It’s Not Impossible: My First 5K Experience

Today I ran my first 5K at 9 o’clock in the morning. “OH MY GOSH THAT IS SO EARLY.” Yes, yes it is. And I am here to tell you why the whole experience, including the getting up early part, was worth it.

For most of my life I have been active in some way or another. Whether it be running around the cul-de-sac with my neighborhood buddies, playing basketball in middle school, or Ultimate Frisbee with my high school friends, I never felt that I was being super inactive. That is, until I came to college.

I arrived here and literally didn’t know what to do with myself besides curl up in my room and watch Netflix all of the time. It was a terrible idea at the time, and if I could give you a piece of advice right now it would be to get outside and moving as much as possible, even if you’re doing it alone.

So as the semester wore on, I knew I needed a change. I slowly began to integrate workouts into my weekly routine. It began with maybe once or twice a week, but when the new semester flew into view, I wanted to step up the game. I started running.

Now let me tell you, running really isn’t for everyone. You have to want to run, or at least want to learn to want to run. I was in the second category. I have never really been fond of running, but I figured if I set my mind to it, I couldn’t hate it that much

Shortly after making the choice to begin adding running into my weekly schedule, I saw posters for a 5K coming up in the next month. With a burst of confidence I logged on to my computer and signed up. I immediately posted my daring endeavor to Facebook and got wonderful feedback. And with that, I began training. Or at least, that’s what I intended to do.

What happened in reality was I ran a few times and then got ill for the first time during second semester. And the best part was it lasted for almost two weeks! This means I had to cut out my running right as I was starting to feel awesome about how my training was going to pan out.

The day I finally felt as if I could run without coughing up a lung, I laced up my shoes and strapped on my iPod and went outside. It was a struggle, I can tell you that much, and I only had one week before I was going to step into the unknown I called the 5K.

Fast forward to this morning. I woke up 7:45 a.m.. That time is almost unheard of in the weekend world of college. But you know what? I’ve never felt so productive and ready for the day! I ate breakfast, scrolled the Internet, and ran a 5K all before 10 in the morning.

Back to the actual race. I walked out of my dorm and down to the starting line where there was a large group of people all dressed and ready to kick some butt. The atmosphere was amazing. I was literally in a group of people who were all there to run. By choice. If that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will.

Now, I signed up and ran the race by myself, and personally I think that was the best choice. I had nobody to worry about keeping up with or making sure someone wasn’t lagging behind. This was about me, myself, and I. This was my time to prove to only myself that I had worked hard to make this happen. And boy did I make myself proud. No matter how many people passed me, I never felt pressured to run faster or keep a certain pace. I kept the pace I needed and guess what, I didn’t walk once. NOT ONCE! Now, if I had one week to prepare and I managed to jog the whole way, imagine what you could do if you actually had proper training.

I crossed the finish line well under my goal time and walked around with pep in my step for the rest of the day. I called my parents to tell them the great news and let them know that this was only the beginning of my running career. I’m hooked and I want you to be as well.

Do it for the thrill. Do it for the experience. Do it for the outdoors. Do it for the health. Do it for the shirt. Do it for the claps. Do it for the “good jobs.” But most of all, do it for yourself.


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Abby Thomas

Abby Thomas

Abby Thomas is a freshman at University of Iowa studying Journalism and Nonfiction Creative Writing. She plans to one day be able to get paid to travel around the world writing about her adventures. The day you can find her travel book on the shelves of bookstores will be the day she has finally reached her life goal. When she is not pursuing her dreams of travel writing, she is either at the University's radio station or on her computer wasting time on Tumblr and Netflix.