Monday, January 9, 2012

Don't Stop: 5k resolution race

What a weekend!  Where do I begin?  Well, I guess I'll start at the very beginning ("a very good place to start..."), and in the middle, you'll get to read about my second 5k race!

From the start:
On Friday I traveled to Boston to visit my cousins Stephanie & Aaron.  Steph and I did some running-related errands (scoping out Garmins, buying running socks, trying on masks) before settling at home, where Aaron had prepared a deliiiicious eggplant parmesan dinner.


For dessert, Stephanie whipped out her ice-cream machine (ooh, ahh) and we tossed in Greek yogurt, sugar, and... was it vanilla? to make homemade FROYO!!


Wowww.  It churned and churned for 20 minutes before it magically emerged as frozen yogurt, tasting just like the best froyo in Philadelphia.  I like it because it really tastes like actual yogurt (because it is), but sweeter (sugar. duhh).  Delish!  We added all kinds of toppings, of course, although it was definitely tasty enough to eat plain.  Between the eggplant, challah, frozen yogurt, and chocolate, I was definitely more than full.  But that's okay, because I was fueling up for...

The 5k Resolution Run to Kick Cancer ! 

A month and a half after my first 5k race, I was ready for another.  In November, my goal had been simply to finish, and ideally in under thirty minutes.  I crossed that finish line in 28:09.  However, I did not run the entire race.  I ran about half of it too quickly before allowing myself a walking recovery for 30 seconds, another run, another brief walk, and so on.  Since then, I've worked on learning to pace myself.  I bought a Garmin sports watch to help track my distance, time, and heart rate.  It lets me know when I'm going too fast, too slow, or just right.  For me, a 10-minute mile is just about right.  I'm able to keep it up without becoming too winded.  With the help of pacing information, I worked on consistency in my running: trained myself to slow down when necessary, no need to sprint, slow and steady wins the race... I've since run the 3 miles continuously on the treadmill (once), but not yet outside, where my record was still 2 miles. Time to take it to the road.

Saturday morning, I was nervous for the race, because my runs during the previous two weeks had been slightly disappointing.  The cold made running very difficult for me, not yet used to it. However, we awoke on Saturday to a beautiful, unnaturally warm January day.  Leaving my earwarmers and gloves at home, I set out with Stephanie, Aaron, and 900 others to kick cancer.

Started in the crowd by the 10:00+ pace marker, although everyone seemed to give the signs little regard.  After the horn, off we go!  Last time, I'd started up front, so slowly inching forward after the clock started was new to me, and quite irritating.  Let's go, already!  Finally, we were off.  Ran the first mile or so with Aaron and his cousin Brenna at about a 9:50 pace before we amicably parted ways.  My goal was to run as long as I could, to not wear myself out too quickly.  I needed all the energy I could muster, especially when a few hills presented themselves.  It wasn't always clear to my eyes, but my legs told the truth.  I just focused on my pace, my music, and my breathing.  Also tried to remind myself to appreciate the scene: runners on all sides, quaint Lexington buildings all around me, and the sun bearing down.  I actually got hot.  In January.  In New England.  (Yes, it's nice... yes, "I'll take it," but doesn't that terrify anyone else??)

Each time I consulted my Garmin, I was pleased to see that I was keeping a steady speed, hovering just below a 10:00 pace for each mile.  I did my best to keep it up, taking my time but staying at a run.  When my watch said I'd traveled 2.2 miles, I was elated--this is the longest I've run outside without walking!  OK--don't celebrate yet, Meredith, you've got 0.9 miles to go.  Hmm can I rest for just 5 seconds?  NO!  Gahh OK.

I told myself to keep my eyes ahead; no more checking my wrist.  My distance, pace, time... no longer important.  Just follow the road, finish this last mile because you can, don't slow down until you cross that finish line!

Shockingly, I listened to myself.  Kept going until I saw crowds... that must be it.  Some already-finished runners were coming back this way to finish out the race with friends and family.  I must be near the end... where iiiisss it.... don't slow down... The 3-mile marker... There's Steph (already finished, of course) waving, cheering me on!!   YESS I am doing this....

