The Chocoholic Frolic is the first 5K I’ve participated in since the Elf Run 5K back in early December. To be honest, I was hoping to be at least halfway through Couch to 5K before getting to this particular race. Ha. Ha ha ha. Ha. So…I got to the end of Week 2 of C25K at the end of January…and haven’t done any outdoor running since. And I’ve only done indoor running twice since then. The weather and my schedule haven’t cooperated. So I went into this 5K without too much in the way of running practice. Hey, why not, right?
Complications: On the morning of the 5K, three things happened. 1) The weather was extremely humid and muggy, and in that in-between temperature where it might be too cold for short sleeves but too warm for anything longer. 2) My body decided it was time to remind me that I’m female. 3) Stephanie wasn’t able to make the 5K due to a combination of factors.
I’ll be honest – when Jason and I arrived at the start location (Morgan’s Wonderland), I was in two minds. Part of me really wanted to push hard and beat December’s 5K time of 51:45, and maybe-just-maybe get under 50 mins (a feat that I’ve never accomplished at my current weight). The other part of me knew that my body, the weather, and my lack of training were all going against me, and thought I should try to just enjoy myself. Honestly, until I crossed the starting line, I wasn’t sure what would happen.
I began running. Slowly. While Jason walked beside me. And I kept running for five minutes. Then I walked for three, and ran for another five. My pace was so slow – probably around a 14-min mile in the running sections – but I felt okay. Midway through the second mile, there was a giant hill. I did NOT run during the incline. But otherwise, I kept up the 5-3 intervals through most of the 5K. All totaled, I ran just under 30 mins of the 5K, and Jason and I crossed the finish line at 46:21!!! Not only did I beat my previous time and my maybe-just-maybe goal of 50 mins, I SMASHED any previous time I’ve ever managed at this current weight. This feels amazing!!
Here’s what I learned during this 5K. I haven’t been able to do a lot of run-training over the last couple months. Since January 30th, I’ve run indoors (a very different exercise) twice and not at all outside. On the other hand, I’ve walked and hiked 35 miles in the 3.5 weeks since my last run. Some of those hikes have been intensive and challenging and strength-building. And clearly, all my non-running training in the last two months have vastly improved both my strength and my endurance. The improvement is clearly visible: I weighed the same at both of my last two 5Ks, and in December, it was my legs that held me back, far before my lungs or heart could protest. In this latest 5K, my legs were fine, and it was my lungs and heart that stopped me at the end of each run. It’s only a matter of time before I can go further and faster.
This race was awesome, and not just on a personal level. Morgan’s Wonderland is a fun place to run. The volunteers handed out water and M&Ms along the course. (I declined M&Ms. I didn’t think that would work on my stomach!) Everyone got a finisher’s medal, and it was easy to check our times, pace, and places. (Note: I came in 522nd of 725 folks, 359th of the 519 females, and 94th of 142 in my age group. I couldn’t give Jason’s stats. His chip didn’t register his actual start time so it says he finished a minute after me, going based on clock time instead.) There was also a large area filled with various kinds of chocolate and candy for the runners. There were bananas there at one point, too, but we didn’t get there in time. Which is sad, because the ONLY time I enjoy bananas is right after a big run like this! I had to settle for squeezy applesauce instead. And Oreos, of course. Heh. (Note: I did not eat any giant marshmallows. Yuck.)
I don’t know if this particular 5K benefitted any, or if it was purely a for-profit run. Hopefully, some of the proceeds will go toward Morgan’s Wonderland or associated charities. But either way, the cost was totally worth what we got out of the event, and I’m happy to cross off my first Running Bingo category (chocolate/sweets). Now to go find my next event to run…