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5 Emotions I Experienced During My First 5K

people experiencing emotion as they run in a race

Starting a new exercise can be scary. Although I’ve run a lot of races, my first time running a 5K was one of the toughest ones. While I expected the race to be tough physically, I wasn’t prepared for all the emotions I would experience as well.

Here’s what emotions to expect during your first 5K.

Apprehension

Not because the distance was intimidating, but because I was aware of my inexperience — similar to how many first-time gym-goers might feel. When I approached the start line, I already envisioned myself crossing the finish line in last place. But as any coach will tell you, that’s one of the worst thoughts you can have before a big event.

Doubt

The race started and I quickly fell to the back of the pack, keeping my pace slow and steady. I feared that going too fast would leave me exhausted after the first half mile. As runners passed me, I felt defeated.

Regret

Even more, I felt achy and overheated — like a true rookie, I’d started the race without doing any stretches or warm-up. And I overdressed with long sleeves and leggings in 55-degree weather. Notes for next time, I told myself. If there ever was a next time!

Joy

By the second mile, the more experienced runners had passed me and I fell into a pack of runners who were running at a similar equal pace. Looking around, I realized they were all fighting the same fight I was, wondering why they ever signed up for a 5K they had no chance of winning.

And then it hit me — the great thing about running a 5K and competing in general is that everyone wins. Whether you come in second place or 60th, you finished and that’s something to celebrate. When I realized my goal was simply to prove to myself that I could finish, I found myself enjoying the run a lot more.

With only 0.1 miles left to go, the finish line was in sight and I couldn’t believe the race was almost over. I was looking forward to stopping, but at the same time I didn’t want the experience to end.

Pride

When I crossed the finish line, I felt prouder of myself than I had in a long time — and not because there were a fair number of runners behind me, either. I felt proud because I’d set an ambitious goal, overcome my fear and finished the race feeling capable.

I knew I had a long way to go before I’d ever be at the front of the pack, but with a little more practice and positive thinking, I already knew I could do better in my next race.

Have you finished a 5K? What did you feel during and after the race? Let us know by commenting below.

Mary Lambkin

Mary Lambkin

Mary Lambkin is a Nashville native, blogger, and healthy living enthusiast. She lives in East Nashville with her husband and loves running through downtown Music City and around Shelby Park. Mary has run nine marathons and is always looking for new recipes to fuel her exercise adventures. Learn more about her at www.minutespermile.com.

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Filed under: Mind & Body, Real Stories

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Mary Lambkin

Mary Lambkin is a Nashville native, blogger, and healthy living enthusiast. She lives in East Nashville with her husband and loves running through downtown Music City and around Shelby Park. Mary has run nine marathons and is always looking for new recipes to fuel her exercise adventures. Learn more about her at www.minutespermile.com.

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