First 10K completed

I am SO proud of myself right now. Five weeks ago I was running on a treadmill 2-3 times a week. I wasn’t training for anything – running was just one of my cardio workouts. I mixed it up with spinning (alternative cardio) and weight training. I really wanted to run outside more *one day* but it was too cold outside to even think about that yet. The plan was to start incorporating more outside runs into my weekly workouts once the weather got better, then sign up for a 5K and maybe towards the end of the summer complete a 10K.  That was until I watched the Spirit of the Marathon, which inspired this post. I signed up for the 10K the next day, since my friend Katie was already running it.

My training began on the treadmill (but I started running 5 times a week) and eventually when the weather got better, I ran outside as much as I could. Now I always always push myself to the limit, so merely finishing the 10K was not enough of a challenge. I wanted to finish it well (for me). I think 5 weeks ago my goal was to finish it under 10 minute miles. That would make it a 62 minute run. I bet if I pushed myself on the treadmill 5 weeks ago, I could run the full 6 miles at 6.5 mph on a treadmill (according to this converter – that would be 9:35 minute miles if you run at 0% incline, which I almost always for runs longer than 3 miles). Running outside was MUCH harder for me at first (because I never ever did it) so that’s why I was targeting a time a little slower than 9:35. Apparently I was holding myself back this entire time! What I realized after getting my beloved Garmin (which gave me the opportunity to learn my real pace) is that I ran on the treadmill at the pace that I set for myself (not the pace I was really capable of running at). For longer runs I always adjusted the speed down. If I felt strong, I increased it slightly mid-run and usually sprinted towards the end, but I held back because I was afraid to get injured. After running outside I was amazed at how much faster I could do it. They were tough runs, but I realized that I started finishing 5-7 mile runs in the high 8’s range. Last week I went on a 45 minute run with a coworker who was much faster than me. We were running around 8 minute miles for a while. I’ve never pushed myself that much. Sometimes I let him take off and slowed down a bit, but I rarely saw the speed go above 9 minute miles. He was motivating me to keep going (at that pace) for sure, but regardless – I did it. When I looked at the garmin at the end it read: 5.12 miles completed, average speed 8:41. What? I ran over 5 miles at 8:41 average??? The next day I had to do a 4 mile run – 8:41 was the new pace to beat. I knew it was a fast pace, but I had to run over 1 mile less than the previous day so I thought I should be able to do it. I pushed through and did just that – 8:41 mile average for 4 miles!! On Tuesday I did a 7 mile run (last longer run before the race) at 8:40 pace. And this determined my personal goal for the 10K today – I really wanted to average under 8:45 minute mile pace. In 5 weeks – I shaved off over a minute/mile of my goal time!

So how did I do today? I set up the bar pretty high for myself. I’m not going to lie – I was SO nervous. I knew I could finish this thing – I’ve put in the time and I was becoming confident in my ability. Very cool! But I wanted to finish it under 54:15 (that’s 8:45 pace). I secretly dreamed to even finish under 54 minutes, but really 54:15 would have made me very happy. I took off really fast right at the beginning. The watch read 6:45 pace for a few minutes. I just wanted to give myself some space from the crowd, but actually I was feeling comfortable in the mid 7’s for a while. I knew I couldn’t keep it up (according to my previous practice runs) but I was hoping that maybe the race adrenaline was really going to give me that extra boost. After about 3.5 miles I was done. It became really mental. I hated all the music I had. I was tired. I was done. I kind of wanted to walk, but I didn’t want to slow down to walking speed – I didn’t train this hard to walk! My body was capable of finishing strong. I knew that. I just kept on reminding this to myself. There were a lot of little hills. I started just concentrating on beating those. At some point I actually stopped looking at my watch. Surprisingly when I did glace at it, it often read in the mid-high 8’s pace. I just kept telling myself, keep this up and you can finish within your goal. And then it was mile 5, and 6 and then I saw the finish line. I sprinted towards the end, literally using up every ounce of energy I had left. I didn’t even look at the clock. My husband was there to greet me. I was happy to just be done. A few minutes later I asked him if he saw my time. He said the clock said 51:50 when I crossed the line!!!!!!!! After cooling down for a minute, this finally sank in. I shaved almost 2.5 minutes off my goal time (over 20 seconds/mile), and I’ve never run this fast in my life!! I was SO proud. So so proud. Katie finished a few minutes later – I was really proud of her too. She’s never run 6 miles before and I think she actually had fun. She said the music on her ipod really motivated her. I need to prepare my playlist better next time. And yes (although mid-race I thought I’d never want to race again. Am I freaking crazy toying with the idea of a half marathon… and maybe even a whole marathon one day?!) of course there will be a next time. Because this feeling can’t be beat. The marathon goal will have to wait, though. I realized I’m not mentally ready for it. Maybe in a few years :)

Katie and I before the race

post race - pretending like I'm not dying right now

A little better - the race is done and I kicked butt!! :)

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29 comments to First 10K completed

  • OMG that is amazing Elina- congratulations!!! I can’t believe how quickly you improved so much! I know people say this a lot on blogs so I hesitate to use the same terminology, but this post is truly inspirational!

