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Doing Something I Never Believed Would Be Possible: My First 5K Race

Last Saturday morning, bright and early, I got up and did something I’ve always wished I could do… I ran (and finished!) my first 5K race.

For some of you who run multiple marathons a year, that sounds like a cakewalk, something you’d do as a little warmup. For me, on the other hand, it was monumental.

I’d Convinced Myself I Wasn’t a Runner

You see, up until two years ago, I couldn’t even run a half mile without collapsing and feeling like I was going to hyperventilate. So I’d long ago convinced myself that I’m not a runner. Instead, I’d walk or bike or get on the elliptical.

However, after challenging myself to start and follow through with an entire round (all 90 days!) of P90X awhile back, I decided to just try running a mile to see if I’d really increased my endurance or gotten stronger.

To my utter disbelief, I ran a little more than a mile without stopping!

Inspired by this success, I started running on a regular basis. At first, I could barely pull off more than a mile. But I kept making myself get on the treadmill, even when it was the last thing I wanted to do.

Doing Something I Never Believed Was Possible

I started the Couch to 5K program to help keep me on track and gradually working on improving my endurance and time. Some days, it was grueling and I felt like I was going to keel over and throw up. Some days, I had to stop because I just had nothing left to give.

But I didn’t give up. And one day, after a number of months of consistently running, I got on the treadmill and ran 3.1 miles without stopping.

I’m not an emotional person by nature, but I cried the whole last quarter of a mile.

Why? Because I had done something I never believed to be possible. I had run a 5K. Granted, the 5K was on the treadmill, but it was still 3.1 miles — something I never would have thought weak, non-runner me could pull off.

Facing My Fears Head On

But I was still scared to actually run in a race. To go out there with other people and try to start and finish a 5K seemed daunting. I was afraid of failing, coming in last, or just plain not being able to pull it off under pressure. I know it sounds silly to admit it out loud, but I’m just being gut honest here.

As I’ve been learning recently, though, sometimes the best thing you can do in the face of fear is to just do it. Just step out and face head on whatever scares you most. The more you face your fears, the less daunting they seem to be.

So, I signed up for the race, I put on my running shoes, and I showed up. Still nervous about the whole thing, but determined to not cower away from something I’d set out to do — even if it was hard.

Even If I Didn’t Medal, I Came Home a Winner

It wasn’t the best race ever, and I certainly didn’t come close to having a shot at a medal, but when I ran through that finish line, I felt every bit like I’d won a gold medal. Regardless of my time, regardless of the fact that many people older than me had a much better time, I finished — and that’s what mattered.

Truthfully, once I got over my initial fears and pre-race jitters, I loved the experience. And I’m pretty sure that it will be the first of many races to come… in fact, I’m planning to set a goal to run at least one 10K race in 2013.

It just goes to show, you will never find out how far you can go, unless you just get out there and start trying.

Have you faced some of your fears and stepped out of your comfort zone recently? If so, tell us about it so we can cheer you on!

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  • Congratulations on such a big accomplishment! I can relate to the feeling of thinking I am going to keel over when I run. Your story is inspiring; maybe I can run a 5k someday too. 🙂 (And what a good example you are setting for your kids!)

  • Stacey says:

    Good for you! I too never thought I was a runner but my sister convinced me to try the Couch to 5k plan. That was just over a year ago. Last September I ran my first 3.1 mile and now we are up to 9miles and working our way to a Half Marathon. So keep up the hard work and be proud! Happy running!

  • J says:

    Congratulations! That is huge. Crystal, tell the truth, you are cloned, right? You do so much it is amazing.

  • Katie says:

    Aaah I can completely relate to this! Congratulations on your 5K!!! That must be such an awesome feeling to have finished a race! I too have convinced myself I’m “not a runner” but I signed myself and my husband {my biggest cheerleader!} up for my first half marathon in January! I am terrified. I just got back from running five miles twenty minutes ago and I am still catching my breath. I’m not sure how I will do 13.1 miles EVER, but like you said, I need to just do it! The next 3 months will be filled with a lot of sweat and tears but I’m determined to do it!

