is not high enough and you're trying to be too speedy, then you'll end up having to stop - and not build endurance!