She Dreams Of Running a 5K

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Thanks Matt and Kim for that little bit of inspiration.

I know that I rarely write about my fitness activities here. If you want to keep up with my 400 minimum minutes of fitness per week, check out my blog at: http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal.asp?id=CHELLES_BELLS I update it at least once a week with my training schedule, recaps on runs, and general musings about my activities.

Since I’ve become more active, I’ve been more and more willing to try new things. I’ve become a spin class devotee, a weekly swimmer, and have gotten back to weekly yoga sessions. But most importantly, I’ve re-learned how to love running.

I began running over two years ago. I completed the famous Couch to 5K program in record time and began running 20-30 minutes every day… which I quickly learned was the fastest way to injure yourself.

*Also not helping: My inability to read the warning signs and buy properly fitted running shoes. Going out to a shoe carnival is not the same as going to a running or athletic store, asking for them to fit you and check your gait, and getting shoes that are made for how your stride forms.

So, there I was, about 3 months in to running and I was stuck on the injury report. Over the next couple of years, my friends became more active. More and more ran local 5K races, some even progressing on to 10Ks or marathons. I browsed through their facebook pictures and blog recaps like they were pictures of the hot girl my ex was now dating. Seriously, it was all jealous rage.

Lack of properly fitted pants got me back on track. I wanted to run again, and I wanted to do it right. I started off slowly, very slowly. And I tried new programs that promoted rest days and walk breaks (i.e. Jeff Galloway’s marathon and race training books). I got a subscription to Runner’s World and a new pair of shoes when my old ones ran out of mileage.

And with each step, I became that girl who ran outside in the winter. The one with her headphones blasting Passion Pit and U2. The one who woke up before the sun so she could have quality alone time with the sidewalk. I ran up and down beaches, to little lighthouses on piers, on the tracks around parks, and down alleyways. I ran slow on most days and then fast when I could get time on a treadmill.

All the while, I had one race on my mind: The St. Paddy’s Day 5K on March 20th.

It was a typical March day- windy, chilly, and potential for rain. Seeing all the other runners around made me only more nervous. But I kept repeating my mantra in my head:


I even took a typical Chelles-esque picture (smiling with mouth open, two thumbs up):


Without much warning, the race started. Well, actually, there was a ton of warning. I’m wearing #24, but that’s 24 out of 6000+ runners, walkers, stroller pushers, and dogs. Just getting to the start line was a push. I couldn’t start my run for 2 or 3 minutes because of the amount of people. And when I did, I was weaving around obstacles like leprechaun costumes, cancer survivors holding hands, and several large dogs. Near a half of a mile, we went through a medium length tunnel. It was so congested, I barley walked… my time was dwindling.

The next two miles were a blur. This wasn’t my first 5K, so the distance was familiar. I just took my strides and did my intervals like a good Galloway student. And when my shins started acting up, I repeated my motto and pushed through.

Near a quarter of a mile left to go, B was there… taking pictures. He basically ran with me to the end. None of these pictures are flattering (my jacket is huge on me now… but my legs look skinny!), so here’s the one that doesn’t repulse me the most:

Reminder to self: work on posture near the end of runs.

And at a certain time that was about 3 minutes over my average, normal 5K time… I finished. I beat around 400 other people, so that’s comforting to my overly competitive self. I rewarded my efforts with a rain soaked banana. And then I won a sweet Lord Voldermort tshirt.

But more importantly, I finished what I had started 3 years ago. And now I can continue working on training for that half. I’ll try to remember to post more about fitness here as it is a big part of my life.

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