Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wednesday + {The Color Run}

Call us crazy--we probably are--but in-between moving and our trip to Europe, Gooligan and I are competing in a 5k. In Portland, Oregon. We signed up months ago, sometime during Winter quarter, and we got our old roommate, her girlfriend, and her parents on board with us, so we qualified to sign up as a team.

I'm so excited about this 5k. It's our first official race and it's a color run, too, something that has been on my bucket list for quite a while. The official website calls it "the Happiest 5k on the Planet" and describes it as "a unique paint race that celebrates healthiness, happiness, individuality, and giving back to the community."

The track we're running on September 7.

Part of the reason that I am so excited for this race is because it has been a while since Gooligan and I have seen our old roommate. After she graduated, she moved about 250 miles away. Not impossibly far, but not a convenient distance, either, when you factor in arranging three work schedules, gas money, etc. to make the trip. But plans have been made and we're ready!

The other reason I'm so thrilled to be participating in a color run is because it will mark a year since I started running. I don't remember the exact date of my first run; I'm notorious for not making a big deal of beginnings of new habits, in case they don't stick. But I started running in September 2012. 

At first, I used a couch to 10k program on my iPod. That was a lot of help, since it helped transition me from zero running experience to regular running experience in short bursts of walking and running. Since I didn't have a smartphone at the time, though, I had no clue how fast I was running or how far. Not a huge deal, but I was really interested in improving my run and striving for consistency, so I signed up for a gym membership for the quarter.

It was at the gym that I made two discoveries: one, I hate running inside. And two, treadmills are super unreliable.

Luckily, about a month later, a classmate told Gooligan about this Nike+ chip you could put in your shoe and it would sync with your iPod. It tracked mileage and pace and synced with the Nike+ website to show you a handful of other stats.

I ran 62 miles using that app. Then I got a smartphone in November and started using MapMyRun because it used GPS to track where I ran in addition to how far, how fast, how many calories burned, etc. The coolest part of the app, however, is that you can set it to chime in periodically about how you're doing. Right now I have it set on two-minute increments. So every two minutes, it lets me know my average pace in those two minutes and how far I've run collectively. A great tool if you're trying to work on running at a steady pace.

Using MapMyRun, I've run 124 miles. Which puts me at 186 miles total. Not bad for a kid who was adamantly opposed to running the weekly mile in high school P.E.!

I won't lie, though. I fell off the bandwagon once. When it started to get cold, running became harder. Then I went to my third residency at VCFA and my schedule got disrupted. My third semester of grad school was my worst. I was in an emotional sinkhole. But then, in March, one of our friends casually messaged me on Facebook about how she was starting a running group and wanted to know if I would be part of it. I said yes. Gooligan got on board, too.

Even though the group disintegrated pretty quickly into just Gooligan and me, we've stuck to it. Sometimes we don't run as often or as far or as fast as we'd like but we're still running. 

Yesterday, Gooligan and I laced up our shoes and forced ourselves outside. Just for a mile. But we did it. We've made a commitment to each other and ourselves: at least a mile every day this week no matter what.

It doesn't matter how well we do in our 5k. Any time will technically be our best time, since this is our first official race. But it's not about time or distance. It's about having fun and seeing our old roommate again and getting absolutely covered in paint!


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