5K Training and My First 5K


5k trainingIt was an exciting weekend around our house. After completing months (and by this I mean multiple attempts over 4 years) I finished my 5K training and Ben, Sam and I completed our first “race”. Ben and Sam ran the Austin CASA Superhero 1K and I ran the 5K.  Despite her protests, our daughter sat in the stroller with the iPad.

Running a 5K is a huge accomplishment for me and something that I never thought I would be able to do. Earlier this summer I shared the things that I learned from Couch to 5K. Today, I thought I would share the things that I learned from my first 5K.

What I Learned from 5K Training and My First 5K


Prepare – I decided to use the Zen Labs 5K training program. That was my foundation.  I trained for months for this race. I started slow on the treadmill. When school started, I found a nice Kelty jogging stroller on Craigslist for $100. My 18 month old and I moved the training outside. I spent the next 5 weeks promising my daughter,  “We are almost to the slide. . . ” all while shoving cereal, fruit snacks, toys and the occasional pink doughnut at her to keep her appeased. Seriously, pink donuts. She’d probably run a marathon with my if I had a dozen.

To specifically train for this race,  I ran the route twice before the big day. I wanted to know what to expect. The first time, I ran it with my super fit friend Tracy. She gave me lots of tips and encouragement. The second time, I ran it on my own with Elly. It helped me feel comfortable until the week of the race when I found they had changed the course. Oh, well.

Commit – Besides training, for me the big push came when I actually picked a race and committed to it. I sealed the deal by getting my family involved.  Once I showed Sam the video for the “Batman Race” he was all in. There were points that I thought that maybe I’d just run the 1k so I made myself accountable and shared our goal with others. There is nothing like fear of looking like a big fat quitter to help you complete a goal. I had finished my 5K training so I was going to finish a 5K. We also took it one step further and made a goal to raise money for CASA.  Together, Sam and I raised $140.  Not too bad and we got a special running shirt. If you get people you love to donate money then you better follow through.

Get there early –  Ben and I can never agree on what time we need to arrive at places.  I like to be extra early, especially if it is something like a flight, meeting or race. Ben, not so much.  He doesn’t like to stand around.  We arrived 45 minutes before the start of the 1K.  This gave us plenty of time to find parking, walk to the starting area and check out all of the activities. We had time to take fun photos, soak up the atmosphere and find our photo spots. Plus, the excitement of seeing the other runners in costume helped Sam get even more excited for the race.  

Take a support group –  Along the course there were tons of people cheering and pushing you on.  Let’s face it, you can’t just walk past people cheering for you.  You have to use your “Speed Boost” as Sam calls it. Also, I mentioned before, getting my family involved made a big difference.  It was a great opportunity for us to do something together. I made a sign for Sam and Ben made one for me. Us girls had a great time waiting at the finish line for “Sam and Daddy.” Ben’s wait was a little more, er, challenging with two kids. But for all of the hassle (and the cracked iPad screen) that Ben put up with, it meant so much to see my sweet little family yelling and cheering for me as I came around to the finish line. A high-five from your 5 yr old is enough to push any mom past the finish line.

Find your speed – I did all of my outdoor 5K training (2 months) pushing Elly in the jogging stroller in the steamy Texas August/September heat. Not an easy task. I was really tempted to push her in the race simply because we had trained together and I thought it would be a fun thing to finish together.  And she’s kinda my crutch. Eventually, I realized that this race was for me.  It was my accomplishment and I wanted to do my best. By losing the extra weight pushed throughout my training – the toddler, the stroller and 30 lbs of Tracey – I was able to take SIX AND A HALF MINUTES off my fastest 5K training run.  I found myself naturally running faster than I anticipated.  I took walk times where I needed to and ran when I was ready. Ben couldn’t believe my progress and how quickly I made it to the finish line. My time was official time was even 30 seconds faster than what Runkeeper on my phone said. I didn’t come in last. There were over 200 people behind me. I’m still feeling mighty proud of that.

Have Fun – As terrifying as it was to put my 5K training to the test, it was a fantastic experience. I cannot say enough about the CASA Superhero Run. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone.  The energy of the crowd was infectious. The costumes added an air of fun to the entire event.  Finally, sharing the event with my family was a great way for us to do something together.  

So if you are debating taking the 5K training plunge, I say, “Go for it.” One of my sisters has started 5K training and my other sister is contemplating it along with it my mom.  Who knew that we would be a family of “runners”?


CASA Superhero Run 2013 Austin

Superhero Run

It is official. I signed up for my first 5K – the CASA Superhero Run on September 21st. We’ve talked about our “running” progress on the blog a couple of times. Sarah shared our Running Playlists for Slowpokes. I shared the 5 Things I Learned From Couch to 5K. Well, after MONTHS of running, the time has come for me to put myself out there and make it happen.

I’m terrified.

