Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ashley's First 5k!

Sometime in October (maybe after Luke's 1/2 marathon), I got the motivation to begin running. I have never, ever been a runner. In fact, prior to starting this program, the longest I had ever run was the mile in gym class. With my short legs and less-than-stellar aerobic endurance, I just never found it that enjoyable. In fact, I found it TORTUROUS! (what the heck is a runner's high, anyway?)

Well, I found online a plan called the "Couch to 5k" running plan. It is on the Cool Runnings website. Anyway, it takes you week by week, starting very slow and working your way up to a 5k. Luke promised he would do it with me and encourage me, so I decided to give it a try. The first week had me alternating 1 minute of running with 90 seconds of walking. I remember crying during this phase because I didn't think I could get through it. 

As the weeks went on, we continued the plan (even in the cold winter weather). We would bundle up and head out for a jog each night, and each night presented a new set of challenges. I would either cry, get mad at Luke, or nearly die of exhaustion. 

We registered for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis in Indy. I had done this 2 other times in college (walking of course) because arthritis is AOII's philanthropy. This time, I was going to RUN it! 

The longest run, prior to the 5k, that we had been able to do was about a 20 minute run. I knew that I hadn't actually run 3.1 miles yet in one session, but I decided to go through with the 5k anyway. 

I was so nervous on race day, but Luke calmed me down and promised to stay at my pace the whole time. I turned on my iPod and listened to Britney Spears as I told myself, "just get to the next corner...just get to the next sign...just get to the next stoplight..." I refused to stop running, even to tie my shoe or adjust my iPod arm band. I just wanted to keep moving. Luke would tell me every now and then, "Babe! You made it to the next mile marker! You're almost there!"

Rounding the corner toward the finish, which was on IUPUI's outdoor track, was an exhilarating feeling. When we got on the track and close to the finish, I had this energy that I didn't think I would have. It was an amazing feeling to FINISH and know that I did it all and never quit. My time was a little less than 37 minutes, which definitely won't qualify me for the Olympics :-), but I don't care. I am very proud of what I accomplished that day (and in the cold weather, no less)!

Putting my game face on before the race!

Don't mind how horrible I look....I was just happy to finish!
We finished the race, rested up, and prepared to host about 50 people at our house for our first Christmas party. People dressed up in Christmas attire (complete with Allison and Chris as Jesus & Mary with a plastic baby Jesus), we had Christmas music, food, beer, and games in the garage. My girlfriends and I did a gift exchange, and everyone had a great time. It is so fun to have people in your home, especially around the holidays. It was great to see how our high school friends, college friends, med school friends, and our "adult life" friends would mesh together. Everyone got along great, and the party finally closed down around 3 a.m.! The clean up process wasn't fun, but that is what you get when you throw a party!

Luke and some of his old roommates at the party!

Abel & Elizabeth

Elizabeth and myself dressed as Santa bags (we were soooo excited to get these at Bed Bath and Beyond for $5!)

The girls after our exchange

Luke's med school friends

Taylor, Clay, and Luke

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