I completed my first 5k this last weekend, which of course makes me an expert now on all things walking/running.
First, I have to again give all the glory to God. I did not complete this goal of my own strength, I am painfully aware of this fact. I am in flabbergasted awe when I look back over the last eight months and see God’s hand on this journey. It doesn’t even seem real when I look back at the way I looked, and even more so, the way that I felt, just a short time ago. You can’t tell me that my God isn’t faithful to those that are faithful to Him and His will. There’s still a long way to go, but I know I have the stamina, drive, and most importantly, faith, to stay the course.
So, here’s a few tips that I picked up from this experience:
- Color runs are massively fun. I loved the cheering and encouragement from the color station volunteers throughout the course, it put the smile back on my face when it was waning. Except for the kid that shot color right into my face–colored cornstarch doesn’t taste good, and gums up immediately in your mouth. He was still cute though.
- Guess what? September is still hot in Arizona. I seem to have blanked out that we live on the face of the sun when I set the goal to do this race…it was HOT.
- Music is necessary. I did not realize what a huge part my playlists play in pace setting. It was very difficult and distracting without my tunes. Even though my amazing husband kept pace with me the whole time (which I know was excruciatingly slow for him) so I had someone to talk to, it wasn’t the same. My speed definitely suffered.
- Get out in the first couple of heats before the strollers. I love that this was a family event, but it is hard to navigate around some of these land yachts that carry the kiddos!
- Know your course. We had never walked this route before. Didn’t know about the uneven parking lots or the sand trails we would have to plow through. It was confusing because there were a couple volunteers to direct the way, but not enough…we felt lost a few times. This had a big impact on time, which I knew by the end of the first mile that I wasn’t going to care what the final time was anymore.
- Take care of your feet! I had wrapped my feet in such a way for flat walking, not anticipating the off-road sand trails (where I tend to walk more on the sides of my feet). I busted my feet up royally–enough to warrant a visit to the doctor this afternoon because I’m concerned how torn up they are. This was my poor feet yesterday, all bandaged to keep the wounds clean and dry until I get them checked out. Thankfully, my feet aren’t in pain.
- Mantras work. While I knew I could complete this distance because I’ve done it before, it is longer than my average daily workout. I found my energy in the toilet about 2/3 through. I wanted to take a couple shortcuts and give up, but I would not allow failure. I worked too hard for this. I kept repeating to myself, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Must’ve said it at least a thousand times, if not more. It kept me going to the end.
- Watch out for the blue color. Soap, water, loofah, rubbing alcohol, and acetone are no match. Two days later, I still have a blue armpit. Which I suppose I shouldn’t whine about, because my husband still has an entirely blue torso.
- Just do it! Go and have fun. I’m already planning to register for next year!
So, all in all–excellent experience. I proved to myself that my body is far more capable of what my mind believes it can do. I look forward to next year to note even greater improvement in my stamina and speed. This was a great boost in my overall morale to reach a goal that seemed to be so far away when I set it months ago.
I’ve mentioned this quote before in a blog post, but I’m going to mention it again:
“It is so tempting to give in. Set things in reverse. Pretend it won’t matter. But it does matter and not just for the physical or mental setback. It’s the denial of a fundamental spiritual truth that will make a healthy eating plan fall apart time and time again. What is this truth? We were made for more than this. More than this failure, more than this cycle, more than being ruled by taste buds. We were made for victory. Sometimes we just have to find our way to that truth.” (Made to Crave, Lysa TerKeurst, page 49)
My foot is no where near the reverse pedal. Victory over my negative mental self abuse, my sinful eating habits, my sedentary lifestyle, my lukewarm spiritual condition are all possible. I have concrete evidence of this fact. I am a child of God, made in His image, and have purpose in life according to His will for me. And that’s the truth.