1 Mile to 6 Miles {My First 10k}

by Kelli H. on June 1, 2014

I know recapping a 10k is not really that exciting. It’s not like I’m going to recap every mile I ran, but I do want to write down my thoughts of running my first 10k.

Here’s my running story:

It starts and ends like most. I used to hate running. I dreaded Monday morning’s in 7th grade when we had to run the mile. I ran about 10 minute miles and I was always one of the slowest girls in the class. I was bright red by the time I was done and everyone would ask me “why are you so red?!”. I hated explaining to them that I was red because I had just ran a mile. What I didn’t understand was why they weren’t. My years spent in high school involved no running. I think we ran the mile a couple times between 9th and 10th grade, but again I never gave it much effort. I was ecstatic in 11th grade when we didn’t have to take PE anymore. I remember thinking “I’ll never have to run a mile again”.

Fast forward to 2010 when David started training for his first 10k. He’d ask me to go on runs with him, and I just laughed as if it were such a ridiculous idea. David completed his first 10k in May 2010 and then pretty much stopped running for a while. When we got Ryder in September 2011 he started running again with Ryder. We’d go on walks with Ryder and David would ask if I’d like to jog. I started to warm up to the idea a little, and I’d try to jog, but I’d always get a side ache. I remember my lungs burning, my heart pounding so hard I thought it would come out of my chest. David would push me along and try to make goals for us to run to, “Let’s just run to the end of Bethards”. I’d barely make it which was a little more than 1 mile from our house. I kept at it though, and almost every time David would ask to jog a little on our walks, I’d oblige reluctantly.

Ryder waiting for me during the race

I’d say it wasn’t until after we got engaged that I started jogging a bit more which was spring 2012. I’d take Ryder on some jogs around the block (1 mile) maybe once a week. I’d take Ryder for a 3 mile walk and I would start to push myself the way David had pushed me “Just run to the end of Bethards”. Not much jogging took place in the summer of 2012 as it was super hot and I’m not a fan of running in the heat. Once fall hit I really started to do a lot better. I was running pretty consistently outside. I remember it was close to the time change and David and I were going out on runs with Ryder and wearing head lights to combat the dark. That didn’t work so well and that’s when I decided to ask my parents if I could take the old treadmill that was sitting in their storage to my house. The treadmill was placed in our spare room. I started watching Netflix on the treadmill that winter and I’d walk for 5 minutes, run for 5 minutes, and repeat. By the end of the winter I was running up to 25-30 minutes without stopping. I couldn’t believe how great my lungs were feeling. Of course it was still hard to run, and I would sweat my ass off. My shirts would literally be soaked through, but I felt amazing.

Once the weather got better I started running outside again and was pretty proud of my progress. I really think the treadmill helped condition my lungs and my breathing. I still wasn’t running a whole 3 miles without stopping, but I remember feeling amazing when I’d run with David and now I was setting the goals. We were running much further, and it was so nice to be able to keep up with David. I never thought that David and I would be able to go on runs together.

When January 2014 hit I knew my goal for the year was to sign up for a 10k. I wanted to do the 10k that David had done in May 2010. So, I ran about 3 times a week 3 miles each time. Once I found out I wouldn’t be able to run the 10k David had completed due to his graduation day being on the same day, I found another race that was in the next town over and on the next weekend. That was it. I signed up, and I believe in March I set out for my first 6 mile run. I’d never ran 6 miles by myself before. I’m so glad I had Ryder with me to keep me company. I started running with headphones and listening to music. Can you believe that whole time leading up I never listened to music? I thought it’d be dangerous. I did that same 6 mile run about 4 or 5 times before race day.

The Friday before the race, my mom and I drove the course after work. I wanted to see what I was in for. Driving the course I was thinking “Holy crap! How am I going to run this whole course?”. It seemed like it took forever to drive the 6 miles.

Right after the finish line

Sunday morning my mom picked David, Ryder, and myself up. I had butterflies, and I had eaten 1/4 cup oatmeal for breakfast. I skipped my normal cup of coffee. I had my favorite running gear on, and I was feeling excited. Once we got there, I started to feel a little nervous, but I was also excited that I was actually going to be running with a bunch of other runners. There were people all around and my mom and David were both wishing they had signed up. I’ll admit that I had butterflies in my stomach while standing out in the street with the other runners waiting for the 10k to start. Before I knew it the 10 minute wait was over and everyone around me was running. Like everyone says, the first 5-10 minutes were a little slow because I was in a large crowd of people. I felt so happy though to be running the race. I remember seeing mile 1 and thinking, “I can totally do this!”.

The first stretch of the race was behind a subdivision that had some little hills but it wasn’t a problem since my 3 mile run I normally do has a pretty large hill at the end, so I wasn’t worried about it. I remembered my training and kept positive. I never once looked at my time as I didn’t care what my time was. My goal was to be under an hour and 5 minutes. People passed me and then I passed them. My main concern was to have a steady pace. I ran for probably 5 miles straight with beautiful views of vineyards before taking a quick 30 second to 1 minute walking break during a particularly sunny stretch on Old Redwood Hwy. I accepted water 3 times around the course which definitely helped. When I knew I was close to the finish line I sped up and I ran through the finish line. I saw the timer as I went through and it said 1:13 minutes. I was shocked.  It certainly didn’t feel like it took me that long to run it. I was greeted by my mom who gave me a high five and my two favorite boys. They told me that I needed to take 10 minutes off the timer because that was for the 1/2 marathoners that went 10 minutes before the 10kers. That meant my time was 1:03 minutes. I was soooooo happy! Not only did I run my first 10k/any race I’d ever ran alone, but I also did better than I expected. I’d really never felt so accomplished in my life.

