I Ran My First 5K

I was wide awake by the time 5:00am showed on my clock. As I looked down at the foot of my bed, I could barely make out the “5” without my glasses. No sense in sleeping anymore…it was time to get up.

We were at the local farmer’s market by 6:50am and got a great parking spot (as you’d expect). I was dressed in my t-shirt and shorts and ready to make a quick dash in and out of the market. I needed to drive 70 minutes to Kentville for the 9:30am registration, so there wasn’t time for the regular “laissez faire” approach that we normally take on a Saturday morning.

I wasn’t nervous, but was definitely excited. Not overly excited, though…just enough to keep my blood pumping. After all, I had run just over 5km on a couple of different occasions during my Couch-to-5K training…this was gonna be a breeze.

RIGHT?

As we arrived at the destination, the clouds were heavy and the rain was slowly coming down. Nothing major…but more than a mist. I didn’t want to have to worry about cleaning my glasses every two seconds, so we quickly drove to the closest Walmart and picked up a $8 hat to help protect me from the elements.

We both stood in line to pick up my package. I was surprised by the number of last-minute registrations going on. I thought everybody who did this kind of thing knew they were going to run before the day of the event?

But what do I know? I just wanted top pick up my t-shirt and my bib.

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At this point, we were just sitting in the car and waiting for the next 45 minutes to pass. I was a little intimidated, I won’t lie. For the most part, these people looked like some hardcore runners. Here I was in my first 5K, just hoping to not embarrass myself. I didn’t want to freak out like I did the year before when I walked a half-marathon (I got really nervous before that event).

A quick last-minute trip to the “facilities” and I was ready to go. There was a quick ½ km walk to the start/finish line, and that helped to build my nerves a little bit. Thankfully, my wife was right next to me to assure me that it didn’t matter what I looked like in my big-ass headphones. The only thing that mattered was my ability to focus on the task at hand: be steady and run in my own comfort zone. I really took some time to concentrate…

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Thankfully, my wife had me feeling pretty relaxed.

007As the race began, I fumbled with my iPhone to ensure that I had my MapMyRun app running and my music was blaring. I wanted to make sure I knew how far I was and what my pace was, especially where I was unfamiliar with the course.

As it turns out, the course was simply a back-and-forth straight line…which totally worked in my favour. The good news was that it was a paved trail that covered what used to be a railroad track, so it was extremely flats and, really, the best option for me running a race for the first time.

I felt really strong in the first half of the race. I hardly took any breaks and I felt as though I had the wind at my back.

Realistically, though, I was at the back of the pack and passing a couple of the folks who were walking the course. Sigh…

As we neared the halfway marker, I did pass a couple groups who were also doing a walk/run pace as I was. For whatever reason, my pace was just a little bit faster than theirs. I passed them, grabbed a bottle of water, and turned around for the second half.

This is where things seemed to really slow down for me.

I felt as though I was stopping WAY too much. I had pain in the sides of my stomach, my right knee began acting up, and I was having a difficult time catching my breath. I wasn’t sure what, exactly, the problem was other than the fact that maybe I didn’t take enough breaks during the first half…resulting in my body not agreeing with the pace I had set for myself.

People that I had passed were passing me. I was feeling defeated. I was at the very back of the pack and couldn’t seem to get my pace going.

I think, though, a lot of that was in my head.

As I entered the final kilometer, I knew that I wanted to look strong for the final stretch because I didn’t want to look weak in front of my wife. She runs marathons for crying out loud…I couldn’t let her see me walk or limp over the finish line.

So I slowed down again. I had to catch my breath before making that last ditch effort to look strong. I saw the end in the distance.

And off I went.

I slugged on…and on…and didn’t care what my body was telling me. I was going to finish this 5K by running and I was going to look strong in front of my awesome wife.

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I could see her cheering me on. Her smile was a mile wide. That only helped to encourage me.

For some reason, she began to wave her arms and tell me to “hurry” as I got to the end. OMG…was I looking that bad? Were those people I passed going to catch up and fly by me at the end of this thing??

I crossed the finish line and was met with a flurry of high-fives from the people who were standing there crowding the end (waiting for their own friends & co-runners to arrive). I felt relieved and elated.

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I turned and gave my wife a huge hug. She told me my time: 39:52

She was telling me to hurry up because she knew I’d be really happy with getting under 40 minutes. She was right, as she usually is.

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After taking a post-race selfie, I changed and we jumped into the car to head back to the city. The whole thing seemed quite surreal until Saturday evening, when I started going through the pictures that you see here. Between that and the ton of positive comments I got on Facebook (Sunshine was proudly telling the world that I was running my 5K as I was running it), it all began to sink in. I had done something that I never, ever would have thought possible a few short months ago.

