Home / Uncategorized / The Idiot’s Guide To Not Royally Sucking: Kicking My First 5K’s Ass!

The Idiot’s Guide To Not Royally Sucking: Kicking My First 5K’s Ass!

You Can Do It, Woman!!!” Someone screamed from their balcony.

Yes I Can!” I yelled back as I rounded the corner, face bright red, gasping for air, looking like I was going to keel over, listening to Bach Cello Suit 1 to mentally calm my heart rate.

My first 5K was happening, and the finish line was 30 seconds away. Would I make it?

I SUCK AT THIS

There are some things in life we simply stated, suck at. Some of us suck at learning a foreign language, some of us suck at quoting movies, some of us suck at French kissing, and the list goes on.

Me, I’ve never been much of a runner. Back when I was an awkward middle school girl with festively colored braces I found out running was not my strong suite. My dream of running marathons around the globe all came crashing down in gym class when a friend pointed out laughing hysterically that my one leg flings far out to the right at every stride, making me look, well, like an idiot!  AS SEEN HERE…

I'm a Sexy Runner! SEE!

Well guess what? After 22 years of running like some sort of demented wild monkey, amusing all those stuck running behind me, kicking all those running beside me, and dry-heaving after 5 minutes, I have finally corrected my stride and I just ran my first 5K this weekend!

And I have to say, it was one of the coolest experiences of my life.

GOING FROM SUCKING TO JUST GOOD ENOUGH

Running this 5K taught me a lot about taming the perfectionist in me. I realized that I don’t have to be the perfect runner or athlete. I don’t have to be like that beautiful man with nice pecks running with bare feet that lapped me 5 minutes into the run! All we have to be is good enough for us – to try our best. And then, once we hit one milestone, we reach a little higher, and then a little more higher, and just keep going with this.

IT’S KIND OF LIKE… trying to learn a new foreign language. Do you try to learn every word and grammar rule at once? No! Not unless you’re an Irish Polygot of course! You lay down the foundation first. You learn 100 words and how to use the present and past tense. Then, as time goes on, you dive in deeper with crazy tenses that don’t exist in English like the Spanish imperfecto and subjuntivo. ( It technically could still be happening so its subjunctive…wtf – I still have trouble with these! aye yai yai)

THE COMRADERY

The other great thing about my first 5K experience was just the feeling of  “We ALL can do this.” Each person in that race was running for their own reason, be it to test themselves physically or mentally, to prove to themselves they could complete a challenge, to try something new, to feel like they could win, to change their state of mind.

But it didn’t matter what our personal reasons were for running it. All that mattered was that we were in it together, and we were all going to cross that finish line. You could feel the energy, the motivation, the focus and drive in the air.

IT’S KIND OF LIKE…going to a coffee shop to work on something your passionate about, and everyone sitting around you is working just as hard on whatever it is they are passionate about. There’s something about everyone else being there with you that lets you stay form daylight to daybreak and well past that. Suddenly, it’s 10 o’clock PM, the place is about to close in 30 minutes, and everyone is still there chugging along to get what their so focused on doing done. And they do. And so do you.  And you all walk out of there knowing you crossed that finish line, and you were in it together till the end.

That’s what the 5K was like. We were all just working hard to achieve a goal, and we all crossed that finish line knowing we worked our asses off to make it happen. We deserved that feeling of achievement.

CROSSING YOUR FINISH LINE

It’s not about whether you suck or not. It’s about trying and learning and experiencing. I ran that 5K because I wanted experience that feeling of wanting to give up and then not letting myself do it.

And hey, other than accidentally throwing my 1/2 full cup of water on the volunteer holding the trash, everything went GREAT!

Even you bad kissers out there can learn how to tame that uncontrollable tongue! At least harness the power of that thing, and go learn to roll your “r”s when you speak Spanish and control your spitting when you speak French!

