A Guide to Radiant Living - Where Wellness Meets Wonder

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Running a 5K: How I Crushed My Goal and Crossed the Finish Line

I'm thrilled to finally share my journey with you because, yes, you guessed it right! I did it! I ran a 5K and crushed my goal right out of the ballpark. I'm not going to lie, there were days filled with self-doubt where I questioned my ability to cross that finish line. But, guess what? I did it! And if I can do it, believe me, you can too. So buckle up as I take you on my journey from being a non-runner to a triumphant 5K finisher.


Race T-shirt, bib and medal

Everyone has a dream. For me, it was tackling a 5K run. But why? Well, it was simple. The milestones I'd set for my fitness journey were incremental, and a 5K felt like the right next step. It wasn't just about losing weight or looking fit. Running a 5K was a tangible goal I could work towards, something I could measure in time, distance, and endurance. It was about making a promise to myself and going the extra mile to keep it.

For some background, I should say I ran in high school, but I was a sprinter and I hadn't done any sort of running since then. My physical activity was limited to mostly walks and I had started weight training a few months prior to beginning my 5K training. For all intents and purposes, I was a novice runner - certainly a novice distance runner. I had the desire to run a 5K for a while. I've walked a 5K every year on Thanksgiving for the past couple of years, but last year, I decided it was high time to buck up and charge towards my desire for better health and mental strength. This 5K wasn't just a race, it was a battle against myself and my limitations.

To be honest, looking back, the journey was far from easy. There were days when I wanted to throw in the towel, days when my legs felt like lead, and days when I questioned my sanity for setting such a challenging goal. But I stuck to my guns. I dug my feet in, pushed through the pain, the doubts, and the exhaustion, and made it to the other side. And boy, was it worth it!

Setting My Goal & Training Journey

The motivation behind setting this goal was simple: I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. More than anything, this was a journey of self-discovery. The idea of running a 5K was daunting, but the appeal of stepping out of my comfort zone and challenging myself was too strong to resist. I set a goal: to run a 5K in under 45 minutes.

In order to achieve this, I knew I needed a plan. I began by researching various training plans, apps, and videos, and eventually settled on a 12-week plan that would guide me to go from 30 minutes of walking to running a 5K. I started the plan in August, so I would be ready to run the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day. 6 weeks into my training, I found out the Turkey Trot was cancelled. This was a huge setback for me - without a race to train for, I just stopped. I gave up. But right before Thanksgiving, I'm scrolling online and I stumbled upon a race happening on New Year's Eve. This was perfect - on the very last day of the year, I would be able to complete my goal! I signed up immediately. I only had 6 weeks to train, and after some more research, I decided to use the Runna app (Use code: GIFTED to get 2 weeks free). So now I had my race and I had my plan. 

When I started, I was struggling! Running for a continuous five minutes was a gigantic task. The first few days were brutal. My body was not used to the intensity of training. Every muscle ached, my lungs screamed for oxygen, and my mind begged to stop. But I persisted. Over time, my body started adapting. I noticed improvements in my stamina, speed, and breathing. I could run for longer distances without feeling winded. My aching muscles were now getting stronger and the pain was a reminder of my progress. Naturally, there were setbacks. From battling the unpredictable weather to dealing with minor injuries and struggling to balance work and training, it was a real test of determination. But I learned to embrace these obstacles and use them as stepping stones towards my goal. Through all these stages, the most valuable lesson I learned was the importance of consistency. It's not about how fast or how far you can run, it's about showing up every day, even when you don't want to.

Race Day

The week leading up to the race was all about tapering my training and focusing on nutrition. I made sure to get plenty of rest, hydrate, and consume a diet rich in carbs for sustained energy. Equally important was the mental preparation. I visualized crossing the finish line, ran the race in my head countless times, and tried to stay positive. I reminded myself of all the hard work I'd put in and told myself I was ready. The night before the race, I was a bundle of nerves and excitement. I had trained hard for this day, and it was finally here. Despite the nervousness, I was eager to put my training to the test.

The race day atmosphere was electric. Hundreds of people gathered, their faces a mix of nervousness and excitement. I took a deep breath and prepared myself to start the race. As I started running, all my training seemed to fall into place automatically. I followed the pace I had practiced during my training, making sure not to exhaust myself too soon. The first kilometer was a breeze, fueled by adrenaline and the supportive cheers of the crowd. But as the race progressed, it became more challenging. The fatigue set in, my legs began to protest, and there were moments of doubt. Dealing with the crowd, the uneven terrain, and keeping up the pace was not easy. But I had come prepared. Every time I felt like stopping, I reminded myself of my training. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, I could see the finish line. I picked up my pace, ignoring the pain in my legs, and ran across the finish line. It was an indescribable feeling. I had done it!

Crossing the finish line, I was overwhelmed with a mix of emotions. I felt a sense of accomplishment, relief, and happiness. It was a moment I had visualized a thousand times during my training, and experiencing it was surreal. I learned a lot from this journey. I learned that consistency, determination, and the right attitude can make challenges seem less daunting. Finally, celebrating the achievement with my family was the icing on the cake. Their cheers and support throughout the journey made the victory even sweeter. Crossing that finish line wasn't just about the race, it was a testament to my journey, my perseverance and my willpower. A confirmation that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to.

Lessons Learned and Future Goals

This journey taught me a lot about myself, about resilience, and about the power of determination. It made me realize that we are capable of achieving anything we set our minds to. This was just one race, one goal. But it has sparked a fire in me, a desire to challenge myself further. I am already looking forward to setting new goals, pushing new boundaries, and achieving even greater heights.

Running a 5K was a journey filled with ups and downs. But now that the finish line is crossed and the medal hangs proudly on my wall, I can say with confidence: I did it! And if I can, so can you! So go on, set that goal, take that first step. And remember, every finish line is just the start of a new race.

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