    • Casey says:

      You WILL be able to do it! I recently completed my first half marathon. I heard someone once say “If you can run 5 miles, you can run 13.” Now its all about dedication and training. Those long runs are SO important. Even if you feel like you’d rather DIE than get out and run… do it anyway! Your endurance and strength really does build! I’m hoping you have a training schedule to follow, if not consider reading Marathoning for Mortals (it discusses both Half and full marathons and includes training plans.) Plus every week you get to say “that was the longest I have ever run!” And that’s a good feeling! I increased 1 mile/week to my long run up to 12 miles 2 weeks before. The week before I ran 8 miles. Then race day 13.1. Find a plan that works for you and stick with it!!

  • Congratulations! I am so proud of you. I first discovered running when I was 5 but gave up on it in high school when all I could do was get 3rd place. Yeah I know sounds so prideful now that I look back at it at the age of 38 and it was. Then one day when I was walking and praying I felt the urge to run. I first told God he was crazy after all I was never number 1 at it and he reminded me it does not matter if we are number one what matters most is that we obey and do our best. So I began to run. Much like you I was so slow at it, I did not use the couch to 5K but I did the telephone pole trick, walk to one, run to one, repeat, next time out walk one, run two repeat, till I was up to 3 miles, it took me 2 years I think! Then a friend and I entered our first 5K and I was so nervous at the start I thought I was going to pass out, but by the end I was hooked! and well you know the story my kids are older than yours so I have more time to train…5K grew to 13.1 which grew to 26.2. Just you wait you will be one of the 1% yet! I know you will! (26.2)

  • Jen says:

    Go you! I’m so glad you’re becoming a runner. Maybe you can do a post on running 5Ks frugally?? I love to run, but those entry fees sure add up. There are so many that are for good causes that I’d love to do but just can’t afford.

    • Meagan says:

      Some smaller charity races offer a lower registration fee if you don’t want a shirt. Local running clubs frequently sponsor races and can give discounts to club members or may be willing to work with you if the entry fee would prohibit you from participating.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      If you get involved with a local running club, you can sometimes get discounts. Also, my run club is sponsored by a local sporting goods store… well, since it’s a local store, they also sponsor lots of races in town. Most of the time, race sponsorships get a few free entries, and they give them to members of our running club. Also our running club gives free stuff for participating so many times. It’s stuff from the sporting good store, but I’ve gotten a shirt and a coupon for $25 off shoes so it’s pretty significant.

    • sign up early! it’s amazing how quickly price increases happen (well at least in longer races like marathons). if you’re interested in running a certain annual race, put a reminder in your calendar 5-6 months out so you can sign up right away.

  • Congratulations! I am so proud of you! Just you wait 10K will soon grow into a 13.1 which will grow into a 26.2!

  • Congratulations Crystal! I’m sure it feels so good to be able to say that you ran in a race 🙂

  • Jen says:

    Congratulations!!! Like you, I convinced myself I wasn’t a runner when I started running this past March. This past weekend I ran my second half marathon this fall! This race I ran with my sister and together she was able to finish her first half marathon. It was amazing!!! You should talk your sister into running a race with you! 🙂

  • Rebecca Bice says:

    I also thought that I was not a “runner”. But 6 weeks ago, my daughter signed up as a team captain for a 5k and wanted me to do it with her. So I started training. Each day or every other day I ran a little farther. I have worked up to 3.5 miles. My race is on November 3 and I am excited and nervous! Thanks or this wonderful blog! I read it everyday and have learned so much!!

  • Amy Lauren says:

    That is so awesome Crystal! I do run longer distances, but running a 5K is truly amazing, especially since you conquered your fear. My job did a Couch to 5K program and the run club I train with does one (I am in the half marathon training program). One of the ladies who is training for the 5K is so excited about it and upbeat- running is an activity that can really transform someone and bring them hope.

