Rabu, 15 April 2015

My 1st 5K!

Well...I did it! 
I did it!
I did it!!
I did it!!!
I did it!!!
I DID IT!!!!

I completed a 5K. Wow-freaking-zer! Can you tell I'm still on a post-race high? Cuz I totally am :) 

Here's the whole glorious story: 

On Friday evening we picked up our race packet & t-shirts- I'm the kind of girl that likes to be as prepared as possible and I thought being able to get suited up with any of these accessories prior to actually being at the race would be a good idea- and I was right :) However, I honestly had no idea what to do with most of it! 
With the help of my amazing hubby and creeping on some running friends FB photos, I was able to figure out the best place to put the running bib & time chip- I can't lie, when I put on the running bib, I felt pretty.dang.legit. We went to bed super early that night since we knew we were gonna be up bright and early the next morning for the race. 

The morning of we were up at 5:20am to do our devotions (aka: spend private/personal time with God), eat a good breakfast (after research I chose to have a slice of bread topped with peanut butter, half a banana & cinnamon) & we got all our gear together! A big thanks to D for getting my chip to fit oh so perfectly on my sneaker (which happen to be Brooks Raveena in case you were wondering! :) 

As soon as we stepped foot outside the door we realized it was FREEZING out. Since losing almost 200lbs I've become a baby when it comes to being cold- I'm always freezing and I really don't like being cold so I knew that if I wanted to let the 40 degree temperature & super windy weather that made it feel more like 34 degrees out be a deal breaker I could, but I just put my big girl pants on and bee-lined for the car :) 

Upon arriving to the race location, which was in downtown Pittsburgh, right outside of one of our country's most beautiful baseball stadiums, PNC park, and snagging a parking spot we decided to hang out in the car until it was race time instead of freezing our bums off standing around outside with everyone else. I'm glad I had about 20 minutes to take in what was going on around me and try to stay as calm as possible- but I still think I was looking a bit nervous, eh? 

We decided to hop out of the car to look for a bathroom since we had 20 minutes to race start time but all of the port-a-john lines were insanely long so I knew I would just have to run this race slightly having to pee- no biggie because I was too focused on how cold I was to even feel my bladder. No joke, my teeth were actually chattering & my body was shaking from the cold & the wind was absolutely crazy SO we decided to head over into the large mass of people and get in our section (we put ourselves somewhere in the middle) and it actually helped keep us a bit warmer with all the warm bodies standing around! Check us out: 

I've gotta say, when I first started training for this race I had not planned on D running it with me at all- this was something I wanted to do for myself and accomplish on my own but he desperately wanted to be there to support me & because I wasn't sure if this would be my last race or not, he asked if I wouldn't mind him running with me. At first I was going to say no as I just didn't want to have to think about anyone else and I thought that perhaps even having him run beside me would cause me to think more about how I was doing running and cause me to possibly want to quit, but I wasn't sure. So, like any good married couple, we came up with a compromise- he would run with me, but he would run in a separate group (he ran with the 9 minute milers and I with the10 minute milers). I just have to say I have the most patient, supportive and loving husband any woman could ever ask for & our compromise ended up working out great and I'm so glad we were able to share this experience together. 

Ok, back to the story, so we were all piled up on the Roberto Clemente bridge and it was a pretty surreal experience for someone who has ever only run alone to be surrounded with so many other people- I was ready to get started! 
Not sure what I was doing in this pic (haha) but we heard the whistle blow and it was go time baby! The only unfortunate mishap was that about 30 seconds into running I realized I had forgotten to put on my breathing strip! Not sure what's going on with my nose (I saw an ENT doctor who didn't seem to think anything was going wrong) but I have a hard time breathing through my nose freely so when I run I wear a Breatheright Nasal Strip and it helps immensley. So, I had to try and weave my way over to the side & try my hardest not to get run over by the crowd of people, pop my nasal strip on & got back into the race! 

