Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Turning the Big 3-0

This past Saturday was my thirtieth birthday.  I've been sort of dreading turning the big 3-0 for a few years now.  I'm not quite sure what the exact cause of my dread was because now that I am thirty, I don't feel any older at all!

Thirty just seems like one of those milestone birthdays that I bench-marked in my teens and twenties as being officially old.  I remember when my mom turned thirty and I couldn't fathom that the day would actually come around when I would turn 30 as well.  And, yet, the day came and went, and now...I'm 30.

Instead of spending my birthday lamenting the passing of my young twenty-something label, I wanted to do something that I had never done before...something that I would never have been capable of doing before...and so I signed up for my very first 5k! 

You see, I spent most of the first twenty-some years of my life loathing all types of physical activity and loving all things sweet, sugary, and loaded with carbs.  Doughnuts and chocolate cake became my go-to stress relief and I saw no reason to physically induce any form of sweating.  After high school, college, marriage, graduate school, and two pregnancies, I was an overweight, unhealthy, couch potato who could barely keep up with her husband and two kids. 

When the doctor told me I was dangerously close to developing diabetes, I knew something had to change.  And, thus began my journey toward losing weight and learning how to live a healthy and active lifestyle. 

I used to be the girl who had every excuse in the book for why I had packed on the pounds:  stress, fatigue, a dysfunctional thyroid, busy-ness, money, pregnancy, motherhood...you name it, I most likely used it as an excuse.  It was unbelievably hard to change, but as I took those little steps toward revolutionizing the way I ate and my thoughts toward exercise and physical activity, I began to see benefits:  I lost weight (over 60 lbs), I had energy, I wasn't as stressed out, I slept amazing at night....and on and on.  I still have my not-so-good days and I'm learning that my journey toward health will most likely be a life-long endeavor.  Granted, I'm still working on losing the remaining weight from my third pregnancy, but I am getting oh-so-close!!

Anyway, it only seemed fitting that I begin my thirties in a way that would signify to myself that I am forever changed by the desire to live a healthier lifestyle.  And, I knew if I could conquer my fear of public exercise and run the ENTIRE 3.1 miles without walking, I would feel like anything was possible in my thirties. 

So, the night before my birthday and the 5k, Ben and the kids let me open my presents early:

Allie had been working on my present for WEEKS prior to my birthday.  It was so fun to see her excitement when I opened her gift.  She is definitely a little encourager...just like her dad!
Bug wasn't so sure about the whole present-opening experience.  Actually, she was probably wondering why we were taking pictures of her with baby-food carrots smeared all over her face. 

And, here was the main reason for the early present opening...Ben got me a Garmin Forerunner--yahooo!  Most of you are probably wondering what the heck a Garmin Forerunner is...because in my twenties, I would have been wondering the same thing.  Basically, it is a watch/GPS that tracks speed, time, and distance while running and biking.  There are tons more features that I'm learning how to use, but I'm so excited to have something that will help me better track my mileage, pace times, and distance when I run/bike.  Plus, I was so excited to have it for my first 5k the next morning!

On my birthday, we all got up bright and early to make it to the 5k registration at 8:30 am.  The kids and Ben came to cheer me along:
I still can't believe the word "Runner" is pinned to my shirt!  Who would have thought?!

The race was kind of crazy at the starting line.  I positioned myself further back because I knew I wouldn't be able to keep pace with the more competitive runners, but I think I may have been too far back because I was having a hard time dodging people and trying to get into a "groove."  Every time I was comfortable with my pace, there would be someone right ahead of me that I would have to dodge or try to pass.  Thankfully, everyone was pretty spread out by about the half-three quarter mile mark and I was able to settle in. 

The best part of the race?  Rounding the 3/4 mile mark and seeing Ben and the kids!  They were cheering so loud and I couldn't help but have a huge smile on my face!

After the 3/4 mile marker, Ben took the kids to a nearby park before heading to the finish line. 

I ran...and ran...and ran...and really, really wanted to walk at around 2.75 miles, but kept running.  Although the website said it was a pretty flat race route, there were sure a heck of a lot of hills!! 

Finally, the finish line was in view...and so were Ben and the kids.  I was hoping to have a little more energy to race to the end, but the last hill was kind of a killer.  But, I made it.  I ran 3.1 miles without walking!  I couldn't even do that as a teenager!
Overall, I finished 107 out of 198 runners.  I was 15th out of the 37 gals in my age division.  I was 47th out of 114 female runners.  My average mile pace time was 10:07 and my overall time was 31:26.  Not bad for my first 5k! 

If I ever do another race, I definitely need to figure out how to navigate that whole starting line mob.  And, I need to do a lot more work on running hills.  Those were definitely the two things that were the most difficult for me. 

After the race, we headed home for a quiet afternoon before pizza and cake with my parents. 
I have never been so proud to wear a bright yellow T-shirt in my entire life!  Seriously, it is my new favorite shirt and I intend to keep it forever!

I had a fabulous birthday...definitely on par with one of my favorite birthdays ever!  Thirties, here I come!!! 


ella peterson said...

CONGRATULATIONS ON RUNNING THE ENTIRE WAY! The hills were my hardest the first time I ran a race - completely forgot about that until this blog otherwise I would have warned when asked on FB. Thanks for the update on the race - you did great!

Michelle said...

Welcome to the thirties:) Still so impressed on your 5K race - way to go Jennifer! And you're even willing to run more of them - wow!

afiqah said...

wow! love ur courage in trying new stuff~ aniwae, ur kids are so cute!!! especially the third one!! <3