By: Courtney Eiland, BGR! Washington, DC Member
On March 14th, I participated in my third timed 5K and fourth overall. People often ask me when am I going to do a longer race and if I feel I’ve already done enough 5K’s. But my answer to them is that I like to start small and work my up to the bigger races. Once I feel like I’ve accomplished enough 5K’s, the next step is a 10K in the fall and then a half-marathon eventually next spring.
I ran my very first timed 5K last April in 33:47 and my second timed one last September in 33:28. Before the Rock ‘n’ Roll Mini Marathon 5K on Saturday, my goal for this race was to shave two minutes off my time. I came in at officially 31:43! I kid you not, the 5K Playlist that I made last week really helped. Right as I was passing the finish line, the song “Push It!” ended and I knew then that I reached my goal.
Although I just began running last year, I can already tell that this is going to become something that provides an inner competitive drive. Not necessarily against other racers, but just for personal motivation. However, I will say, there was a woman running while pushing a stroller and there was no way I was going to let her pass me! J
Once you complete your first race though, you can’t help but to think, “Man, can I run this faster?” or “Can I do a longer race next time?” I asked myself both those questions prior to Saturday and now that I shaved two minutes off my time, I wondered, “So, can I run a 5K in UNDER 30 minutes?” “Should I move my 10K for this fall up to something sooner?” All these things went through my head, offering motivation for me to work harder to accomplish whichever goal it is that I set out to do.
I believe my newfound “running bug” is hereditary. My father, who is 59 years old and preparing for the Columbus Marathon once again this fall, began running around my age. I’m nowhere near marathon ready but it does serve as an inspiration to have someone in your immediate family who has taken the same steps you currently are which sheds light onto what’s to come. I was fortunate to run my second timed 5K while back home in Columbus last fall with my father and could hear him telling me “just lean forward” when facing those unexpected inclines along the course then as well as this past weekend.
My main takeaway is to definitely start with a smaller race and I can almost guarantee that once you do, it’s the most exhilarating feeling to complete it. Most people are intimidated but you have to just get out there and try. You never know what you’re capable of until you do. You might walk a little bit the first time, so make a goal next time to run or jog the whole time no matter what. Maybe the next goal will be to average 10-11 minute miles. It’s all up to you.
There are several run clubs who go out on Saturday morning runs and then may register for local races as a group. If you’re not quite ready to step out there solo and need encouragement, I would recommend looking into those clubs. My personal favorite is Black Girls Run! They have a WalkB4URun Virtual Race Series, which I believe is a great concept for those looking to take that first step.
Now that spring is right around the corner, start lacing up those tennis shoes and get out there and run! Look up some 5K fun runs as well as timed races that are most prevalent in the summer time and even if the running bug doesn’t bite you, if anything, just have fun.