5k, running

certified loser

One year ago I was preparing for my first 5K. I was freaking out over training runs that were slower than I wanted and freaking out from sheer anxiety about the whole thing, too. But eventually race day rolled around and I laced up and headed to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and busted my ass getting up and down those 3.1 miles of hills and after 47 minutes and 40 seconds I crossed that finish line.

Then the official times were published.

Out of 362 runners, I came in dead last.

I could have seen it as a sign. I could have said, well, looks like running isn’t for me. I could have felt bad, felt down, overanalyzed the race to see what I had done wrong.

I had come in last place. I had, for all intents and purposes, lost that race. I was a loser.

And you know what? I wore that label with pride.

Tattoo says “defy gravity” — from the musical Wicked

In completing that race I had done the impossible. Or, at the very least, I had done what had seemed impossible only a few months before. Because I may have been the last person to cross that finish line but I had crossed that finish line.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I’m lacing up and heading back to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to once again participate in the Running With a Mission 5K. That’s right, dear readers: this here runner is returning to the scene of the crime and I couldn’t be more excited. Seriously, my body is practically buzzing just waiting to line up at the start. I’m going to take on those stupid stupid hills (seriously: who the hell designed the zoo’s layout?!) and run my little heart out and once again cross that finish line with pride, regardless of where in the overall list I fall.

After all, my only real competition is myself.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

11 thoughts on “certified loser”

  1. You don't know how happy I am to learn that my pathetic 5k run/walk time is not that far off from your first race time! I was getting so discouraged about it I've wanted to just quit.


  2. Awww! It can be discouraging if you look at other people's times and paces. I don't know how people manage 8 minute miles, especially in 5ks or 10ks even full and half marathons! I can't even keep that up for ONE mile let alone 26 of them.

    I have yet to run a 5K under 40 minutes and after that first race, I've run in smaller ones where people finished in the 50+ minute range, so every race is different with a different group of runners. All you can do is the best that you are able 🙂


  3. I was worried about being dead last too for my first, and I wasn't far off, but I had a few walkers who came in just after me. I decided not to let it bother me, like you're doing, and used it to push myself. I'm not sure what my time would be now, I'd like to do some 5ks in the late summer. I haven't done 3.1 in a long, long time. I'm sure this next one will be better!


  4. Yay! That race sounds so fun- I hope I'm in the CLE for it someday so I can run it. But I agree about who planned out that zoo- those hills are killer!


  5. Sooooo how did it go?!?

    I saw you commented that you've seen people finish in 50+ minutes. Honestly, I've seen people finish in over an hour! So that particular race is certainly not representative of how all (most?) 5ks turn out! My first 5k was the Cleveland Marathon 5k, and it took me 51:09 to finish it. This year I tried again, and finished in 47:56. Slow progress, but it's progress!

    Anyway, I think it's super impressive that you're tackling it again when there's so many hills. Hills are evil! I mean, I know they're good for you and all, but yikes. Anyway, I hope it went well!


  6. Yes, use it as motivation to push yourself! Really, that's the best advice for any runner after a race. Regardless of time and place you can always use it to improve yourself 🙂

    I hope you sign up for a 5K for later this summer!


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