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What I Learned by Running a 5K every month: Becoming a ‘blue shirt’, Being my own BAE, & Loving on Japan

Written By: Jsol - Mar• 06•16

The long awaited post. This is probably the one I have been trying to get to since Dec. 2015. I apologize, I was having trouble with “the cloud” eating my photos before I could snatch them back! Now that it’s fixed, back to blogging! I am a visual person and for that reason, I couldn’t post anything if it didn’t have any pictures to what I was referencing! 😉

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Running with the trail flooded but it made for a good photo op!

With all of my posts, we start with the backstory. Since I moved to North Carolina, I noticed all of the amazing lakes and parks in the area. At the time, my job was very stressful, I stopped working out, I was gaining weight, I drank a lot of wine, I didn’t have a gym yet, and walking in nature sounded like a great start! I would start by walking half way around the lake, snap my gorgeous North Carolina pictures, and then walk back. Next step was to walk around the entire lake, no turning around, no quitting and calling an uber, and no thoughts of trying to swim or canoe across the lake to finish either! We did it, by we, I mean me and my iPhone camera!
Honestly what came next was due to my impatience! Each time I would walk a new lake, I began to think that these walks were taking up way too much time out of my day. I need to get this workout over and done with, so I started light jogging the tail end. A jog turned into a walk/jog, walk/jog/walk, a full jog, and a don’t-ever-stop run and then a run-better-than-the-last run!

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Running on my travels helped to change up the scenery.

To prevent from getting bored on my weekend jogs and slowly beginning to take nature for granted, I figured let’s sign up for a 5K. I think that’s the same length as the lake, right? Of course all I really cared about were the colors, the lights, free stuff, and a groupon to go with. It was then that I mastered the Electric Run 5K without stopping. How fun and doable was that and it felt so good to finish, what other 5Ks are out there that I could do? Then came the lovely site, www.runningintheusa.com. I mapped out which runs I wanted to do, what day would I have to register to get the cheapest entrance fee, and where will I be at the time (I traveled every once in awhile.) That year, I ran a 5K in Hawaii, California, and different cities of North Carolina.

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My brother and I at our first 5K relay race in Hawaii. SO. MUCH. FUN.

Thoughts and Memories:
1. This is tough. I hate getting up super early for these runs. I LOVE to sleep-in on weekends. Do we really want to sacrifice 1 weekend every month?

2. You don’t need to beat yourself up because you didn’t pass the 60 yr. old lady, she probably was in track or something in high school.

3. I just need to keep up with this guy the entire time. Do you think he can hear my breathing and that I sound like a dying dragon?

4. This is getting pricey. I don’t really want to spend $30–60 every month. Next year, let’s do one every quarter! (Just did March :))

5.. Wow! I thought I was a runner, these people are super fast. I need to get on their level….. oh wait, yeah I am not on their level yet, let me just slow down before I pass out.

6. I have a 5K next week, should I run today? No, I just washed my hair yesterday OR Yes, today you need to run because you’re going to wash your hair tonight!

7. Let’s get under a 30 min. 5K! We can do this. Dang. 30:01. WHY didn’t I just sprint a little harder the last 10 steps? #everysecondcounts

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North Carolina lakes at its finest!

8. That playlist made me run! GO Bey. #QueenBee

9. Does my shirt keep riding up? I don’t know. Focus on the race, but really though, is my stomach showing? Next race, I should invest in clothes I don’t need to worry about when running.

10. I’ll never forget when my brother and I showed up and we found out it was a 5K relay race with 3 other people we didn’t know from Japan! That was an unforgettable experience! They are so motivating, competitive, and have the most amazing positive energy! We crossed the finish line together, so in love with the Japanese! 🙂

11. Ok, blue shirt, pass the blue shirt. Done. Ok, red shirt, pass the red shirt. Done. Oh wait, blue shirt passed me. Ok, blue shirt, pass the blue shirt.

