Tag Archives: 5k

Is today a 5 mile day?

Is today a 5 mile day?

It’s a saying in our house. Is today your 5 mile day? It’s a reference to when I finally broke my 5k wall and I do mean wall. I’ve run on and off since university, running is actually how I kicked smoking – and yes I use to smoke. I can’t even fathom the idea but when I was in high school and university I smoked.

I first started running in my 3rd year; well, it was more a brisk walk/jog on the treadmill but I discovered I could memorize a large quantity of information if I did it while running. Running became my smoking gun to nailing my university exams and then I stopped once school finished. I’d pick up running on and off in a half-hearted effort throughout my 20’s but it was after my second child I really started to fall in love with running. For one, it seemed less intimidating than the weight machines and definitely way less intimidating than the free weight area. I’d watch the women in the free weight area, self-assured and confident in what they were doing and I think I actually shrank. The treadmill provided safety and confidence, slowly it translated to running outside as I became stronger and overtime I learned how to use the weight machines and the free weights.

I officially became a gym rat but I never could run past 5k. I ran 5k well – even fast, but at 4800m my mind and I thought body started to turn off. Anything past 5k just didn’t happen. I couldn’t breathe, I hurt … I’d possibly die or at least fall to the ground crawling like Paula Newby-Fraser for my imaginary finish line … but no matter what, I knew I could not run more than 5k. Then I took a hiatus from running and triathlon for my third child, when I returned to the gym it was hard. Like every woman post baby, my body had changed. This was my third c-section, my abdominal diastasis was even larger, I was severely anemic and with 3 kids 3 and under. Essentially I felt like I was back at the bottom of this immense mountain with an impossible climb to the top.

One day on the treadmill a friend joined me on the elliptical next me and we chatted while we did our cardio, I decided to run 5k that day. Today was my day, I hadn’t hit 5k since the birth of my daughter and I decided this was my moment but 40 minutes in I was only at 3.8km’s. I was so demoralized but my friend kept encouraging me and reminding me of my goal; the point wasn’t how long it took to run 5k but that I ran 5k. Just shy of an hour I hit the 5 mark on the treadmill, elated and frustrated all at the same time only to realize I just ran 5 MILES!! It turned out I didn’t die or disappear into a heap of goo, in fact I felt pretty good. After that I entered 10k races, I even placed in a few 10k races. It turns out the only thing holding me back …. was ME. My mind fixated on the distance to the point I crippled myself. Only when I tricked my mind did I discover what I truly was capable of.

It’s an incredible moment when you realize you are the only thing holding you back. Since that day when we are stuck or need to push, we ask each other is today your 5 mile day. The past two weeks I started honestly training for triathlon again; putting down base mileage and thoroughly enjoying myself. But last night’s run sucked. It was hard and again I just can’t seem to run past 5k, so I gave myself permission to suck – to be horrible and suddenly my run turned around. I turned the speed down on the treadmill, I gave myself permission to walk intervals and before I knew it I ran for 50 minutes and reached 5 miles.

It doesn’t matter how long I’ve done this, or how successful I’ve been in the past … I still need ask: is today a 5 mile day?