Thursday, June 27, 2013

reflecting on a year of 5ks

on july 4th, 2012, i completed my first 5k after a very long time of struggling to break through a battle with depression. it was a miserable race - the temperature unbearably hot and humid - but i crossed the finish line feeling like i had done more than break a non-running streak. i had broken through and started to find me again. while sitting on the street curb, trying to recover after the race, i made a challenge to myself: run a 5k each month for a full year. it was a simple challenge but the goal was to get me to keep moving, to keep running and to eventually get back to the runner i used to be.

here i am, a year later and i'm happy to say that i completed my 5k challenge on june 9th, 2013. reflecting on it now, this challenge truly has been the most meaningful running accomplishment of my life (thus far). 

here i am with my 12 race bibs

this is my most meaningful running accomplishment for a variety of reasons:

1) i completed exactly what i set out and challenged myself to do
2) this is the most races i've ever done consecutively, let alone the most races i've done in a year
3) this challenge helped me go from a very dark and sad time in my life to one where i am feeling on the road to a happier (and healthier) me
4) i started the challenge with a 31:21 5k time and ended with a 23:54 5k time
5) i beat a goal i had for a very long time; my high school cross country pr. i could never get a sub 25 minute 5k time during my cross country career. during this challenge, i beat that time.... twice. and now i'm consistently running sub 25 minute 5ks
6) not only did i beat my cross country pr, i set another goal towards the end of the challenge to run a sub 24 minute 5k. on my very last race, i reached that goal, running a 23:54 minute 5k
7) i started placing, and even sometimes winning, in my age group. placing in my age group is one of the coolest feelings (and an addicting goal to chase, might i add!)

the year was filled with ups and downs, like all years are and like all years as a runner go. but i looked forever to every 5k i had lined up (except for the martian 5k where i was sick and didn't want to roll out of bed). i pushed myself in each race and every time i crossed a finish line i got that thrill and the high i love that makes me want to do it all over again.

the inscription on my first place age group win
at 5k #11, the capitol memorial run

when all was said and done, it took me awhile to figure out how i felt about the challenge being over. at first i was a little sad knowing my quest to be faster and faster each month was over for awhile. but the majority of me was thankful. to be quite honest, a year of doing the same distance over and over again at such a high frequency got a little monotonous and exhausting. by the time the last 5k came around, i was really ready to start training for other distances, especially getting back to long endurance runs. i realized while trying to beat my personal records that i am not a runner that loves speed or speed workouts. there are many other things i would rather do than mile interval repeats or sprint workouts. while it posed a great challenge for the time being, i am very thankful to be moving onto half marathons for the next nine months or so. 

all 12 of my race bibs - i'm so happy i saved them!

was doing a year of 5ks expensive? yes. i purposely didn't keep track of all the race entry fees because i didn't want something to get in the way of completing the challenge. in the end, every race fee i paid was more than worth the fewer dollars i had in the bank account.

my favorite race? shamrock & shenanigans. this was my favorite because it was a tough, hilly course with a ton of people and i pr'd when i was totally not expecting it. i think a pr is the most fun when you're not trying to capture it! my least favorite race? the red carpet run. i didn't love this race because the course was all through residential neighborhoods (aka it was boring). despite being dressed up in glamour wear (which was fun), i ran this race alone and it would have been much more fun to have a buddy to enjoy the festivities. plus, it was really hot. and i am not a very good runner in the heat! 

a happy running picture during
shamrocks & shenanigans

i will say that i'm not the runner i used to be. because of this challenge i am a better, tougher, stronger and faster runner than the "old me" ever was. i am better than the runner i used to be and i am excited about the runner i have yet to become. it is true that you will only ever know how far you can go until you push yourself to those limits. this challenge got me to push myself again and i am looking forward to reaching and pushing through my limits over and over and over again.


  1. Sounds like it was totally worth it! I'm very glad the year of 5ks was so beneficial to you at that point in your life! Setting new goals always helps me, too!

  2. so proud of you! Way to meet your goal and see it through!

  3. Moose gives blog a 3 paws up and a 4 paws up if a moose pic is included.


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