Run for the Cheetah

Saturday was the day for my first official 5K and the completion of my Couch to 5K program. This race wound through Papago Park, between the Phoenix Zoo and the Botanical Gardens. It was much smaller and more relaxed than the Pat Tillman run. I'm not a fan of huge crowds, especially when I am pushing the jogging stroller, so it was refreshing to get there early. We found a great parking space and I was one of the firsts to pick up my number and t-shirt. My parents came to watch the kids, and I was off. I found my rhythm quickly and settles into the slow but steady task of completing 3.1 miles. There we re many, many people who alternated between flat-out sprinting and walking, and I wanted to tell them to take it slow and enjoy it. As it was, I eventually out-paced them. I ran the entire race, slowing only for one water break. The route was beautiful. I managed to summon the energy to sprint the last half mile, and I came it at 39:58. I was hoping to make it under 40 minutes, so I just squeezed in under my self-imposed time limit. Just under 13-minute miles again. Best of all, I feel energized and ready to take on whatever.

Connor decided to join in the festivities by running the kid's 100-yard dash. He did very well, and managed to avoid completely taking out the little kid who ran right into his path. When it was over he said, "That's wasn't very long." I think there may be a few runs in his future.

Now that the C25K program is over, I am not sure where to go from here. I am concentrating on distance now instead of time. This week I am doing 2.8 miles in about 40 minutes. I find that pushing the jogging stroller while I run increases my time by about one minute per mile. Once I am up to three miles (by next week), I will looking into the One Hour Runner program. Eric and I agreed, however, that all of these races are getting expensive.

I have heard that getting through the first 20 minutes of exercise is the hardest part. Me, on the other hand, I find that the first 30 are tough, but after that, I get great gobs of energy. My pace increases significantly, and I feel that I can go on forever. I'll have to read up on this phenomenon, but I am guessing it has to do with the body's release of stored energy and endorphins. Endorphins make you feel good!

I joined a gym, in the hopes of building muscle strength and cross-training. Today I will get in for some strength training and a spin class. I've been looking forward to it all week.

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