When I started the Couch to 5K programme back in November last year, I never imagined entering a running race. I wanted to run, but I knew I had a long way to go, and my goals were much simpler ones:
- get off the couch and do something!
- run for more than 60 seconds without stopping
- run regularly, at least 3 times a week
- get fitter
I achieved all of those, and eventually set new goals:
- run for 5 minutes (then 10 minutes, then 20 minutes, then 30 minutes) without stopping
- graduate from the C25K programme
- call myself “a runner”
As I started achieving those goals, I decided that it would be good to have something else to aim for. I did a Google search for 5K events in my area, and found the Orewa Beach Half Marathon/10.5K/5K. I signed up, and my sister (my running partner) signed up too.
The race was today.
We’d never actually run 5km before today, although we’d come close a couple of times. Our regular 30-35 minute runs were about 4-4.5km long, and although I thought about extending that distance, I felt it was a good one for me. I liked feeling like I *could* carry on at the end, and the thought of doing more and struggling to finish (and/or feeling dead at the end) was a little off-putting. So I stuck with that distance during training, hopeful that I would be able to easily add another 1/2 to 1km on race day.
Anyway, today we had to run the full distance – and we did it! Okay, so we ended up walking a little bit. Mostly because of the calf injury I sustained 2 weeks ago, and partly because it was SO hot on Orewa Beach this morning! Even though I’ve been running regularly all through our stinking hot summer, I usually run at night, when it’s decidedly cooler and then sun is going down. I find it hard to run when the sun is blazing!
Our time was 43 minutes. Definitely not fast, by any means, but we were happy with it. It was perfectly acceptable for our first official race. Especially when you consider that 6 months ago I couldn’t run for more than a minute at a time!
According to Ethan, we were “118th equal”. Yes, he counted.
Rob was our photographer and stopwatch holder (the offical race timer was started 30 minutes earlier for the half marathon runners, so I asked him to time our race). Here are some of the photos he took …
Heading back past the Surf Club after reaching the first turnaround (at the South end of the beach):
Heading towards the finish line after running all the way to the North end, and back:
Crossing the line, together!
Rob, Ethan, Tyler and Mum were waiting for us at the finish line (and cheering us on). Mum had a bunch of flowers for both Leah & I, which was so nice. Other friends were there too, waiting for their Dad/FIL/husband to finish the half marathon.
It was a great atmosphere on the beach today. There were over 2000 entrants, people of all ages. Some walked with their babies in prams, some strolled along chatting with friends, some ran or walked with their kids, some ran with their dogs. Some people ran in pairs or groups; others ran alone. Some were simply out to have fun, and others were obviously out to beat their personal bests.
After horrible torrential rain here yesterday, we were fully expecting to run in the rain. I don’t mind running in the rain, but I felt bad for the organisers and for the spectators! Thankfully it was a gorgeous sunny day, so we all stayed warm & dry. Truth be told, it was probably a little TOO hot for some of us runners, but it sure was a lovely view as we ran down the beach and back again.
I’m really proud of myself for giving this a go. I’m obviously never going to be a marathon runner, but at least I can still call myself a runner. I love this exercise outlet, and getting out for a run in the evenings is a great stress relief. I know I’ll keep it up, even without a race to train for. Maybe I’ll look for another one, just to help keep me motivated.
I’m so thankful to my wonderful little sister, Leah, for taking this journey with me. I love that we share this, and I look forward to more running with you!