  • Tiffany

    Awesome job! Congrats on the time :)

  • Oh wow, look at you go! Great job!!!

  • Great time! Congrats!

    Nice seeing you last night! I’m wearing your green shirt today! :)

  • Awesome accomplishment, Elina!

  • Katie

    I had such a great time! Glad you decided to run – I knew you’d do great!

  • Elina,
    Congrats! This was very inspiring for me to read. My goal is 10-minute miles, but at this point even that might be a struggle because I am seriously under-trained. In fact, part of me doesn’t even want to run it because I just don’t feel ready to do it WELL.
    You really made the transition from treadmill to the road so well and so quickly! Surprisingly I seem to run a bit faster on the road than on the treadmill (very odd–my mind is definitely defeating me on the treadmill), but I am scared about the endurance.
    Ok, I just realized that was all about me whenI should be congratulating you. I just wanted to share that to see if you had any thoughts for me!
    CONGRATS to you and this fabulous achievement. You continue to inspire me with your fitness!

  • Elina

    Thank you, Inna! I’m so happy that my achievements can actually inspire others!! :)

    Hehe, good choice, Tina! I love that shirt 😀

    Lara, I learned that now I can run faster outside too (to my surprise). My advise to you is to do the run, even if you feel like you’re maybe undertrained. You are a fit girl, and you can finish it. Even if you finish it in a time that’s longer than you were hoping for, you will still complete a whole 10K and that’s a huge accomplishment! You’ve been thinking about this a lot, so believe me you don’t want to just blow it off. That will haunt you and you will feel like you gave up (or at least I would and I think we’re very similar in that way). That’s no good. You may even surprise yourself and finish strong! Your mind can get in the way (btw, mine definitely got the best of me mid race yesterday. Physically I could do it but mentally I wanted to just stop) but don’t let it. JUST DO IT 😀 Oh, and all of this advice is only valid if you’re not injured. I hope your knee is 100% by the race date! Good luck!!!

  • K

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! That’s fantastic!

  • wahhooo way to go!!! The mental aspect of running is probably the most gratitify.. I mean telling yourself to just keep going when most people would quit… amazing.

    way to go!!

  • great job w/ the race! how wonderful!!! you got such an amazing time!

  • Congrats!!! Isn’t it amazing what you can do when you push yourself?

  • Erin

    well done lady!

  • CONGRATS! you are a rockstar 😉

  • Congratulations! That is so awesome!!

  • Amy

    Congratulations Elina!!! So, I take it you’d recommend the Garmin? I run outside a lot and have been toying with the idea of getting one but just haven’t done it yet.

  • I’m running my first 10K in about 5 weeks and I hope I do as well as you did!

  • Elina

    Amy, I HIGHLY recommend the Garmin. I really think that I owe some of my progress to it! It just really helps with paces (you know exactly whether you’re going too fast or too slow and can readjust accordingly).

    Hannah, how exciting! Good luck!! :)

  • CONGRATS!!! you rocked it :) there will always be the adrenaline rush in races that will take you to new paces!

  • Awesome job!!!! I hate when I am running and my music starts annoying me. It;s always a terrible sign for me.

  • sister inna

    hey i have been sick the last few days and didn’t check your post till just now.
    you are such an athlete!! i’m really impressed. how awesome is it that you can perform under pressure way better than even your fastest time??? so so cool. we’re so proud of you 😀

  • This is a couple days late, but CONGRATS!! What an accomplishment :) I am so proud of you that you were able to meet your goal. I have no doubt that when you decide to do a marathon someday you will be successful!! You are an inspiration!

  • […] first 10K race went quite well! I trained for it hard and have significantly improved my time. I felt so […]

  • Rodney

    Just ran my first 8k looking at a 10k thanks so much for the inspiration.

    I hope you go for the half marathon.

  • […] Race a 10K! – Yes, yes, yes. Achieved this one back in May (recap can be found here) and even trained for a half marathon later in the year (something I thought was impossible a year […]


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