Cool Runnings

Alright, kittens, get ready to rock and roll! I’m signed up for not one, but TWO 5k races in the next two weeks.

My first official race was a half marathon. I recommend starting with something shorter, if you’re thinking about getting into the racing circuit. I liked starting with the half marathon because it gave me a real challenge; it was the furthest I’ve ever run. I had a huge goal to work toward, and it forced me to train hard.

{all smiles at the start line!}

This year, I’m starting my race season with two local 5k runs!

First, the Revolutionary 5k run that is taking place during my alma mater’s Reunion Weekend.

I don’t think I’ll be donning a wig or other revolutionary attire, but you never know! 😉

And a special 5k next week…Chestertown Tea Party run!

It’s extra special because it’s also my birthday and my dear friend is coming to run with me! 
Before last year, I probably wouldn’t have considered running any races. When I was first trying to lose weight, I ran a little while also taking Zumba classes (but Zumba definitely beat running for me). I mostly ran indoors, on the treadmill at the gym. I liked this at first, because it gave me the ability to track my speed and my distance (I haven’t invested in a garmin for the outdoor running…do you  use one? I’d love to hear about it!).
After awhile, though, it started to become boring. I’d find reasons to skip running, convincing myself that there were tons of other things to do. I’d try spice it up with some Zumba music, but I just wanted something different. At that point, I started taking more Zumba classes, and then eventually started teaching classes.
After a year of teaching, I started to think about running again. Shane was running a lot, and he seemed to really like it. He mapped out a mile course around our neighborhood, and we ran together a couple of times. 
Then, I started running on my own, completing just a mile at first, maybe walking a second mile, and trying to challenge myself by sprinting here and there. I loved challenging myself. I think that’s what I love most about running — you can take something concrete, like the distance you’re running, or the route you’re running, and mix it up by trying to run faster. I became hooked.
That’s when I decided to run a race! I set my mind on participating in the half marathon in town. You can read more about my first race experience here and here.
As a first time racer, I looked to several different resources for running. My favorite is active.com, which provides running “how-tos” but also information on healthy eating, hydration, and other sports. I also took cues from other bloggers who have participated in races. Check out Healthy Tipping Point (HTP), Runner’s Trials, and Kath Eats Real Food (KERF) for race prep, recaps, and other helpful tips from fabulous people who have tons of race experience.

I felt pretty great, having a half marathon, or 13.1 mile race, behind me. No one can take that away from me! I accomplished a huge goal, and am super proud of myself. I knew I wanted to race again after that experience. I cooled down the running routine last winter, but picked up again earlier this spring, mostly for me, but also in preparation for some kind of race.
This time around, I kept a weekly fitness log, tracking each day’s progress. 
I love having a macro view of each week and month leading up to my races. It helps me step back and see what I did the previous week, and how I can either improve or maintain for the next week. Even after both 5ks, I’ll continue to track my progress. I want to continue to grow even if I don’t have a race planned!

Are you running any races this season?

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