    Plus, I love the picture of you and your family :). I volunteer coach cross country and track in our community and it’s so great to see kids and their families outside and being active. Kudos to you for training and finishing in your 5K, and sharing your story. And who knows how far you will go, maybe a longer distance in the future ;).


    • Danielle says:

      Congratulations! I love to run & can really relate to the feelings you had when you accomplished your goal. That’s a big deal. I remember crying when I finished my second half marathon…..right at the time goal I had in mind. That’s such an incredible feeling to be able to push your body to do things you couldn’t before you trained really hard. Good luck with the 10k training. I really think building up endurance to run those first few miles is the hardest part. You’re on your way!

  • Gretchen says:

    Great Job!! What an inspiration you are to the rest of us. I’m going to have to go check out this couch to 5k program now. Enough with the excuses.
    Pat on the back to you!


  • Amanda says:

    Oh this is wonderful to read! I feel like you’re sharing my story but mine is still a work in progress. I too cried on the treadmill, that was just at one mile. I’m going for two miles soon and I’m really glad you shared your story. I want to be like you when I run up! 🙂

  • RuthS says:

    Way to go! I have never aspired to be a runner, but I walked a half-marathon a few years ago and it’s such an amazing feeling when you finish your first race like that!

  • Jennie says:

    Congratulations! There is nothing quite like facing your fears and conquering them! You are SUCH an inspiration! Please continue to share your triumphs!

  • Monica says:

    Congratulations! That is so awesome!

  • Candace says:

    WAY TO GO Crystal! You are so precious and such a blessing! Isn’t it so much fun to get the 5K tshirt that goes along w/the race?! =)

  • Ashley says:

    Good for you! There’s no better feeling than finishing strong on race day. I’ve found that committing to a longer race with a friend or two keeps us accountable during a long training schedule and makes the whole experience more fun. Especially the post race dinner and post race cheese cake 😀

  • Susan in St. Louis says:

    Congratulations! That’s so exciting; I know you’ve been working toward this for a long time! Looks like the girls did a kids’ run too; did they enjoy it?

    • Crystal says:

      Or maybe more like I’ve been procrastinating on doing it because I was scared of failure. 😉 The kids did a half-mile fun run after I ran and had a blast… well, everyone but Kaitlynn who had gotten up a little bit too early for her liking. 🙂

      • Michelle P. says:

        I was cracking up at Kaitlynn’s lower lip! I know it isn’t funny when it is your own kid with a case of the grumps, but it sure looks cute in pics! 🙂

  • Janelle says:

    WTG! I recently started running myself (the first time in 15 years!!) and have started to enjoy it. Maybe a 5K is in my not-too-distant future… Proud of you!!

  • Chelsea says:

    Congratulations! You look so cute in your running gear! 🙂 so proud of your accomplishment. And what a fun picture, I love the different personalities shining through.

  • Way to go, Crystal! It’s so exciting to conquers fears in our lives. I’ve convinced myself that I’m not a runner, too, but lately I’ve been having second thoughts. Now to just find a time when my husband can be home with the little ones…

  • Jessica says:

    Way to go!!! If your looking for a fall 10k I highly highly recommend the plaza 10k in Kansas city. It’s a great course and provide awasome medals. It was my second race ever and one step on my way to a half marathon which is in about 10 days.

  • Wow! Congratulations. I am so impressed. I am one of those who does not consider myself a runner, and I feel like I could have written this, however, I have not done the whole starting to run thing. Really great. Perhaps you have given me some inspiration to try the treadmill…just one time

  • Blaire says:

    celebrating with you on an inspiring accomplishment! when the time for a 10K comes next year, you will conquer that too!

  • jennifer says:

    Yeah for you! My husband is a runner and I was the same way….I could NEVER run!! But this year I ran not one, but two 5k’s:). I’m running my third next month. I know I will never place, but I’m doing more than I did last year. Keep it up!