I mean, I’ve tried running before. I disliked it immensely. I even tried walking, but after that half-marathon I said “NOPE” to ever doing it again for exercise.

I was the very definition of “couch potato”. Hell…the Couch-to-5K app should use me as a spokesperson because I’m the literal couch-to-5K person. I went from sitting on my ass to getting outside at -20 at 6am. And now? Now I’m the guy who ran a sub-40-minute 5K on his first attempt.

What’s next? I’m not sure, but I think I’m going to rest this week. I need to sit back and not only reflect on my accomplishment, but try to figure out my next move. I owe it to myself to continue doing this. I can’t just slap my hands together and say “I’m done”. I’m worth more than that

I’m not sure what the future holds, but I can tell you that this was one experience I’ll never forget.

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100 Happy Days Completed

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As I mentioned back on March 10th, I’m not much of a “meme” kind of guy. But where I’m (seemingly) always battling inner demons and attempting to kick myself into a better mood, I thought this was one that was worth attempting.

I’m happy to report that as of last night, I have completed my task and finished #100HappyDays!!

And I thought it’d be fun to re-post some of my favourite happy moments from the past 100 days…

 

Day #1 – Out for a run and happy to be out just before the sun made an appearance.

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Day #4 – I love “Family Game Night”. It could be Quirkle, Yahtzee, SkipBo, or dominoes…just the ability to sit down as a family and hang out for an evening of laughs and fun is one of the greatest joys I have.

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Day #8 – One of the benefits of working with my awesome wife is the ability to act silly together outside of the house. In this case, it was St. Patrick’s Day fun at the office.

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Day #20 – I still don’t know what “spotted dick pudding” is, but this made me legit lol when my wife saw it at a Bulk Barn.

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Day #31 – My awesome wife is always a superhero to me, but especially when she wears her Wonder Woman t-shirt to work under her business attire. LIKE A BOSS.

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Day #40 – Easter was a great time to get the kids together. I love that they all get along.

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Day #48 – My dad got remarried on this day.

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Day #60 – The wife and I went to Kiddo’s string recital at the local arena. We couldn’t just idly sit in the back row; we had to make sure we were seen in the crowd so Kiddo would know we were there. Matching lime green jackets did the trick!

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Day #66 – I took the day off of work to decorate the house for my wife’s 40th birthday. Sorry…I mean, 30-tenth birthday. Heh…

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Day #69 – On a family weekend at my dad’s place, we all took time on a beautiful, sunny afternoon to play some washer toss.

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Day #85 – I ran a 5K for the first time…and it was on my own during training for my first actual 5K. I was really happy with this accomplishment.

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Day #88 – After a terribly crappy day at the office, it was awesome to come home to FaceTime with my son and listen to him read a book.

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Day #90 – Sunshine and I spent a rare Saturday with her girls. We called it “The Day of Awesome” and spent the day surprising them with fun activities. It all culminated in their first trip to the drive-in…capping off a fantastic day.

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Days #98 & #99 – I was able to finish this meme with a bang, as I was surprised by my son on Father’s Day  and then surprised the next evening on “Step-Father’s Day” by my incredible step-daughters. Smiles on my face a mile wide each day!

100 Happy Days - Day 98100 Happy Days - Day 99So what did I learn from all this? I learned that I REALLY love my family. My wife, my children, and my step-children…my family brings me tremendous happiness. Food makes me happy, too…REALLY happy. There were a ton of pics of food, which may not necessarily be a good thing (lol). And hey…if you want to check out all 100 days, just do a Twitter search for #cbg100happydays or check out my Instagram account.

At the end of the day, the biggest thing I learned is that I felt the need to find something happy about every single day. Most days it was extremely easy, but on those days where everything seemed to suck…where work was brutal and everything about life was miserable, I was still able to find ONE THING to be happy about. That, in and of itself, is probably the whole reason I began this meme to begin with.

Nobody can force you to be happy. Only you can decide where happiness comes from. Life is good and happiness can be found anywhere, so never take it for granted. Ultimately the lesson learned is…

Day #100 – …only you can make yourself happy.

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4 Days To Go – Final Stretch

After slacking off in so many ways last week, I’m making sure I don’t slack off in the days leading up to my first 5K event. From my running diary blog…

I Got Off The Couch

I’ve been slacking. A LOT.

It’s weird…whenever I get close to a goal and I’ve achieved something along the way, I find a way to mess that goal up before I have a chance to complete it. It’s the reason I can’t lose more than a few pounds at a time. It’s the reason I can’t seem to run 30 minutes straight without a break. It’s the reason I almost blew my first 5K in just four short days.

