1 Bucket List, 2 Shoes, 5Ks

bwc realI had been signed up for the Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K for the past couple of months. Ever since I began working on my health and saying yes to life, I’ve been looking for ways to appreciate myself, the community around me, and everything that is capable of being achieved. And this morning, I found all of those things and much more when I finally completed the race.

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Two months ago I was running consistently, focusing on obtaining a quality education, eating healthy foods with conviction, stretching every morning, avoiding TV time, planning for my career-oriented future, and taking care of my personal appearance.

Preparing for this race has provided me with a deep and profound appreciation for myself and my body.
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Showing up to the Inner Harbor today I looked out upon the 3,211 other female participants and was overwhelmed by the support and positivity exuding from these lovely and lively ladies who were all prepared to reach their goals and prove their worth. Attending this race has strengthened my sense of community.

I have failed. I have struggled. I have thrown in the towel, given up, stayed down, and vowed to never care about trying again. But I have also risen to the occasion, succeeded, pushed myself, and reached beyond my grasp only to find my fingertips brushing the stars.

Associating myself with this race has shown me that anything is possible.

I ran a 34 minute race. I came in 1,410th. I was 108th in my age division. And none of that matters.DSCN0852

What matters is that I crossed a life goal off of my bucket list and showed myself exactly what wonders this life is capable of holding.

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Running Progress, Running Pride

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been sweating my way through a 5K training program. I’ve dropped a considerable amount of weight, become so stretchy that Gumby would be jealous, unfortunately stretched out my tennis shoes until they are sad and tattered remnants of their once grand self, and memorized most all of my workout song playlist (including all of Mambo No. 5)

run 1

I’ve never been a runner, but as “complete an official race” is on my bucket list, I knew that I had to start training eventually. Since there’s no better time than the present and I was feeling sluggish from the chilly winter weather, I hopped on the track at the gym and immediately surpassed my expectations just by showing up. I knew that it’d be a struggle to get my Pop-Tart-munching-self running more than just my mouth, so I decided to pay my 5K race fee right away to encourage actual participation. Luckily, I care more about getting my money’s worth than being lazy.

At the beginning of the year, running a half mile left me looking gnarly and sorely out of breath. Very very very slowly, I’ve built up my run time to the point where I can now run (know that way I say “run” it really refers to a moderate jog) for a solid half hour while feeling like I don’t want to end my wretched life by the finish. What progress! And more than that, I actually somewhat somehow maybe perhaps enjoy running now. Before it would feel monotonous and more like a chore, but somehow I’ve gradually come to enjoy the simplicity in repeatedly pounding my feet on the pavement.

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Though I began as a reluctant runner, I’ve discovered a joy and pride that running has brought to my life. I love being able to explain to my friends and family my running plans and the tremendous progress I’ve made. It simply feels good to exercise, and even better to talk about exercising.

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My first official 5K, the Baltimore Women’s Classic, is in June (though I’ve already completed an unofficial one conducted through UMD) and I know that I’m ready to take on this challenge. My only goal is to run throughout the whole event with no walking breaks in between. If I get below 30 minutes on the day of the run, that’ll be stupendous, but if not, I’ve already achieved something worthwhile, the knowledge that I’ve proven my self-worth through commitment, dedication, and sweat. I am so proud of what I’ve already accomplished, and I can’t wait to see how much further I can take myself before race day.

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I don’t think I could take myself seriously in these…

But first, I need to get new running shoes.

Get Fit, Win Prizes? Sign Me Up!

I’ve been trying my hardest to take better care of my body this semester. I’ve eaten my fruits and veggies (but more fruits than veggies), sweated my butt off at the gym (literally, my butt looks smaller), and tried to move my body around when I can (my random spurts of dancing help here). But, there’s one tool that really helped me stay focused and on target while trying to shape up, and that’s the website, Fit Campus.

fit campusFit Campus allows you to log which exercises you complete while at school, and then they rewards you in all kinds of ways for committing to at least 2.5 hours of exercise each week. Last year a cruise was given away, just for going to the gym! But there are also all kinds of little prizes as well, and I got a Camelbak water bottle the last time the giveaway was running.

It’s always a struggle to drag myself to the gym, and while I usually succeed, there are some days where it seems darn near impossible to make that 20 minute walk, only to walk around some more. I love knowing that Fit Campus appreciates my effort. Also the whole fantastic prize giveaway doesn’t hurt in terms of my endearment towards them either.

Ran some laps for my 5K? Log those minutes! Met up with friends to look like a fool in Zumba class? Log those minutes! Fell over while trying to do a Yoga pose? Log those minutes and prepare an ice pack!

5Ks and Freedom

Only a couple hours ago I finished running my first official 5K. It was held by the sororities at the University of Maryland to benefit Yeardly Love and raise awareness of domestic violence. I went with my friend Jackie who is a pro at running and has done multiple 10Ks, she was so supportive and it really helped me focus on the run.

It cost $20 dollars to participate, and it return, I received:

  • A free t-shirt
  • A “one love” bracelet
  • Confidence
  • Aching feet
  • A stronger friendshipIMG_1931
  • The sense of community
  • A cool visor
  • Memories
  • Hope for my future plans
  • The freedom to explore endless possibilities

I can’t believe that I completed something so challenging while only stopping to walk for 3 minutes. I had a final time of 33 minutes, but for my first ever 5K, and in the beginning stages of training for the Baltimore Women’s Classic, I’ll take it!

IMG_1933Also, UMD was so beautiful today! We ran around a lake and I just wanted to stop and take pictures the whole time. Instead, I took this one of the Chapel near where we began our race.

Advice for Beginners

I don’t know if you’ve heard of Zen Pencils before, but it’s basically a blog where this guy draws cartoons to match famous quotes. A lot of them are really great and you should definitely check them out, but my absolute favorite is Ira Glass’s Advice for Beginners.

Right now when I’m trying to take on a lot at once, including becoming healthier and training for my 5K; it’s nice to remember that I have to put in “a huge volume of work” to truly see the results I know I can achieve. And if you all just keep trying for whatever it is your heart truly desires, it will come to you.

Luckily I'm not a beginner at tying shoes, so I'm starting somewhere!

Luckily I’m not a beginner at tying shoes, so I’m starting somewhere!