My First 5K

As I wrote in my post back in June, in addition to all of the health benefits derived from working out on a regular basis, I started running a month ago to show the Boston Marathon bombers that they can't keep me down. I'm an American, this is my country, and if I want to run in a race I can do so without fear. I set my sights on 5K (approximately 3.1 miles) and started to train.

At first I could barely run a half mile. I was wiped out and needed a 20 minute break before I walked home. I realized that I was running too fast, at an unsustainable pace. I was basically training for a distance run by sprinting. Not a good idea. So I slowed it down and within a couple of weeks was running about 2-3 miles in a session. Training in Squirrel Hill is tough because of the elevation changes but I've pushed through the challenges. Nobody ever said it was going to be easy.

I mentioned to my coworker Chad that I was starting to train and he was really excited. He's a runner as well and gave me some tips and we even ran once during a lunch break. When I told him I signed myself up for a 5K he said he'd come with me, even though he was scheduled to run another 5K five days before mine. I told him I wanted to complete it in 35 minutes or less. He laughed and said we'll beat easily. I wasn't so sure.

How poetic that my first race was on Independence Day. Just about a month after I first began training I was running my first 5K and I got to celebrate my freedom as an American by giving those bombers a big middle finger.

My brother and I got up early and arrived to pick up our tracking chips with about 1.5 hours to go before the race started. It was really quite intimidating to drive down the race course and see it lined with chairs that people had set out the night before. I knew that people would come out to see it but I started getting a little nervous about how many people would be watching. Sponsors started to set up shop around the square and my friends who I'd be racing with started meeting up with me. We headed up to the start line with about 20 minutes to the starting gun and soon enough, we were off.

We started slower than I'd thought since there were over 2000 people running. It took about a minute before the crowd thinned enough to really start running. Once we picked up the pace though we didn't look back. My brother took off ahead of me but I knew Chad was going to keep pace with me the whole time. He had an app going on his phone that was telling him our pace every two minutes. It really helped me keep a pace that wasn't too fast or slow. We kept up a solid pace for the first mile and a half before I started to tire. I never stopped because I knew I might not start again but 4 times I slowed to a walk for about 20 to 40 seconds. These walks were immensely helpful in my finishing the race. They allowed my legs rest just enough to keep going.

As the finish line came into sight, my legs were screaming. I just wanted it to be over but I also had a sense  of "am I really finishing this thing? Chad started pulling ahead of me. I knew he wanted to sprint the last little bit and I told him to go on ahead of me if he wanted to. Then my Miller blood kicked in. I wasn't going to let him leave me in the dust like that. With about 20 feet to go I gave it all I had and run full out. Chad looked back just in time to see me blaze past him. He tried to catch up but I'd taken him by surprise. I flew past the finish line one step ahead of him. The time read 31 minutes, 29 seconds. I had done it. I had run a 5K and I beat my goal time by a full minute and a half.

I'm now a 5K runner. It feels great knowing that. I accomplished something huge and I am not stopping here. The end goal for me is not a race, it's just the beginning. I am looking for the next 5K I can enter and I'm going to start training to run in a 10K next year. Who knows, maybe by the time I move to Israel I can run a marathon with my runner friends there. Only time will tell. I just need to stay committed.

To see a map of my run with some statistics follow this link.

1 comment:

  1. Yehuda, you write beautifully and I am proud of you for being so committed and reaching your goal. I am also proud of your "Miller blood" kicking in. I have always called it my "Miller stubborn." It just flows from generation to generation!