  • KED says:

    Amazingly my story is similiar to yours. …October 20th I ran my first 5K and with my family to boot, including my 69 year old mom. It rocked!! I was only in my fifth week of the C25K so I focused on running the mile to each water station until I reached the finish line. I averaged an 11 minute mile so I wasn’t exactly fast but I did it at age 47 with zero prior experience so I am kinda proud of myself.

  • Sarah says:

    Wow! Congratulations what an accomplishment!

  • Kasey S says:

    WTG on your marathon!! My challenge right now is a weight loss challenge with The Center for Weight Loss. It is a local doctor and my friend & I won a chance to do the challenge. We are learning how to lose weight correctly and keep it off. So far I have lost 15 pounds in 5 weeks and have another weigh in tomorrow. Looking for good numbers again tomorrow.

  • So many times when I read your blog I think, “Wow. Her kids have such an AMAZING example of a godly, encouraging, go-getter mother, wife, and woman.” They are so lucky to have you and I THANK you for sharing these accomplishments with your readers!

  • Laura Jane says:

    Woohoo! Way to go! I totally understand how daunting that can be. This post is so inspiring. This year I made it my mission to stop allowing my teeny tiny little comfort zone stop from doing the things I really want to do. I started by joining the gym at work so I could work out each morning before I started working. This absolutely terrified me because I’m overweight, self conscious, look absurd when I’m exercising intensely, and it would require me working out around people I actually knew and worked with, most of whom were super fit, cute ladies. I almost cried the first day I had the courage to walk in there and work out. I looked I was dying, and I was only on day one of C25K.
    Long story short, that experience gave me a lot of confidence, and I did something else I had always really wanted to do but had been terrified of: sign up for the Allume conference, and I’m headed there tomorrow! I’m actually not even all that nervous.
    I wrote about what I think the key to overcoming fear was for me:

  • JenMarie says:

    Way to go Crystal!! It’s funny how facing our fears give us the momentum to reach for the next thing. Looks like you had a great cheering section 🙂

  • Congratulations! What a great accomplishment. Fear and self doubt are such crazy feelings. Once you decide to just ignore them and do what you really want to do they go away.

  • MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

    I began coming here for deals…but the best part of your blog are these inspirational stories. These are the posts that keep me coming back!

  • melissa french says:

    Congratulations Crystal!!!!! What an accomplishment!!!!! I’m so inspired, I just may start that couch to 5k program again. I got up to two miles, went on summer vacation, and never started back. Procrastination and a sense of failure I’m sure- but that is just stinkin thinkin. I think I just may strap on those running shoes in the morning (although it will only be for a walk- will have to build up to running again) !!!! Again, Congrats!!!!

  • Lilianne says:

    Congrats Crystal! 5k is amazing in my book! I started running last year when I decided to get myself in better shape and make healthier choices. I was like you and at first could hardly run a half mile without stopping. Last Nov I ran my first 5k (a local turkey trot) and have done two 5k’s so far this year as well (including a zombie mud run on Sat which I was very nervous about but completed)! Running goals or fitness goals such as local races are a great motivator to exercise and can be a lot of fun! Good luck with your future running goals!

  • Sara says:

    Congratulations on running your 5k! I did my first one in april of this year after losing 140lbs. and this coming sunday, my husband and i are running our first 10K! It’s such a good feeling for cross the finish line and it does set a great fitness and healthy example for your children. 🙂

  • Michelle says:

    How wonderful! Congratulations, Crystal! I’m ‘not a runner’ either. I always see friends running 5Ks and I start hyperventilating just thinking about that kind of distance. I’m proud of you for going after it 🙂

  • jen says:

    so awesome!! great job!! what’s that thingamajimmy on your upper arm? i’ve seen other runners wearing something similar and have always wondered…

  • Caroline says:

    This could be my story only I started running this last Febuary at age 50. I too convinced myself at a young age that I was NOT a runner, even tho the desire to run hit my over and over again. I ran my firt 5k last Saturday too and it was just as you described, a wonderful experience!!