The truth is, and I know this is going to sound cliché, but I’m a sucker for corny lines so I don’t even care… You can do anything, and I mean anything, you put your mind to.

So, my question for you today is, what thing that you thought you sucked at yesterday, are you going to start kicking ass on today?

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About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives.

Share with me what you're getting into that matters to you. It could be stepping into entrepreneurial pursuits, embarking on a journey of the self, making a crazy life change, or even if you're totally stuck. I want to connect with, support, collaborate with, and learn from as many people as possible through this blog (that means you!) Click the *Share* link in the main menu and let's connect by filling out the form.

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  • Congrats on finishing your first 5k! It’s only begun. You’re gonna be addicted soon. Just watch!

    p.s. thanks for the indirectly complimentary anchor text 🙂

    • Thanks Joel! Yup I’m running my second 5K in 2 WEEKS! This time… No Walking at Mile 2!
      Oh…and I thought you’d like that – I was going to link the entire sentence but I thought that might be a little too much haha 😉

  • Congrats Lauren! That’s so awesome. A 5K is no small feat, and it’s great how you all created this energy which pulled you towards that finish line. Again, congrats!

    Something that I think I suck at (albeit minor) is baking. I can cook decently well (at least I think) but for some reason I just can’t get the knack of baking down. Maybe it’s cause I don’t like to follow directions and like to stray from the norm. But today, I will bake that make that batch of scones and will not mess them up.

    • Hey Pete!
      Thank you so much! I must say, I am really proud of myself for this. I’ve been wanting to run a 5K for years now to be honest with you. Next up is a Mud Run, and then I want to do some Triathlons and one day – the NYC Marathon. I HAVE to run over the Varazono Bridge!

      And as for the baking, haha you crack me up. It seems like baking is like anti-chef for path-less-traveled type people. WE love to stray from the norm, try new things, experiement, etc. But with baking, the rules are so strict! The timing must be just right. Too much or too little of one thing can destroy it! So, I don’t quite blame you for sucking haha. Keep up the hard work! And send me some cookies when you’re done 😛

    • Pete,

      We must have been separated at birth.

      I love to be in the kitchen, but I HATE following directions exactly. I always improvise, sometimes with disastrous effects.

      My first cake was made in high school. The outside of the cake kept getting READY (baked), but the inside stayed as wet as a sponge.

      I had to keep breaking the baking cake up into smaller pieces, so the soggy middle could cook… even while I scraped the now crusty outside.

      My family refused to eat it.

      My buddies, who came over the next day, refused to eat it.
      Except for one guy.
      Who wolfed a third of the entire cake down.

      He stayed home the rest of the weekend with diarrhea. 🙁

      (Lauren, can I send cookies over, too?) *hopeful*

  • That’s amazing! Congrats! I suck at running… but it’s one of those things i”m going to let other people be good at and I’m content just watching on the sideline 🙂

    One thing I suck (and will hopefully stop sucking at soon) is swimming. But I want to learn to scuba dive soooo bad, so I have this master plan to get better at it (enough to tread water for 10 mins and swim without sinking for 200 m — the requirement). Wish me luck!

    • Hey Jill!!

      Haha YOU CAN DO IT!!!! You know I was never a very good swimmer either. I had to take swimming lessons until like 5th grade. I was deathly afraid of the water when I was a kid and would NEVER EVER let go of the side of the pool. Deep End? Forget about it!!! haha. Now I love swimming! I still suck at it though haha. I think it may have something to do with that right leg of mine… fixed my running stride but not sure about the swimmer’s kick haha.

      ANYWAY, watching from the sidelines is just as well when it comes to running…it was the people cheering me on to keep going that gave me that extra boost I really needed. I am so thankful!!!

      Send me some pics when you go scuba diving! It’ll be a great reward! Before you know it you’ll be treading water for an hour! 😛
      – Laur

  • Lauren!
    A. Congratulations.