Instead of giving every detail of the race, I'm just going to share the highlights & how it was different from any other running experience I've had thus far: 
  • I absolutely loved running outside. I have done all of my training (with the exception of one run around my neighborhood) inside at the gym on a treadmill and I can't even explain how great it was and how much quicker the time flew when I had something else to look at other than just the gym wall, my C25K program on my phone, or what I can see just outside the gym window. The route was absolutely gorgeous. We basically ran along the Riverwalk Trail on the North Shore of Pittsburgh- most of it was pavement, some of it was dirt (with a few mud puddles in the mix to keep it interesting! haha) but it was scenic, primarily flat (with one random semi-challenging zig zag hill) & just overall a delightful run. 
  • It was super helpful to be running in a group of people. It kind of gave me this heard mentality and helped me keep pace. I still don't think I would like to run with people I know because I just like to do my own thing & not worry about if the other person is stopping or if I want to stop or if one of us want to slow down/pick up the pace. Who knows, maybe that will change one day but at least for my first race, I just wanted to do my own thing. 
  • I LOVED that weather for running! Sure, I was freezing when I was just standing around at the beginning and after the race my lungs and nose were burning like a mother but during the race- it was great! I don't even know that I really even sweated at all haha and I promise that wasn't because I wasn't getting a workout because I most definitely was. I really don't know that running in the super hot weather would be for me...I'm willing to try it out but probably wouldn't sign up for a summer race- but who knows, I'll never say never again when it comes to running. 
Perphaps the most amazing part of this race was the way it ended. The hilly part of the race was toward the end and it was at that part that I started the inner battle of considering walking but since my big huge goal for this race was to run the whole thing, I decided to keep pushing- in fact, I didn't even stop for water at the water table! Right after the hill, I saw the stadium & I started thinking, "There's no way this was already 3 miles!?" but sure enough the stadium was in view and I knew that the finish line was right on home plate. 

They had everyone run right into the stadium & as we were running in, the people who had already finished were walking out on the other side cheering us all on. As I entered the stadium it was pretty freaking amazing- I'm a pretty big baseball fan and to be on the field and running the bases was pretty surreal. There were family and friends in the stands cheering people on & as I saw the finish line I started sprinting as fast as I possibly could. 

When I crossed the finish line and saw that the clock time showed 36 minutes (which I knew wasn't even my time since it had been 36 minutes from when they had first started the clock for the first wave of runners), I almost burst into tears. I had done it. I had completed a 5K. Not but two weeks before I had only run 1 mile one time and I had just run 3.1 miles without stopping!!! It was without a doubt the most surreal, great, emotional moment I've experienced on this 3.5 year long journey. 

Shortly after I found D who had finished just 3 minutes before me & was waiting outside the stadium and collapsed into his arms- when we finished our little hug/love fest, we both were misty eyed  :) 

I found some nice people to take our picture right after the race: 

Afterward we decided to check out the "after party" and snagged some great snacks & of course I had to get my picture taken with Pierogi Pete (in case you're not familiar with pierogi's, they are kind of like a Pittsburghers favorite food- they are basically like a potato/cheese/onion stuffed ravioli- very yummy!)
After grabbing some snacks we were both pretty much ready to jet. Check out D with his "Pirates Smiley Face Cookie": 

Once we got home I made us a quick post race snack (a mushroom/egg wrap) and we decided a 2 hour long nap was in order! However, as I lay in bed all I could think about was how I couldn't believe what had just taken place. My training for the 5K was not easy, I almost quit twice because of random injuries but in the end, I didn't give up. I know that without a doubt this was a journey that God was on with me. In fact, that morning as I opened up a book that I use to do my devotions with, look what the subject was for April 13th (race day): 
I know without a doubt that this was God's way of telling me before the race that He was with me & that He was going to give me the strength I needed and that He had seen the struggles I endured and the endurance I had developed through this process. God's love and care for my little life just blows me away- that He cares enough with all that is going on in the world to encourage me in a 5K run is just...divine. 

In the end, I achieved the two goals I had for my first 5K: 
1) My goal was to complete the race in under 37 minutes. My official race time was 34:07 (and I believe I would have totally run it in 33 minutes if not for my stupid nasal strip! haha) but regardless I am super happy with that time! 
2) My bigger goal was to run the whole thing without stopping, which I totally (by God's grace) did. I ran 3.1 freaking miles! It's still pretty unbelievable to me but it totally happened. 

I'm still thinking and praying about what my future with running will be but for now I'm still celebrating the miracle that occurred this weekend; that I can legimitately say: 

My name is Tiffany. 
I've lost 198lbs
I completed a 5K on 4/13/13.