    Congratulations to you!!!!!

  • Amy says:

    Congratulations!! I remember my 1st 5K… I just didn’t want to be last – and to my shock I wasn’t! I continued to step out of my comfort zone and just finished my first marathon – it took years of gaining enough confidence that I could do this – but it did – 2 weeks ago I ran the Chicago marathon and finished! I’m so proud of you for starting to do this – I remember so many of the same feelings when I started running!


    Above is a link to my story of how I went from non-runner to Marathon-completer in 2008! From another non-runner, I share your excitement! Congratulations! My dad was so inspired by my accomplishment that he ran his first half-marathon in the summer of 2011 at the age of 56. I hope that your achievement will inspire your family and followers too! We both used Hal Higdon’s (FREE!) beginner schedule from his website. If you decide to go for a marathon, it worked for us!

    Aside from running, I recently faced my fears and…painted murals on my children’s walls! Although I am a former art teacher and have the skills, I am very cautious and fearful of big changes. So I make a lot of excuses and procrastinate out of fear of making a mistake. But this past week I spent five days painting murals on my children’s walls (while they watched movies and played with toys in the next room) and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I am so proud of myself for finally doing it! 🙂

  • Christine says:

    Congrats!!! That is awesome!!! I consider myself a non runner (my whole life) so I can’t imagine what that’s like!

    I’m abt to speak for the first time. I kept feeling that nudge…but felt so much fear. Couldn’t even say it out loud. And now? I’m getting ready to and it “feels” right, like God has it all under control. I feel like, “What’s to be afraid of?”…which is truly a miracle! : )

  • Elizabeth says:

    Good for you, Crystal! I know exactly how that feels. I have a ton of anxiety about running, but just finished my first half marathon. Now, three weeks out, I’m working hard not to fall into the trap of thinking “I probably can’t do it anymore….I haven’t run that far in a long time”

    Conquering your fears is hard to do, and I’m so glad you took this great step!

  • Jennifer says:

    Congratulations!!! I just finished my first 5k race the last weekend in September and I completely relate to your story.

  • Congratulations, Crystal. This is wonderful!

    I’ve signed up for my first 5K next month and am quite scared about it 🙂 Looking forward to that feeling over crossing the finish line.

  • WAY TO GO, CRYSTAL!!! I totally understand everything you said about “not being a runner” because that was me. But last year I ran my first 5K race, and this year I ran the same race – and beat my time! I’m also headed for a few 10ks this next year, then half marathons, and sometime before I turn 30 I will run a marathon. Thanks so much for sharing your journey – great timing too with your book on the power of self-discipline. 🙂

  • Meliss says:

    Oh, Crystal, I’m so happy for you I have tears in my eyes! Congratulations! You are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing so much of YOU here on MSM.

  • Lana Hope says:

    Wow, inspiring. I have only ran one 5K, and it was a flip flop race (in honor of the kids from Burma who are fleeing for their lives in flip flops). I don’t like running that much, but I’d like to bicycle across a continent or something, so your story is inspiring.

  • beach mom says:

    Crystal-I totally relate to you. I ran my 1st 5K in the beginning of March and then a 10K at the end of March this year. I also turned 45 and was competing against my 17 yr. old. I was diagnosed with Lyme disease 7 months earlier and had to deal with the effects of that(pain in my joints and muscles, chills,extremely lethargic,nerve sensitivity and many other issues with lyme). I only trained about a month before the race because that is when I started feeling better. I did not think I could do it either! But I finished the 5K in 30 minutes and the 10K in 1 hr. Not too bad and it was the most awesome feeling that I accomplished something that I did not think was possible for me. My problem was the mental challenge of running-telling myself that I could do it and not to stop. So happy for you-and now you are ready for a 10K-YOU CAN DO IT! Having the right kind of music helps, too! Congratulations-what a role model you are for you kids!

