My First 5k Didn’t Change My Life

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Or so I Thought

I began to run when we moved from TX to NY. Mostly to try to bust through a weight loss plateau (read more about my running journey here).

My Weight Watchers leader kept talking up the Freihofers 5k. She wanted to get a group from her meeting to run it. She promised we could all do it, and that she would come back and run us in. She also promised it would change our lives if we’d never run a 5k.

A little backstory: my WW  leader has always been a jock and active — even when she was more than 100 pounds overweight. Me — yeah, no. I will never consider myself an athlete, but over the years I have most definitely turned into an at least somewhat active person.

I say somewhat, because despite the fact I train for and run half marathons, strength train, do yoga, swim when it’s warmer, and hike — I still spend a lot of the day sitting — and I can’t blame that on a job!

I’ll try anything
I’d been on a swimteam and a bowling team and I competed with my flute when I was younger, so competition was not new to me. In fact, I’d go as far to say that competition was something that was missing from my life.

I like to try things, too. Food. Makeup. Clothes. Shoes. Different forms of activity.  So despite the fact that I never planned to run a race — because like every newbie runner, I was scared of being last — I signed up. Other than the people in my WW meeting running the race, I knew no runners at the time. Because I did all my running on my own.

Crossing that finish line . . . 
. . . didn’t change my life.

Seriously, there was no runner’s high. Sure, it made me happy to finish the race. To know I could do it, although I never doubted that I could. But that was it, I thought: I was one and done. No more racing for me. I really didn’t get why my leader had talked up the race so much.

I was happy I did it. But I didn’t feel like my life had changed.

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Who knew I’d still be smiling after 13.1 hot and sweaty miles?

Except . . . it did change my life
I kept running. And I kept running races. I didn’t love running, oh no. Yet here I am, nine years later. And running is as much a part of me now as my curly hair.

And running absolutely changed my life:

  • By giving me more confidence
  • By bringing me friends, near and far
  • By proving to me I was capable of way more than I ever dreamed
  • By showing me that hard work pays off — maybe not immediately, but it always pays off
  • By allowing me to eat more and maintain my weight

Running has a way of getting under your skin and transforming you from the inside out. You don’t have to be fast, you don’t have to race, you don’t have to run long distances. But if you stick with it, you will look back at the person you were before running and the person you are and realize you are so much happier because you decided to take those first steps.

Talk to me:

Were you hooked on running from the very first step?

Were you hooked on running from the very first race?

How has running changed your life?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

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This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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31 thoughts on “My First 5k Didn’t Change My Life

  1. Judy, except for the fact that I do not run marathons, your story is just like mine. I thought my 5K to celebrate turning 60 was a one-and-done, but here I am, six years later, still running. Multiple 10Ks, a few ten milers, one half marathon, now back to 5K, but still running.

    I am not competitive. The few races in which are participate are for fun and comradeship. And yes, I did come in dead last once. It didn’t bother me at all (One friend says I should just say, “I came in 53rd.” Tee hee).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like what your friend said! That was a really tiny race! I know you’re faster than me, so my guess is most of the runners were really fast.

      I haven’t come in DFL — not yet. It doesn’t scare me anymore, or at least not stop me from doing something, but of course I don’t think anyone wants to be last. 🙂 But someone has to!

      I always say to people I’m slow but I finish. 🙂

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  2. It’s so funny, I did my first 5k and enjoyed it, and didn’t run again for years. I’m not sure why it didn’t make an impression the first time. I did my second 5k years later and that was the time I stuck with it and kept going 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did do another 5k 4 months after that first — I would say I was hooked then, but I don’t think I really was. That first half hooked me, but I don’t think I became really serious about running for another few years.

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  3. I ran in High School but I didn’t love it back then. In fact, I didn’t even run all four years. And when I did I was a sprinter. I couldn’t even imagine running more than 3 miles. 3 years after high school I decided to challenge myself and do a half marathon. Never trained, and when I crossed that finish line thought I would never do that again. It took 4 years later until I tried a half again, then the following year I did my first full. 17 down and still going strong!

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  4. Anyone who has read my blog knows my story.

    I started running at 55 and loved it immediately. As soon as I ran one mile, I signed up for a 5k and discovered that racing was a lot more fun than running.

    I think that tennis changed my life. It was my first athletic anything and my closest friends play tennis.

    However, I found out that I am a better runner than a tennis player and I enjoy running more. So I run. I may stop playing tennis but do not plan to stop running unless I have to..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I never loved running either until after college. When it went from something I had to do to something I choose to do, it got more fun. That was the change for me. Now I can run at my pace, dictate my schedule, etc. I’ve proven things to myself through running, and I like that.

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  6. I ran in high school and I don’t know that I loved it then. I mean, I enjoyed it but I didn’t love it. I ran while I was in the military because I had to. And every time I thought I needed to drop a few pounds, I’d always go back to running but it would never last. I just wasn’t into it. And then, 2008 came. And I started back running. I had made some friends who ran and we talked and talked and I kinda got the bug. I think I needed it. Ran my first race, as an adult, in April 2008. 10 mile race. HOOKED. SO IN LOVE. Changed me. Gave me all the things I had been missing and needed – self-confidence especially. I don’t need races to feel the love, although I love/hate them. haha I just enjoy the miles. 🙂

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  7. In 5th grade my brother and I shared a paper route and I’d run my half of it for time. Every day had to be faster. I considered myself a runner then, just as I do now, even though there were almost 20 years between then and now that I didn’t run a single step. My first 5k was in 1998. I didn’t run another one until 2005, so I guess it didn’t have much impact on me. I don’t think running really changed me until 2007 when I knocked out my first marathon.

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    1. That’s so interesting, Marcia! As a kid I avoided running if humanly possible. 🙂

      I think it was my first half that really changed things for me, and even then, it took a few more years before I got “serious” about running.

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  8. So glad I kept reading to find out that, yes, it DID change your life! And… you run half marathons, swim, hike, strength train and do yoga, and you don’t consider yourself an athlete? What???

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nope, I really don’t consider myself an athlete. Lately there’s been nothing but running & hiking & it’s time to get back to some yoga & strength training — I need it!

      I consider athletes to be good at their chosen sport. I’m a recreational runner, even if I do race, even if I train hard (which I do).

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I “ran” my first 5K when I was 10 or so…I started out as fast as I could, so of course walked most of the way. I didn’t actually start running until 12 or 13 years later, when I convinced my dad to run a half with me. I’m not sure I was truly hooked until I started trail running, though.

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    1. Oddly enough, I haven’t fallen in love with trail running. I don’t dislike it either. I thought I’d participate in our local trail running festival, but they don’t offer the 5k this year & I don’t want to do the 10k since I have a big race the following week.

      Someday I’ll find trails I love, I’m sure!

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  10. I had done a handful of 5K’s before I really like running. I’d always go out too fast and crash and burn before the first mile mark. It wasn’t until I actually trained (and successfully ran the entire 3.1 miles without any walking) that I grew to love running. And the rest is history 😉

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  11. I was kind of the same way. I trained for my first 5k and while I was happy to achieve the goal, I didn’t feel the runner’s high – I was just tired, lol

    I would say that training 12 weeks in the winter for my first half marathon is what really changed me. I was so dedicated to my training and crossing that finish line was the absolute best runners high. That’s when i knew I was hooked.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pretty similar! It wasn’t winter for me, thankfully, but late fall (which of course can feel like winter). I was really hooked after that, although I’d say it took a couple of more years before I got really serious about running.

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