Category Archives: 5k

All or Nothing

Does anybody else immediately think of O-Town when you hear the phrase “All or Nothing”?

'Cuz I want it all, or nothing at all...

Oh please please tell me why those see-through tank tops were ever considered an acceptable “fashion” choice for men in boy bands.

As much as I love to reminisce about the good old days of NSYNC vs. BSB, Hanson, and 98*, I’m talking about the “All or Nothing” mentality when it comes to running (any any exercise for that matter).

One of my friends from college sent me this article today –

4 Stunning Revelations An Idiot Has About Running

The article is written in a humorous way, but it definitely struck quite a few familiar chords. By outward appearance alone, I would have never put myself in the “out of shape” category, but the fact that I used to get winded climbing the 2 flights of stairs to my finance class tell me otherwise.
Like the man in the article, I also thought being a “runner” was an all or nothing thing. You either ran 50 miles a week, signed up for multiple marathons at a time and ate plain chicken for every meal, or you weren’t a runner.
When I ran my first 5k in November 2009 I had never in my life run an entire mile without stopping. I was the asthmatic kid with an inhaler in every backpack/purse/medicine cabinet of everyone we knew. I think I attempted 2 runs before that 5k and ran maybe 4 straight minutes before I started panting and thinking I was having a heart attack.
That first 5k took me 36 painful minutes to complete. I remember it was obnoxiously hot for November and someone had barfed at the finish line and I had to hold back my desire to throw up as well. J and I ended up going to San Francisco the next day and if I sat down for more than 3 minutes it took me 16 minutes of stretching and small movements to be able to walk again:
That’s my “If-you-make-me-sit-back-down-I’m-not-going-to-be-able-to-get-up” face.
If someone had told me that weekend that in 2 years I would have completed a few more 5ks, knocked down my time by over 8 minutes and would be running 10 additional miles in a race I would have laughed in their face.
But here I am. I’m not the fastest, but 2011 Danica is a heck of a lot faster, stronger and having way more fun being active and healthy than 2009 Danica. My point is, like the article says, running and fitness are not All or Nothing activities. a 36 minute 5k now would make me want to punch kittens, but the fact that I got out and did it 2 years ago is great! No way was I going to be able to run a 28 minute 5k back then when I could barely run to the end of my street. It’s all about taking those little steps forward (no pun intended) and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone. I also think it’s very important to celebrate our small victories. I’m getting really nervous with the half coming up next Sunday (ahhhh!!) but I’m realizing now that I really shouldn’t be nervous because, like my first 5k, this is a no pressure race. I have no previous times to compare it to and I’ve never run 13.1 miles before. Finishing the race will be a total victory for me. And after this first one, then I can begin to focus on chipping away at those minutes in my next half marathon.
What was your first big running/fitness accomplishment? Or any big accomplishment you feel like sharing – we all deserve to brag a little 🙂


Filed under 5k, Half Marathons, Running

Turkey Dash PR!

Happy Thanksgiving!! This morning my dad, brother and I ran the Annual Conejo Valley Turkey Dash. The motto is “Fitness Before the Feast” but I think the only thing I burned off was half the helping of stuffing I plan to eat tonight. Then there will be about 5,900 calories of turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pie (my Mom’s homemade pumpkin with home grown pumpkins).

We woke up bright and early to make the 20-minute drive to the race. My mom took these great pictures:

So tired/squinty/shiny

I was convinced my bib number was somehow a lucky number for the race:

My goal was to beat my previous 5k PR of 30:59 and run this 5k in under 30 minutes. I was hoping my PR playlist would help motivate me and pull me through so I could cross the finish line with a 29 on the clock.

The weather was perfect – cool and cloudy. We did a quick warm-up run at 8:10 then got in the line for the 8:30 start. 8:30 came and went and I was getting SO antsy for the race to start. Then some lady decided to push her way through and stand right between my Dad and I. That didn’t bug me too much until I starting smelling her – and intoxicating mix of Icy Hot and sunscreen. I cannot handle strong smells in such close proximity so the ten extra minutes it took for the race to start were aggravating. Finally, the gun went off at 8:40 and we took off.

I hit the 1 mile mark at 9:15 and felt pretty good. The 2nd mile had more uphill and I hit the 2 milk mark at 18:40 (my brother was done before I hit 2 miles with a time of 16:54, and he was taking it easy after not running for 2 weeks). I kept trucking along and I could feel the tinge of a side ache coming on, but I just kept breathing through it. I hit the 3-mile marker at 25 minutes and that’s when I know there was no way they set up the mile markers correctly because I did not run a sub-7 minute mile. Also, I could see the curve before the finish line and it was way more than .1 miles away. I started freaking out not knowing how far I really still had to go. I saw my brother on the sidelines right around 26 minutes and I figured I could make it under 30 if I kicked it hard so I gave him a thumbs up and started really pushing. I have no idea how many people I passed before the finish but I sprinted as soon as “Mr Brightside” started playing. When I crossed the mats at the finish the clock said 28:50, then I hit stop on my watch and saw it said 28:24. Um what? THEN, after waiting around for a bit they started posting the time sheets. My dad PR’d with a 26:08! Then I looked at my chip time:

Official Chip Time – 28:16

Holy-freaking-PR! I beat my previous time by 2:43! Way better than I thought I’d do. I went from a 9:52 pace on 4th of July to a 9:05 pace today. And I felt GREAT! If I hadn’t had that side cramp creeping up on me I think I could have broken a 9-minute pace. I can’t wait to kick butt on another 5k soon. I’ll be shooting for a sub-28 minute race.

I also feel a lot more confident about the half marathon coming up. I know 13.1 miles is way more than 3.1, but if I take it easy at the beginning I am really confident I can run it in close to 2:20. Anything under 2:30 and I’ll be super happy.

After the race, we hit up a gourmet breakfast restaurant where I pretended to be a professional still-life photographer.

So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to say that today I am thankful for my amazing parents that let me live at home rent-free so I don’t have to be poor, my hilarious siblings that always make me laugh, my wonderful boyfriend who is so sweet to me and put up with my 18 “I’M SO HAPPY I PRed!!!!” texts today, his great family that let’s me come over to drink their peach champagne and eat all the chocolate sprinkles in the house, my awesome friends that don’t mind my grandma habits of leaving them to go to sleep at 9:30 before runs, my dingo dog Heidi that drives me nuts but is so loving, and PRs. I am thankful for my PR today because it means I am spending my last day of being 24 in a very good mood instead of moping around and looking on for a late in the day Turkey Trot to redeem myself.

Did you run a Turkey Trot today?

What are you most thankful for?


Filed under 5k, Goals, Halloween, Running