It’s hard to believe, but my first 5k was two years ago. I was talked into a Couch to 5K program by my buddy, Jim, and the race we were training for for was supposed to be a week later. But I was in Indianapolis watching a basketball tournament and decided to test my luck with the Big Ten 5K.
Now, if you follow this blog, you know I am a huge Badger fan, so when I slid into my cut-off sleeve Wisconsin t-shirt I had a little extra boost. The problem was, not only was this my first 5k, I had been drinking the entire day before, well into the night.
It was actually quite comical when I strolled up to the registration table. I had no clue what the hell I was doing and was increasingly nervous about my decision. I stammered around with other runners and inconspicuously slid into an organized pre-race stretch. I was alone and felt it, but as I peered around at my fellow runners, I sensed these would be my people for the next couple years.
The beer poured out of me as I laid on the ground touching my toes. I was a little bit of a mess and felt like a nap may be a better choice than running my first endurance race. Minutes later I stood in the pen with a thousand other runners waiting for the start. When the horn went off I surrendered to the massive flow and a timing chip with my name attached clicked off for the first time.
I lumbered through the streets of Indianapolis searching wildly for my breath. I wasn’t wearing a watch and had no concept of distance. It was a thundering blow to my ego when I was anticipating the finish line and instead crept up on the first mile marker.
I struggled mightily, but eventually saw a big “3” and let out a sigh of relief. But that’s when I realized point-one miles is longer than I thought. Eventually I finished, but it was everything I had to cross the line that day.
Now, two years later, a Full Ironman under my belt, I will drive north on I-65 to watch my Badgers and take another shot at my first 5K. It will be nowhere near as daunting, but it will be just as hard.