A noob runs a 5k, and lives to tell about it


A few months ago I got tired of not losing weight despite a healthier diet and doing bodyweight exercises. So I sucked it up and finally started running. I had always wondered how people fell in love with running and wanted to give it a shot for real. I figured out for me, it was simply by brute force.

Running wasn't something I enjoyed for the first couple of months. Each day I went outside in the mornings I despised it. The weight was falling off, so I kept going, and then at some point when I had to take a couple weeks off for a knee injury, I realized how much I missed it.

For me, it was that simple. For others, they may never like it. There's nothing more annoying than hearing someone go on and on about a runner's high and how much they love running, so I won't, because runner's high doesn't exist.

Anyways, after about three months of running, I was able to hold a 10-minute pace for two miles. At that point, I started to think about running a 5k. Then, like an idiot, I picked up my frequency. At some point in early October, I had ticked up to 5 or 6 runs a week around two miles a run. Mistake.

Before I upped my runs to 5-6 times a week, I was running around 4-5 times a week. So I figured it wouldn't be too big of a deal to slightly increase my reps. For some reason, it was. After doing that for two weeks I had some sort of foot injury. No clue what it is. The internet isn't helpful at all so I just started slowing things down.

Leading into today's 5k I had only run three times in the last two weeks. My foot injury hasn't gotten any worse and stretching makes it feel far better, which leads me to believe it's muscle related. Either way, I'm still very much a noob when it comes to my body and running. Trying to get better about it, and r/running is a big help.

Race Day

It was 35 degrees and I was in layers, cold as could be. My goal was to come in under 31 minutes. I didn't want to overdo it given the race environment and the weather. Felt really good going into the start time and despite it being a crowded and tight running space, got a really good time. 

I started off like an idiot. My ideal race was a 155ish heart rate for the first 2.5 miles then finish strong. That didn't go as planned. 

To try and get a good spot in the pack, I had to dodge and run past people who were slow. My first mistake was putting myself near the back at the start. To get where I was at a comfortable pace, I ended up accidentally cranking my heart rate up to 185 less than half a mile in.  

To make things worse, I could never get it down past 170 for the entirety of the race. In fact, it was above 180 nearly every time I looked down and even hit 190 near the end. The end, to make things worse, was uphill for the last quarter mile.

So needless to say, I was chalked by the end of it. I finished with a 28:22 time and a 9:09 mile pace. Despite feeling like crap for a few minutes after, my race time and the beer/grilled cheese/banana combo made things far better.

Running an organized race is as fun as advertised. The festivities, the people, and accomplishing a goal make it a very unique experience. Something I'll certainly do again, and next time hopefully not sprint to an excessive heart rate out of the box.