  • Susan says:

    Good for you!!!!! I just did the same thing, my first “real” 5K (I’ve walked others :)) I ran the whole thing!!!!!!! I’m still a very slow runner compared to others, but I’m not comparing myself. I have two little ones and I don’t get to practice run everyday, but I do practice! I just signed up to do a 5 mile Turkey Trot with my church so I’m working up to running that!

    It is an amazing feeling when you cross that finish line. Congratulations!

  • Yea for you! I’m sure that felt great.

  • Tina says:

    Congratulations! I did the same thing earlier this year running a 10K. I have asthma & large bust, so I had convinced myself I wasn’t a runner as well. I wrote a post “How Not To Quit Running” in case you or any of your readers are interested.

  • Lana says:

    YAY YOU!!! I am really having to step out of my comfort zone on a very regular basis right now. For over 20 years I was so allergic that I could hardly leave my house without being ill in some way from my allergies. God has healed me of those allergies over the last 2 years and I can no longer hide behind them and use them as an excuse. This weeks challenge has been jury duty all week. I have been asked to sing with the worship team at my church and that is a huge challenge to get up on the stage in front of 600. But now that I am well I must learn to live my life and not be afraid.

  • Laura says:

    Congrats!!! I just ran, (I ran/walked one other one) my first 5k in September and just did another one last night!! Its still not easy after having running be a part of my weekly routine for 10 months but it feels great to get out there, set a goal and complete it while getting a good work out too. Also, I only sign up for 5K’s where the money goes to charity. Good luck and keep on running!!

  • Brittany says:

    YAY! YOU DID IT! I love the couch to 5k program. When I started it last year in Feb, I could barely run 5 min without dying. I struggled for every single minute! (and I’m naturally pretty thin like you, just out of shape!) So don’t feel silly, bc it IS hard! but doable. I ran a half marathon last September and it was awesome! Im not running this year or next bc I’m pregnant, but after that, I cant wait to be back at it. I don’t even know if i like running or not, lol, but its SUCH a great feeling knowing you did “the impossible”

  • Joy says:

    Way to go! I ran my first 5K last year. Just like you, I never thought I could run that far without stopping. I let out a yell when I crossed the finish line as if I had just finished a marathon. 🙂 Now I’m working up to a 10K. I ran 5.13 miles last Saturday and it felt amazing. You can do it, too!

  • Katie says:

    Love love love this! Congratulations, crystal!

  • Jessica says:

    Congratulations! I am a very slow runner, but I enjoy the positive energy of participating in races. Every event I’ve every participated in has been very welcoming to people at all levels, even those of us bringing up the rear, so I encourage all your readers who are feeling intimidated to give it a try!

  • Yay! You are describing exactly how I felt running my first race. I was EXACTLY like you, with all the fears and self-doubt about not being a runner. Peer pressure made me start and pure determination made me not quit. I used Couch to 5k too and now I recommend it to EVERYONE. If I can become a runner…albeit a VERY slow one…ANYBODY can. I ran my first 5k last year and this year I’m running my first HALF MARATHON! Oh my. And now I blog about running regularly and people seem to love it!

    So you go girl!

  • Christy says:

    Congrats to you, Crystal! It’s an amazing accomplishment! Four years ago, I never saw myself as a runner–I hated it. But I started running with a run/walk program (which I felt was hard at the time) and I just finished my second half marathon a few weeks ago. I would’ve never imagined I could do that! I was also inspired to do more races after my first 5k. There’s nothing like the adrenaline or running with other people and crossing that finish line. 🙂 You will definitely be able to do that 10k next year! (And maybe our Runner’s Devotional from Tyndale will also inspire you) 🙂

  • Liz says:

    Congrats!! I understand the huge accomplishment! My husband and I just ran our first about two months ago, and did another one the following weekend. Although we are not able to do it without stopping and walking a bit, we are on our way to running the whole thing. We decided we would not wait until we could run non stop, but take the plunge and do it. Next spring we are scheduled to run another…we hope to do it without stopping, and to beat our previous times by 5-6 minutes. Not only do I think I am slowly becoming “a runner”…I am actually starting to enjoy it.