    B. The concept of collaboration v. competition absolutely thrills me. It just goes to show that there is so much more to our passions than making sure someone else doesn’t succeed. Currently I am known as the writing friend in my social circle. When someone else says they want to write I encourage it as much as possible. I want to see them succeed, not destroy them and stand on their corpse.

    We should all be helping each other climb the mountain, not cutting the rope from behind us.

    • Hey Dan!
      Thanks ma man! And I couldn’t agree with you more! I’m know as the travel addict in my circle. If someone is thinking about taking that leap of faith to the other side of the world, I’m the one they go to for the PUSH. Really, my whole live I’ve been a pusher. As DeNiro said in A Bronx Tale, “There’s nothing worse in life than wasted talent.” If someone isn’t doing their best, I have to do what I can to help them do it!!!

      If I ever need help climbing up a mountain Dan, I’ll give you a call for a hand and you do the same for me! 🙂
      – Laur

      • As my dad says “Potential is a French word for ‘You ain’t done shit.'”
        I love that Philosophy because I think many people excuse themselves by claiming they have untapped potential. So my edit on my dad’s phrase is this: Potential is like a keg: Why aren’t you tapping it?

        Let’s get to the top then, shall we?

        • HAHAH BOTH OF THOSE QUOTES ARE AWESOME! leave it to the beer guy to translate that quote into something that relates to a keg tap hehe.
          You are a badass awesome dude Dan.

        • Heh, I like how your old man thinks.

  • Congrats on your first completed 5k run Lauren ; )

    Writing is something I would like to do well. All that will take is practice… Lot’s of it. As I blog more and participate in the blogosphere, I believe I will get better. Practice makes perfect : )

    I’m looking forward to reading about your first triathlon Lauren — keep pushing yourself!

    Cheers to you.

    • Thanks Mark!!!!

      I am the same I want to keep getting better at writing 🙂 THere are so many ways to be creative and to write better, more compelling, more useful posts. I wish I could take everything in at once!

      Triathlon, here I come!!
      – Lauren 🙂

  • Fun article Ms. Rains. If you wore that outfit at the beginning of the post and drank more caipirnhas, you probably could have shaved off a few minutes on your run time. I sure there is scientific data available on the Internet to prove that.
    I’m stopping by because Mark Harai tweeted your post 🙂

    • Hey Mike!!!
      haha I knew I forgot to do something! The caipirinas are an essential ingredient to a successful long distance run.
      And Mark Harai is awesome in many many many ways! 🙂
      – Lauren

    • Cheers Mike!

      If you looked up the word genuine in the dictionary, you would see a picture of Lauren : )

      I can hang with genuine folks like you two… Cheers to both of you!

      • haha awe shucks, thanks for the kind words, Mark 🙂
        Hey wait – your pic is next to mine! hehe 😛

  • Congrats on your first 5k! I always tell myself when I’m running “you can do anything for ___ miles.” A runner at heart, I was injured a few years ago and now find myself ‘sucking’ at running. First long race (1/2 marathon) next month since the injury….all I want to do is finish!

    • Hey Jessica!
      YOU CAN DO IT!!! I can’t wait to hear about it when you do! That’s a tough thing to identify yourself as something and then suddenly you can’t do it, and what’s more – when you do you suddenly “suck” at it. Good for you to pull through and overcome the injury and get back to your good ole’ running self! You Will Finish!
      And I love your quote, ‘you can do anything for ___ miles” – I’m going to keep that in mind when I run my next 5K in 2 weeks 🙂

  • Kim

    Congrats! I ran my first 8K about five years ago and since then I’ve run probably a dozen half marathons and four marathons… you have only just begun! I loved your descriptions, including the hilarious leg-kick picture. Cracked me up!

    • Hey Kim!!!

      Wow you are a running machine!!! That is awesome 🙂 I hope to be up to your level in due time. I really want to run marathons all over the globe and use their destinations as almost a way to inspire certain places to go! What a cool way to see a city, ya know? I have a friend that ran the marathon in Rio and when he told me all about it I knew I had to do it too.

