A funny thing happened yesterday morning ... I unwittingly ran a 5K. As I age, I tend to do more and more things unwittingly, but at least in this case, the surprise was a welcomed one.
For some reason I had it in my head that a 5K was 3.3 miles. So I had been slowly trying to increase my runs to reach that benchmark in time for the Girls on the Run 5K. I am a part of a team of former Baker's Square co-workers called Team P.I.E.S. (Pep in Every Step! ... a name thought up on the spot by a very creative Gina Weber)
Until a few days ago, I'd been running every morning at Sibley Park. I had started this running campaign at the track at the Y, as you may recall, circling and circling, without much to look at it. I kept going back there because I had this mental block about running. I had never done it before, and as such, it was just so out of my comfort zone, and so in my silly little mind, I had a terrible feeling that I could only run on the track. That if I took it to any other environment, I wouldn't be able to do it. I know, it's weird.
So my next step out of that comfort zone was Sibley Park, because it's essentially just a larger track -- one big circle around the park. And while it's technically outside, which helps get me used to running in wind and rain and on pavement, my car is within close walking distance if an injury were to occur, or just a bad running day where I'd need to quit.
The Sibley runs went well. I mapped the distance with my car, about .8 miles around once. And I'd circle it three times, which took me almost exactly 30 minutes. But after a few times, I was getting bored. And that can make for a bad run. I had to stop and walk a couple of times. So it was time to move on.
A few days ago, I learned about the Daily Mile, which is an AWESOME site where runners can create an account for free, create maps of their runs around Mankato neighborhoods (or wherever you live), and it calculates the distance. You can save those maps, and each day, you log your running distance and time, and it keeps track of those miles over time. So by year's end, you can say, "Wow! I ran 1,000 miles this year!" Super neat.
So I created a running route down to Tourtellotte Park from my house, over to Fourth and Fifth, and then back, and it was my first successful 2.6 mile run that wasn't in a circle. Haha. Yesterday, I altered the route to be about 3.1 miles, which took me a loooong time. 41 minutes, which is a 13-minute mile. Geeeez, so slow. But I did it!
When I got to work, I looked up the route for the Girls on the Run 5K, and I glanced to the left to see the distance of the race: 3.1 miles. And I realized I was already there! It was pretty neat. I was excited.
So now that I know I'm ready for the race about 5 weeks in advance, my goal now is to keep increasing distance, and then I will work on speed. I'm hoping to get up to about 4 miles, which eventually, I hope will take me 40 minutes each day. Maybe someday I'll work toward a 10K or something, just for fun, but honestly, just the act running each day is all I wanted to accomplish when I started this.
The coolest feeling at this point, especially after yesterday, is realizing that running is something that I DO now, not something that I'm trying to do. I like it. I like it a lot.