Granted, I generally plodded along and had to walk up the hill that was present at mile 5. But I finished, with an official chip time of 1:07:28.
It's not fast, but I'm proud of that time. A 10K isn't super long, but I'm proud of the distance. Last summer, when I first started running, I didn't think there was any way I would make it to this point. After all, last summer, when I started the Couch-to-5K program, I could barely run for a minute at a time.
I've run a few 5Ks in the last year and thoroughly enjoyed them. Not once during a 5K did I ever think that it was hard. This weekend, when I hit mile 5, with 1.2 miles to go, and most of that uphill, I felt that it was hard, in a "I'm not going to finish, I need to stop and throw up on the side of the road" hard.
But I finished, I kept going, I didn't throw up. Maybe this sounds cheesy or silly, but the people lining the course, who called out words of encouragement and motivation, helped so much. Having people call out "Way to stay strong!" and "You've got this!" helped me continue to run when really I just wanted to stop.
During the last year of running, I've had moments where I've become very discouraged. I haven't lost any weight. I haven't become significantly faster; it's rare that I run a mile under 11 minutes, and only once have I done a sub 10 minute mile. My distance has been slow to improve. Last year, I thought for sure I would run a marathon some day. Now even a half marathon feels undoable.
I know that I shouldn't let things like that discourage me. The number on the scale shouldn't be important. The only one I should compare myself to is my old self. And I do feel healthier. I have more energy. I'm better at keeping up with my boys. My resting heart rate is now in the 50s. All signs that I have become healthier. But it would be nice to have more to show from all the 5 am runs.
Finished a 10K is the first thing in a while that has felt like real progress, even with my pace being right at that 11 minute mile. Even with the fact that I can't feel my legs today.
I'm not sure what the next step is from here. Another 10K, but try to improve my time? A half marathon? I haven't decided. The one thing I know is that I'll keep going. I'll keep waking up in the dark mornings to run on my treadmill. I'll keep bundling up both myself and Duck up and run with the jogging stroller.