  • Samantha says:

    Congratulations! That’s awesome. I love the picture of your little guy running on your FB page. I think it is intimidating to come to an event like that where you are surrounded by seasoned athletes…it’s the “out of your comfort zone” thing. I never, never, never in a million years would have thought I would become a runner – I could barely run a 1/15th of a mile lap when I started running and this year I ran my first 5k, 10k, and half marathon….and I am planning to run the Chicago marathon in 2015. Good for you Crystal!

  • Heidi says:

    I can’t believe I did it but I climbed a mountain this summer. At age 39! All because I started running a couple miles 3-4 times a week a few years ago. I also felt like I wasn’t a “runner”. I had never ran a single mile without stopping. If I had to run for my life, I probably would have died 🙂 Now I’m not fast by any means of the imagination but I have the endurance now to achieve goals I never even knew I had! I climbed 8600′ up to the top of Mt. St. Helens!
    Yay, Crystal! What an achievement!

  • Shauna says:

    Congrats! I also ran my first 5K this past August after declaring I was not a runner for years. I am pretty much the slowest runner out there but it makes me feel good and I am not out to win a medal. I think it is amazing that you can do it on the treadmill. I can do it outside but the treadmill kills me.

  • Cari says:

    That is AWESOME!! Congrats!! For me, signing up for the race ahead of time is key! If I know that I paid the money, it is just something else to help get me going:) Last year was my first 5K and this year I have signed up for a 10K Turkey Trot. I hope to one day run the NYC Marathon…one day…..

  • JP says:

    Excellent excellent. Well done Crystal!

  • Rachal Y. says:

    That is awesome!! I ran my first 5K on Saturday too! 🙂 And the first time I ran 3.1 I also cried…it’s just overwhelming after you train for so long and see that you are actually going to make it! Way to go!!

  • Diane says:

    Great work, Crystal! I was so nervous for my first 10K (my first real race) and was definitely one of the later ones to finish. Now I’ve run 14 marathons and am so much mentally and physically healthier because of running. I admire anyone I see running no matter how fast or slow they’re going because I know everyone has to start somewhere. I just hope they’re enjoying it and it makes them feel better.

  • congrats crystal! i do run long distances, and have for 15 years, so i completely support & celebrate with anyone who tries to run. it’s easier to say you can’t, but i really believe that with hard work, anyone can run. 🙂 great job!!

  • Tiffany says:

    YES!! I LOVE IT!!! Nothing like your first race to get you motivated for more. Running is addicting and the running community is so great. Everyone has their own pace, but at the end of the day everyone is a winner. So proud of your endeavors.

    I’m challenging myself next month to run more miles than I ever have in one month to raise money for an orphan with Down Syndrome in desperate need of a family. Running for a purpose (besides myself) will be so much more motivation to get out of bed in the morning and I’m so excited!

  • Kristia says:

    It doesn’t take much to catch the running bug. I ran my first half marathon in 2011 and I ran my third one this past weekend. Good for you!!

  • Jamie says:

    Great Job Crystal! It’s hard to get past the fear of that first race and then when you “just do it” you realize there was nothing to fear. I was blessed to coach a fellow mom from my daughters school over the summer and run her first 5k with her over the summer it not only made ME a better runner but I gained a new friend and running partner, I can’t tell you the pride I felt when she crossed that finish line. After a childhood of “I can’t run” I started and finished the couch to 5k program in the spring of 2011 – last Sunday I ran my first Half Marathon. My son will join me a year from Sunday to run his first Half Marathon (after running many 5k’s with me) and he’s contemplating joining the track team at school. My 6 year old daughter is begging for someone to run the 5k with her next year at the same race. Oh and I’m already signed up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon at the end of February 2013. Just be careful – racing is addictive!