Sam and I will run the Superhero Run Kid’s 1K together and then I will be attempting the 5K on my own with my sweet family cheering me on. Sam is on his fourth week of training. We found a training program here. He is up to running 6 minute intervals. Later this week, he will start running 8 minute intervals. Our goal is to have him finish the 1K in 10 minutes or less. I’m confident that he can do it. My goal is to finish and not come in last place. I’m mostly confident that I can do it.

Help Us Raise Money for the CASA Superhero Run

Normally, I hate imposing on others by asking them to donate. However, based on the cause, I’m going to put it out there.

CASA speaks up for children who’ve been abused or neglected by empowering our community to volunteer as advocates for them in the court system. When the state steps in to protect a child’s safety, a judge appoints a trained CASA volunteer to make independent and informed recommendations in the child’s best interest. CASA volunteers – true superheroes – ensure that each child’s individual needs remain a priority in an over-burdened child welfare system.

Sam and I have worked really hard to prepare ourselves for the race. This is something that I never thought I would be able to do. I’ve lost 25 pounds training. Sam has increased his endurance and often asks us if we can go for a run. Our family has spent quality time together running and we’ve developed healthy fitness habits along the way. All because I gave into Sarah’s peer pressure and started Couch to 5K with Sarah. Words cannot express how proud I am of our little family.

So, if you feel like supporting a great cause, check out our fundraising page for the CASA Superhero Run or you can fill out the donation form below. We would appreciate any help you can give us so we can achieve our goal. Or you can simply join us that morning for the run. We would love to have some friends run along with us!

5 Things I Learned from Couch to 5K

You might remember a couple of months ago when Sarah shared our Running Lists for Slowpokes. Remember how she talked me into doing Couch to 5K (C25K)?  What she didn’t tell you is that I have started that darn program at least 5 times.  Seriously, 5 times. The first time was back in 2009 when my little guy was just a year old.  I actually made it through week 6. Then I quit.

But guess who didn’t quit this time? Guess who is running (aka jogging – slowly) 30+ minutes at a time. Who is averaging about 2.5 miles per run? Oh, that would be me. Now, I just need to conquer that last .6 miles and a 5K will be in my grasp. (Oh, and transitioning from the treadmill to outside. That would be good too.) So in honor of my C25K graduation, I thought I would share a couple of things that I’ve learned during the process.

Things I learned from Couch to 5K

1. Running is hard. I still kinda hate it. I know people say it gets easier. They also say there is some mythical beast called the “Runner’s High”. Yeah, haven’t met it yet. I will say I love the results. I love the feeling of accomplishment that I feel when I’m done. The the weight that I’ve lost is amazing. Most of all, I love the time it gives me to burn off anxiety, stress, energy or the Peanut Butter Faux Oreos that I just can’t seem to resist. It makes me a better mother and wife. I’m more centered, more calm and I feel accomplished. While I’m never excited to actually run, I’m always excited for the experience.

2. You have to find your own pace. I think the biggest mistake I made in all of my other attempts was trying to go too fast too soon. About a year ago I picked up the book Run Your Butt Off!.  One of the things that it emphasizes is that when you are starting off, don’t run any faster than you can walk. This made a huge difference for me. I slowed down and started concentrating on just lasting through all of my run segments. I have found that my speed has naturally increased along with my endurance.

3. Get the right shoes. Everyone says, “All you need is shoes to start running.”  While I agree with this, I can tell you there is a HUGE difference when a running specialist helps you pick out the right shoes. The shoes I ran the program in were some that I picked out on my own. I had been fitted back in 2009 so I knew that I pronate and that I need neutral shoes. They worked. As a reward for finishing, I went back to be fitted again for a new pair. My new shoes are fantastic. During my most recent fitting, I also learned that your running shoes should be one size bigger than your normal size to allow for swelling in your feet. Also, don’t forget about good socks. Synthetic fabrics are better for wicking away moisture.  Moisture = blisters.

4. Find gear that will help you accomplish your goals. For me, it is all about technology, tracking and results. I use a Fitbit every day to help me track my level of activity. Ben also bought me a Bluetooth heart rate monitor that works with my phone. I love knowing how many calories I’m burning.  Finally, if you are running outside, find an app that works for you. I’m still trying to find my favorite. So far Runkeeper might be my favorite.

5. Have a goal. Throughout this process my overall goal was to finish the program. Just finish it. That’s it.

I also had daily goals Couch to 5K Goals.

    • Finish all of the intervals.
    • Jog for 5 minutes straight.
    • 10 minutes jogging.
    • Go an entire mile without walking.
    • Jog 2 miles.

You see where I’m going.

Now, my overall goal is for my family to run a race. In September, Austin has a Superhero Run. It benefits CASA, an organization that advocates for abused or neglected children. There is a 1K for kids and a 5K for adults. This morning we started a training program for our 5 yr old to run the 1K. Ben left us in the dust as he pushed our daughter in the stroller. My little running partner did 1.25 miles of 3 minutes walk/run intervals. I was so proud. Proud of him, proud of myself, and proud of the fact that my little family is focusing on building fitness habits that will benefit us for years to come.