12. Oh, you get medals for these things? Shoot! I don’t even care if it’s a participation medal, selfie with my medal!

13. I don’t think I can do this hill. Focus. Don’t let your mind think you’re tired we haven’t even reached the hill yet. Ok, we are on the hill, baby steps, ahh this hill, I can’t, I am dying, is it over yet.

14. Shoot. I got 4th. I could of got a medal in my age group. Even if it’s a small race with a handful of people and a small age group of 25–30. Hey, if I place, I am telling people! #goingplaces

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Pictures of my races with friends, new friends, and family!

15. Cramp. I don’t think I can go on. Hurting. I am sweating every drop in my body. Can’t. go. on. PUSH. (Please don’t injure yourself from this post).

16. Yay! My brother joined me. Two of my girlfriends want to go on the next run. Finally, some company. I am no longer doing the “I ran a 5K today, here’s my medal and bib, go me!” selfie, once again.

17. I have to run today, I have a 5K in a week. Just do two miles, nothing crazy, not fast, not timed, just run.

18. Another t-shirt. I am collecting over here. (I later found a person who wanted all my t-shirts and so that’s where every t-shirt went!).

19. 5K in two weeks. I need to run. Ok, it’s just the length of a “How to Get away with Murder” episode, just do it really quick and you’ll be back. 10 more minutes. Ok, that’s how long I wait outside for my friend when I pick her up. 2 more minutes. Ok, that’s how long it takes me to put mascara on. I can do this.

20. Oh, another hill. Just don’t stop. You can stop once you get to the top of the hill. Oh how nice it will feel once we get to the top and get to cruise downhill and walk, totes can’t wait for cruising! (I never stopped after I hit the top of the hill, by the time I got there I always figured why stop on the cruising part, gravity is assisting me on this one and I will take it).

21. DONE SON! about a 9 min. mile, about a 28 min 5K, NBDubs.

22. Oooh I need to beat that girl. She may be in my age group! Am I sprinting? What is this? What’s come over me? What’s a sprint and who does that?

23. Someone went up to me and said they were trying to keep up with me and pass me throughout the race. Dirt off my shoulder, I am now the “blue shirt” YEAH!

24. Homestretch. You can’t quit now. You just need to finish the year. You’ve done so many consecutive months already! You can’t post “I did a 5K every month for about 8 months off and on or so”, look at me being a boss, or nah?

25. I can’t believe you just did that. You run like a fit person, whaaa? Does this make me an official runner now?

26. Every race was hard. It got easier, but it was always a new challenge.

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Friends, that is 12 months of 5Ks! #boss

Bonus Benefits and Revelations:
1. Eating healthy. After running, all I could think about is how to not ruin a good run and a good feeling. A salad or a smoothie sounds about perfect right now. A burger does too, but I feel so sluggish afterwards. Today my goal is to eat some vegetable or veggie-like thing a day and I always get to splurge on dessert! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good burger!

2. Consistently Active. Since then, I have not stopped sneaking in a run here and there throughout my week and have now expanded my workouts to yoga, boxing, and outdoor activities like paddle boarding to keep me moving. Today my goal is to break a sweat once a day and by sweat I mean the, you-have-to-shower-after, kind of sweat.

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Staying Active!

3. Too much free stuff. Collection of medals, bibs, safety pins, water bottles, tshirts, socks, bags, stickers, color powder? Hey, you never know when you may need to throw color powder at your attacker.

4. You’ve become an inspiration! You inspire others whether on social media or during the run. People want to know how you do it and run to you first to share their running successes!

5. It really does take years and consistency to see the fruits of your labor and that can apply to almost anything, work, business, losing weight, learning a new skill. Successful people make it look easy at the top, but at the bottom and during, they’re griping about every practice and every hill I ever complained about, but still pushed through it anyway.

6. My clothes look good. I am happier. More confident. I hated my arms ever since middle school. I LOVE them today. I mean I loved myself before, but DANG, I really LOVE myself more today. #bae

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