My mom and I after the race

On the way back home I was beaming with pride. I’m fully aware that people ran double what I ran that day, and that there are runners out there that run 6 miles in their sleep, but I thought back to those 1 mile runs in PE in 7th grade, back to the 1 mile jogs around my block when I thought my heart would literally rip out of my chest, back to when I would get side aches on almost all of my runs, back to when I’d tell David, “I’m just NOT a runner and I’ll never be”! and I was so happy. I’d set a goal for myself, and while it took over a year to get there, I had made it. Six miles is a big deal for some people (I’m one of those people) and to some people six miles is nothing, but ya know what, I’m proud of those 6 miles. Running races doesn’t make you a runner. If I never ran a race again, I’d still consider myself a runner. Getting out there and hitting the pavement makes you a runner. Whether you jog 1/4 mile or 15, all you have to do is move your legs.

The race was two weeks ago today, and I haven’t ran once. I think I’ve been needing a break since the race, but I will be back out there this week, and I’ll be looking forward to it. Running is definitely a mental sport and it helps to have cheerleaders along the way. It always feels good to hear David tell our friends how much better I’ve gotten, or sharing running stories with my mom. I’ve been using RunKeeper since last August and it’s been fun to keep track of all my runs. I can say with certainty that I will be back next May doing the 10k again.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Made in Sonoma June 1, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Wow, awesome post! Makes me wanna run! Good job, babe!


Made in Sonoma June 1, 2014 at 7:03 pm

congrats! you should be proud of yourself and your running journey 🙂


Made in Sonoma June 1, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Awesome job lady! Next up Half Marathon?!? 😉


Made in Sonoma June 2, 2014 at 3:09 am

Congrats on the 10k and awesome time! Your story sounds so much like mine; I HATED running in school when we were forced to do it and I remember being so happy when we didn’t have to anymore. I’ve tried running so many times as an adult and always get a ridiculously red face too, and feel like my lungs are going to explode. I actually got into it last summer and ran a 5k in the fall which was a huge accomplishment for me even though I know other people run that in their sleep. I’m not sure if I’m going to do it again this year though because I still don’t actually enjoy it, but your post is inspiring!


Made in Sonoma June 2, 2014 at 5:12 am

I definitely think lots of people feel the same way as us. It’s great that you got out there and did it, even if just to prove to yourself that you COULD do it. If I didn’t actually enjoy running though, I totally wouldn’t do it either.


Made in Sonoma June 2, 2014 at 5:13 am

haha, maybe some day in my future but not any time soon. Of course, reading other bloggers stories like yours and Sonia and Kristine’s definitely has helped me.


Made in Sonoma June 2, 2014 at 5:07 pm

So happy for you! I am just like you- knee pain, side aches, heart feels like it’s going to burst. And that’s only after the first mile. The first time I ran 3 miles without stopping I felt invincible. I think something that should be motivating but gets me down a little is reading all the running blogs where they can run so many miles with speed and I wonder why I can’t do the same thing. I realize I need to remind myself that they started at square one too. You are motivating! 🙂


Made in Sonoma June 2, 2014 at 8:30 pm

Thanks for your sweet comment, Tara! I’ve definitely felt down on myself from reading other bloggers who run. Usually they inspire me but then when I see their tweets of how slow their run was and their average pace is 8 minute miles and like 10 miles, “I’m like whattttttttt…they must think I’m a slow poke!”, but like you said, you have to remember that we’re all at different stages. 🙂


Made in Sonoma June 4, 2014 at 10:51 pm

You did so awesome Kelly!! Running doesn’t come natural to me either. I really have to push myself. But all that matters is that we accomplish our own personal goals and you certainly did that. Congrats!!


Made in Sonoma June 5, 2014 at 3:52 am

Awesome job girl! Congrats! I can totally relate to this post. I love so many forms of exercise, and running is NOT one of them. I used to run because I hated it and wanted to challenge (or punish!) myself, but I always felt like it was so hard on my body. After I torn my calf running a few years ago, I decided that was my body telling me that running just wasn’t my thing, and I haven’t really incorporated running into my exercise regimen much since. On one hand, I would love to do a marathon just for the challenge of training and accomplishing it, but on the other hand, I don’t really like running! Haha.


Made in Sonoma June 5, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Yikes! Tearing your calf must have been so painful. I wouldn’t blame you for not running. I’m just going to challenge myself by continuing to run 10k’s. If I get better at them then maybe I’ll challenge myself to a 1/2 marathon some day. 🙂


Made in Sonoma June 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Thanks, Sarah! I loved reading your 10k recap back when you did it last fall! It definitely kept me motivated to keep up my training.


Made in Sonoma June 5, 2014 at 7:28 pm

Congrats on the 10k finish!! Running 6 miles is no joke. It’s great to reflect and see how you have improved over the last year.

I hated running when I was younger too. It just didn’t come naturally to me and hurt so much. It still hurts at times, but I like the challenge. Sometimes I have bad runs and question why I bother and then there are the runs where after I feel like I can conquer the world. Anyone can be a runner, no matter the distance they go.


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