My first 5k and so much more {guest post}

Hello Piper’s Run followers, my name is Jennifer and I’m your guest blogger for today! 

Anna asked if I would be willing to write about my experience leading up to and running my first 5K race, in the Bluenose Marathon 2012. 

A quick background on me, as I’m sure you’re wondering who has hijacked your Piper’s Run blog for the day. Anna and I have known each other since high school (95-98!) and have reconnected again on Facebook over the last few years as mom’s, which has been so nice. Funny enough, we bonded over the fact that we both married British guys and have shared travel tips over the last few years with travelling over-seas with toddlers to visit family!  Side-bar here Anna – this would be a great blog subject in the future!  Back on track, I have two little munchkins, my best buddy and sidekick Max (2.5yrs) and our sweet little baby girl Lauryn is just 6 months old.

Max and Lauryn

I’ve always been an active person, love to play all sports but my fave’s are probably Volleyball, Fastball and Basketball.  Never, I repeat, never, have I considered myself a “runner”.  In fact, I used to loathe any form of distance running and would avoid it at all costs!

What changed in my life to start running, you ask?!

After the craziness of having my second baby in two years, the hectic holiday season in 2011, then came the New Year of 2012. New Year Resolution you may be thinking? No!  We signed our toddler up to start swimming lessons the second week of January. Something I was SO looking forward to doing with my little buddy as some special (baby sister-free) time with just me and my boy.  It was the wonderful moment of trying on bathing suits 6 weeks after I gave birth that jolted me into reality that I NEEDED to start getting active again to feel even a little bit comfortable getting into a bathing suit on a weekly basis and actually being in public! It was the perfect motivator/reality check that I needed to get me going again.

I immediately signed myself up for a Saturday morning Core Strengthening  Boot Camp that started the first week of January. My train of thought here was – hey, I’m an athlete at heart, I can handle this boot camp. After my first class with our evil little instructor (she’s exactly like Jillian Michael’s!) I was knocked down but not out. I knew this would be difficult, but I have a crazy competitive edge in me that wanted to prove to myself and my instructor (whom I’ve grown to adore!!) that I could do this. So all winter long I’ve been going to a crazy little boot camp to keep myself humble and noticed that I was getting stronger every week.  While the boot camp was great, I felt I needed to do more.

Then came Anna’s blog, our beloved Piper’s Run.  Reading Anna’s posts about getting out for run’s all winter long and reminding us each week to get active, really struck a cord with me.  It truly motivated me to try running as a means of keeping active and getting healthy. So I hit the treadmill in my basement, squeezing in a 30 minute run when I could, while caring for two little ones at home with me all day.

I was worried that my same old feelings of “running is boring” or “I’m not a runner” would creep up on me as I went, but they didn’t! The most unexpected thing happened, I started to enjoy it!  It was giving me energy I needed to drive me through the day, it was clearing my head and making me so happy each day that I did it. This, only after about a month of running 3-4 days a week. 

It was this point that I think I emailed Anna to profess my love for her blog and thanked her for motivating me to get more active and running!  I shared my secret desire to enter the Bluenose 5K run in May with her and asked if she’d be willing to run it with me.  Of course she agreed (because she’s awesome!) and that’s basically how it all came to be.  I trained hard each week, keeping up my running and also still going to boot camp Saturday mornings.I won’t lie, I got more nervous during the weeks leading up to run, envisioning myself crawling up the side of citadel hill gasping for breath with everybody running past me! Ha ha.

A few weeks before the run I told one of my younger cousins (10 years younger and extremely fit athlete!) that I was planning to run and she signed up on the spot for the Bluenose as some added support for me.  If I surround myself with good runners in the race, maybe I would look like one too?! Or at least have somebody to pick me up and keep me going. 

My husband and son came with me on race day to be there in support of my big day. As Anna mentioned, we met up and it seemed like within minutes we were at the starting gates waiting to go. The butterflies were at an all-time high the moment before the race began. Once we went through the start gate, dodging and weaving around the walkers, we set a good pace. I felt great! Once we got past the first km marker and the crowds of runners started to spread out, we had some breathing and running space.

Things I loved immediately were all the spectators along the entire course cheering us on and waving to us. They really made you feel good! The volunteers with water along the run, located in JUST the right spots. My cousin and I seemed to get into the same groove and we started to run ahead of Anna (just a bit!!). We reached the bottom of Citadel Hill and for some strange reason I started sprinting up the hill. Other people were stopping as If they hit a brick wall and I saw it as a good opportunity to pass people!  We ran all the way up the hill, took a little breather for about a minute (walking), then got back into our sweet groove. Something about running around the top of Citadel hill on a gorgeous sunny morning was so energizing. I had a clear head the entire run and loved this feeling.  I took a mental picture of this moment in my life. Very cool experience.  Running down Citadel Hill was heavenly and the last leg of the race seemed like a breeze. My dear (did I mention younger and fitter) cousin decided to motivate me by challenging me to sprint to the finish line, which I am happy to say I somehow managed to do! 

I crossed the line in a time of 33:05.

I did it, I didn’t make a fool of myself and I think I looked like a “runner”!

I smiled a dumb smile all weekend long just thinking about it. I grabbed my baby boy after I crossed the finish line and took him with me to get my first ever Bluenose Medal.  What a truly awesome experience.

Max, hanging out on top of Citadel Hill while Mommy runs 🙂

I’ve decided to train and sign up for the Valley Harvest Marathon 10K race this October. 

Thank you Anna, for motivating so many people (I’m certain I’m not the only one!) and giving my kids a healthier, happier mom. It’s changed my life forever.