So on Saturday night I did it - I ran my first organized 5K race. My cousin and I did the Energizer Night Race, which was a really good race for a newbie. The vibe was super fun and running at night meant that there was no crazy heat or humidity to deal with.
I was really worried about my knee and about, well, running for 5K. I'd done it on the treadmill, but this was a whole different ballgame. And it wasn't easy. It was, in fact, pretty insane. I didn't end up running the whole thing - we did intervals, which helped a lot. I ran for the first 2K and then walked much of the third. This worked well, as that portion of the trail was very wet and muddy (it rained pretty much all day, then stopped in time for the run, thankfully). We ran on and off for the next 2K - my knee and my shoulder were both aching a bit, so I decided not to push too hard, but I was proud that I ran more than I walked.
In the end I finished in 40 minutes. Not what I'd hoped for, but not terrible for a first time. Especially a first time that was in the dark and involved dodging mud and puddles. Still, I loved it. Weirdly. I hated training, but there was something about actually running in a race that struck me as kind of awesome in the end. I'm glad I took the chance and tried something new.
And, as it happens, I'm doing it again. If you recall, I signed up for two 5Ks at the same time - so I have another already scheduled for October. I'm actually kind of excited, despite feeling a little nervous about having to keep up my training and how my knee will hold up. But, I'm feeling better about this now and I'm glad I didn't give up. Who knows, maybe they'll make a runner of me yet.