BOOM.  Done. I did it.  Crossed that finish line before letting myself slow down to a walk.  Quickly scanned the crowds for the nearest source of water.  Volunteers were handing out Hint water, VitaCoco, and regular bottled water.  Yes, please!  I switched off my Garmin, hydrated, and went to stand by Steph as we awaited the others' arrivals. 

I was beaming, so happy.  I didn't stop!  I accomplished my goal:
I ran the whole 5k (YES!) ... in ... 30:03 ! 
That is a time I can be happy with!  Sure, it's 2 minutes behind my first race, but this time I did it right.  I didn't hurry through the first mile, didn't tire too quickly.  I paced myself, took my time, stayed in the zone, resisted the urge to walk.  Ran the whole race.

Still not stopping...

Elated.  Mission Accomplished. =) 

Speedy Stephanie PRed 8 minutes ahead of me, and Aaron clocked in just 3 min behind me.  All in good time, all satisfying our own goals. We all walked away winners.

We three winners went home to shower and eat before heading back out for my tour through Boston.   Why not spend this lovely afternoon out in the city?  We walked up and down Newbury street, celebrating our morning with some (more) tasty frozen yogurt.

Newbury Street, Boston
Sweet Reward

Then I got a drive-through tour of the different areas of Boston, with Aaron providing history lessons and tidbits about his and Stephanie's time here in law school.  Beautiful city!

For dinner, we cooked up some homemade pizza...

And Aaron taught me how to make Challah!

Thennn we had chocolate-chip cookies for dessert and watched TV!  But that's okay, because we ran a race today

As if all that weren't enough, the next day had even more festivities...

Sunday started with challah french toast, with a special guest appearance by my friend Rachel!

Homemade challah, doused and baked in eggs and vanilla?  That was one tasty breakfast.  Plus, Rachel and I got to catch up after a few months apart. :)  Then we hurried off to...

Wellness Day! 

Stephanie planned this incredible expo, bringing together a mix of wellness professionals, including a whole foods chef, yoga instructors, personal trainers, massage therapists, an acupuncturist, and more, PLUS samples from Fruit+, Pretzel Crisps, Stonyfield Yogurt, and Popchips!

Preparing raffle prizes

All the vendors were great and full of information to share.  I learned a lot and also got to relax with a balance test, a massage, a paraffin wax hand treatment, a blood pressure measurement, and on and on.  There was so much to do and learn!

By the time it was all over and cleaned up, we enjoyed dinner out before crashing at home. Pajama time!  It was only 7:30 but felt like midnight. We relaxed for a bit before calling it a night.

What a weekend!!  I returned home with so much to share!  Pride in my race accomplishment, new recipes from Aaron, and tons of running tips and fuel from Stephanie.  

Now, after all that running around (no pun in tended), I need a vacation from my vacation!  Now that I've accomplished my goal of running the entire 5k, my goal is to become comfortable with it. To repeat this weekend's performance again and again.  So while I take a day to recover, I dare YOU: don't stop. Run toward your goal!  Each day, you'll get a little bit closer, until victory!  

How was your weekend?  Did you get in a workout, a walk, a run?  Reach any goals?  How are your 2012 or January resolutions going?  


  1. great post! :)
    congrats on whole 5K
    my weekend was spent taking care of daughter who had oral surgery
    no resolutions here

  2. OMG. I had NO idea that you and Steph were cousins - how lucky are you guys to have each other!?!?
    Congrats on the race - what an accomplishment!! That is an awesome time!!!!
    My weekend was great - lots of time with my little guy b/c I have been so emotional about his 1st birthday ( I don't want him to get bigger!)

  3. Congrats on running the ENTIRE 5k!! That's awesome. Sounds like an incredible weekend. Mine was a good one too - long run on Saturday with my Stroller Warriors and a friend's birthday party, then 4 miles with the husband and kiddo on Sunday and a good trip to Lowe's.

  4. First off congrats on your race lady! Feeling accomplished at the end of a race is a feeling unlike any other, it's addicting! Andd I didn't know you were related to stephanie! Love her blog! Looks like you had a fabulous weekend!

  5. Great job on your race and what a great start to 2012!


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