    • Sheri says:

      Congratulations! I love your blog already, but this article really hit home for me. I have three young children probably the same ages as yours. I haven’t made time to do anything for myself in the past several years but now I’ve decided to start running. My friend and I just started the Couch 25K program. I have never run in my life and although I think it is quite challenging for me, I really want to keep going. I had tears in my eyes when I read your story about crossing the finish line and I want to feel that same feeling some day! I too, want to be an example for my children.

  • Susan says:

    Congratulations Crystal! What a huge accomplishment! I ran my first 5K in September at age 56. I had never been a runner, never even wanted to. I started working out this past December to just be healthy and lose some weight. Little by little I was running more and more. I still did not consider myself a runner, but if you run, you are a runner! I was so nervous that my stomach hurt. I did it and even ran the whole thing! What a feeling of accomplishment! The benefit is that I have lost 34 pounds and have had no fibromyalgia symptoms in several months. Praise the Lord! Keep running!

  • Sharon says:

    Yay Crystal!!!!!! congratulations!!! While I’ve never done a race, I HAVE done the Couch25k and I lOVE it!!! I never really thought I’d be able to run 3 miles but WOW was I excited when I did!!! Running is so amazing!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anitra says:

    Your story inspired me to get out the stroller (for my toddler) and run with my 4-year-old today. She ALWAYS wants to run, and I can usually only go 1/4 mile before I am gasping for air. It was a pleasant surprise that running at 4-year-old speed (and occasionally walking fast then short-sprinting to catch up) was do-able for 3/4 mile!

    I want to encourage my kids to be in better shape than I was as a kid, and if I have to run WITH them to allow them the freedom to run… well, then I’d better figure out how to do that!

  • Jenny says:

    Way to go Crystal! There is so much power in running with a crowd. I hope you were uplifted during the race and that all those early morning runs were worth it 🙂

  • Erica says:

    Congrats! It’s tough, but so very, very rewarding. You need to runDisney – you get a medal as long as you finish!! I walked the Disney Princess 5K last Feb…just got off the couch and did it, with my wonderful hubby doing it with me for support. The feeling of finishing that first race I will never forget. We joined a gym and started doing couch to 5k and signed up for the Tower of Terror 10-miler, following Galloway’s training plan. That was last month – I finished…in the last 200 people, and I couldn’t walk after, and I started sobbing the moment I crossed the finish line, but I finished. And I’m signed up to do the Princess Half Marathon in February, bringing me full circle to where it all began – I’ve lost 40 pounds so far, and my doctors are so very, very thrilled with me…and I’m thrilled with me. Even when it’s hard and I have to force myself to get on that treadmill. It’s not the finish that’s the victory, it’s having the courage to start! Keep going – you rock!

  • Joanna says:

    Yay! I “ran” a 5K once. (More like slowly jogged.) My fear was that I’d come in behind an 80-year-old man dragging an oxygen tank. That didn’t happen, but I did see a very pregnant woman with a toddler in a jogging stroller speed walk past me very early in the race, and my jog never did catch up to her again. But hey, an accomplishment is an accomplishment!

  • Mariel K says:

    Congratulations! I had the same goal a couple of years ago to run a 5K, and accomplished it in July 2010. I continued to run since it helped me relieve stress & I felt so good about myself afterward. However, I started experiencing tingling & numbness in one of my toes & was later diagnosed with Morton’s Neuroma, which is a pseudo tumor of the nerves. Apparently, 20+ years of wearing inexpensive, non-supportive shoes & flip flops had not been good for my feet. I’ve since had to hang up my running shoes, and start purchasing shoes that cost at least $70/pair!
    Thankfully, I also enjoy walking & hiking, and I’m saving for a bicycle. I do miss running though!

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