I can hardly believe I’m typing a post about running my first 5K, y’all. I’m just so grateful! My journey with running has been long and arduous. Yet the process has been so sweet has the same time. I have always dreamed of running a 5K, but was too daunted and wrote it off. But the thing is, I actually enjoy running. A lot. I know many people cannot stand to run and prefer other forms of exercise. But I love the feeling of fresh air on my skin, the rhythm of my steps, and taking in the scenery as I pass by. I really enjoy running in the afternoon too as the sun is low in the sky and everything looks golden and warm. I also see running as an incredible gift, which changes my perspective entirely!
All that to say, running my first 5K is quite the milestone for me! It’s a mile marker of how far I’ve come, and also an encouragement to me of what I am capable of doing. Much like my first hike, I decided to just go for it as soon as I believed I was able. When I woke up on Thursday morning, I thought about how the weather was perfect for the Turkey Trot taking place at 9 that day. Earlier this fall, I had considered signing up for it to have a date to work toward on the calendar. Instead, I just kind of let it slip away out of fear. But when I sipped my coffee Thursday morning with the sun streaming in, I decided to go for it.
I think it was about 7:45 when I decided I was going to make this happen so I was going to have to move quickly to register by the 8:45 deadline. Dillon was still asleep, so I went into our room and woke him as gently as I could and told him of my plan. I am so thankful for his support and encouragement, as he traded a relaxing morning in bed for chilly weather to come cheer me on.
We drove separately since I had to leave right away to register. When I arrived at the stadium hosting the race, I ran across most of the venue to find the registration table. I had decided that the only thing that would stop me from running the race was missing the registration cut-off, but I would do everything I could to make it happen. I was so relieved and excited (and a little nervous) to hold my bib and my little safety pins in hand just moments later!
I took pictures throughout the morning to remember the experience, and this one is especially sweet because it is just a few moments before the start of the race. Y’all, I have never run 3 miles in my life without stopping. I have only run 2, and only last month. But I decided to give it my all, to call upon God’s strength, and to do this for myself.
The race began and I was so excited to be part of it. I soon saw Dillon standing by the side of the road near the starting line to cheer me on, all bundled up. It was such a treat to see him so soon! I quickly fell into my pace, making sure to find a rhythm that wouldn’t exhaust me too soon. The route was so fun, running by many places of significance for me.
The sky was bright blue and the sun was shining – the weather was truly perfect! I found a way to breathe without that lung burn people talk about (it was only 32 degrees) and soon saw the 1 mile mark ahead. I decided at that point that I would not walk under any circumstances in the race, but instead run along at whatever pace I could manage. I knew my pace would be slow, but I wanted to push myself to keep going.
Soon the 2-mile mark was in sight and I just knew I could do it. I kept picking spots ahead to run to as a way to break up the route and keep things interesting. It started to get especially exciting toward the end as veteran runners who had already finished came and cheered us on in the last half mile or so. I could see the stadium in the distance and could hardly believe I was almost finished.
I saw Dillon standing near the finish line and was able to high-five him as I passed by. While I know he would have run the race with me if I had asked, it was really special for me to do it by myself. I spent a lot of the time running thinking about how far I had come and the road that brought me to that place (some photos of which I’ve gathered below!)
Then I saw the finish line and felt so much accomplishment and joy! I ran across the finish line and stopped to soak up the feeling, snapping the photo below.
Dillon soon found me and took some fun photos of me and I grabbed some of the snacks they had to refuel. Four days later and I can still hardly believe I did it. I am so incredibly thankful for the gift God has given to me in this journey. This has encouraged me to never, ever write off a dream, no matter how out of reach it may seem at the time!
Read more about my journey with running here.