Thankfully, my wife helped me realize that I was entering a vicious cycle again. As such, I was out running today and getting prepared for that 5K on Saturday. I didn’t go far, but I was going more for pace than I was for distance. I know I can run 5K…I’ve done that in my training. I’d like to try to pick things up a little bit, though…get a pace that…

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My Father’s Day

I was up late Saturday night. Whenever I spend the weekend away from my wife to be with my son, I don’t normally sleep very well. It was after midnight when I got a text from my oldest daughter:

 

Father's Day Text

This helped me go to sleep with a big smile on my face. Knowing that in just over a year, going from being a complete stranger to having a Father’s Day text was a huge accomplishment. It’s an awesome feeling knowing that we’ve got a pretty decent relationship.

I woke up this morning and my son couldn’t wait to give me a gift that he had been holding onto since Friday. When I opened it up, I was pretty darn happy with what I got.

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He gave me a pretty impressive owl picture he drew in school. Then he gave me a list of reasons why he loved me (that was probably the coolest gift). His card told me that he loved me “so so so much”, which was awesome. Finally, his mom helped him give me a home-made jar of treats (Reeces Pieces, Reeces Peanut Butter Cups, and Peanut M&M’s…my favourites). The whole thing helped put a massive smile on my face.

Finally, around noon, my daughter from Ontario called me. It was nice to hear her voice and be able to talk to her for a bit. I was excited to let her know that we’d be getting her plane ticket soon so she could spend August with us.

On top of this, my awesome wife wrote a very kind blog post about me and posted this on Facebook:

Father's Day

So all in all, this was an incredible day. I am a very lucky man.

#PrayForMoncton

I used to live in Moncton. In fact, I lived there for 10 years prior to moving to Halifax to be with Sunshine. I lived in the area that was considered on “lockdown” as of 6:30am this morning. This whole scary situation is surreal to me because just yesterday I was telling co-workers just how peaceful and quiet the city was.

Then this happened.

My heart is heavy and my thoughts go with all of the friends and family of the slain police officers. The Codiac RCMP are in a horrible situation right now…knowing that they are being targeted by some insane gun-fanatic who is intent on killing them, while also trying to hunt the man down through residential and wooded areas.

It’s weird. You always see these types of things happening in small towns in the U.S. but Canada is always the “quiet, peaceful country”, which is something the L.A. Times mentioned in an article last night:

“Killings are rare in Canada. In 2012, 543 homicides were reported in the nation of about 35 million residents. Just six of those took place in New Brunswick. In contrast, Los Angeles County, with about 10 million residents, had 660 homicides that year.”

And the mentality in Canada towards gun control is different than the United States. We’re PRO-gun control. Polls across the country will show that we don’t have issues with our gun laws. We don’t believe it’s a “right”…it’s a “privilege” that you have to earn by submitting to whatever it is you need to do (I have no idea what’s involved because I’ve only even held a gun once in my lifetime).

So to have something like this happen is even more mind-boggling simply because we’re not that kind of society.  This isn’t who we are. These types of things don’t happen here.

I guess now they do.

#PrayForMoncton

June 21st

That’s the date of my first, official 5K event: June 21st.

At this point, I’ve registered for the event and paid the entrance fee. All that’s left to do is to actually run the thing.

Correction: I need to ensure I’m fully trained for the event.

Last week I finished my Couch-to-5K nine-week program and, on Wednesday, actually ran just over 5km on my own for the first time. It was awesome in the sense that I was able to complete it…so I know that I’m totally ready for the event itself.

The issue is that I don’t feel like my body is really all-that ready. I tried running around in the yard this weekend with my son, but found that I was limping and hobbling like I was a senior citizen. I don’t recall ever NOT being able to play with my son before I started running.

So here’s the thing…I totally realize that my weight has everything to do with why my body isn’t reacting positively to my exercising. Here’s the other thing: I’m the same weight I was before I started running and I haven’t been eating any more than I was before.

As frustrating as that may be, I realize that I need to be in better shape in order to really run this 5K event the way I want to run it. I want to be able to play with my son without hobbling around like I’ve got two broken legs. I need to do more than just run a few times a day.

I’ve had a GREAT start. I couldn’t imagine being able to run an average of under 9 minutes per kilometer a few months ago. I’ve come a long way in just 85 days. Imagine what I could do in another 85?

I plan on losing 10 pounds before June 21st. I’m not sure how I’m going to do it, but that’s the plan. It’s the short-term goal that will eventually lead to a long-term goal. It’s one step at a time, right?

June 21st. I’m counting down the days.

Do something today that your future self will thank you for