      Thank goodness I cured my leg-kick!! Seriously, sometimes I still go to the gym and have to keep an eye on it on the treadmill in the full length mirrors haha!

  • I’m not a runner either and I actually couldn’t muster the strength to “run it in” at the finish of my marathon. (Not that there were many people left to cheer me to the end-I was fourth from the last to finish) But I have since run the Krispy Kreme Challenge and running that into the finish was pretty awesome!

    • Hey Jessica!!!

      Wow but you still did a Marathon!!! That is amazing! That is on my list and I will do it! But damn I need to do a 1/2 first haha.
      Good luck at the Krispy Kreme Challenge! YOU CAN DO IT!!! And even if you can only run the last 3 strides, go for it!! 🙂 Knock that urn out of the park! 🙂

    • Hey Jessica –

      Where do you live? Here in Raleigh, North Carolina, we have a Krispy Kreme challenge on NC State University’s campus. Run 2 miles, eat a dozen doughnuts, run 2 miles back. Try not to throw up. or do. But finish the race. 🙂

      Each year I plan to do it, then chicken out. LOL!

      • I’m in Raleigh-I did the Krispy Kreme this year. It was cold and rainy and I only ate 6 doughnuts but I finished and it was a blast. You should totally to it next year!

  • Jossie

    I would have never known it was your 1st 5k if you hadn’t mentioned it before. You did amazing, Lauren! I’ll see you at the next 5k and I’m with you, I’m not planning on walking this time 🙂

    • Hey Jossie!
      Thanks so much woman!! It was an awesome day and I’m so glad I had you and Chelan there to pump me up and keep me motivated!!! 🙂
      Next 5k we’re beatin our times! 😀

  • Very well done. When’s the next race?!

    • Hey Faraz!!!
      TWO WEEKS BABY!!! No walking this time!!! 🙂

  • Hey Lauren!

    Congratulations! Wow. I’ve always wanted to complete a race or a marathon but considering my lack of stamina, I’ve never managed to do so. Hmm. This might just go on my bucket list. 🙂

    The things I suck at and I wished I could do are probably sewing and cooking. My grandma and aunt are kick-ass domestic goddesses when it comes to those two so I kind of wish I had some of their skills. Another motivating factor is that Tariq is an awesome cook so I feel a bit of competitiveness fire up whenever he tries a new dish. Hahaha. Might have to start practising from now on then.

    Good luck with all your other future races Lauren! We’re sure you’re gonna keep doing better as time goes by!

    Shaheera

    ps: I love baking and actually you can somewhat mess up your measurements as long as you know just how to balance it with something else. Works for me. 🙂

    • Hey T & s!!!

      Haha you can do it!!! My stamina is terrible. I SUCK at that too! Seriously I was not created to come onto this world and be a runner hehe. BUt, I want to be one so I will be the best runner I can be… even if I’m gasping for air while I’m doing it lol.

      I think I will add baking to my bucket list now that you mention it – have an physically unhealthy but mentally healthy obsession with chocolate mousse cake and key lime pie haha. Oh I also love cheese cake, and brownies, and chocolate chip cookies…yea its obvious…i have a sweet tooth! haha

      Here’s to both you and I getting better at the things we suck at!
      – Laur 🙂

  • Jez

    Awesome job on the run! I got into trail running last year and haven’t been able to stop! I don’t like running by myself that much, but absolutely love running with other people in races. The atmostsphere is incredible, and you alyways push yourself that bit harder.
    What drives me is the sense of achievement you get when you finish, for pushing yourself that little bit harder, faster, longer then you normally would.
    Keep up the running! You can do it!
    Try looking into these as well: http://www.spartanrace.com/
    Adventure races like these are always awesome fun and push you more than normal!
    Jez

    • Hey Jez!!

      I KNOW! It was the atmosphere that i loved so so much! The people cheering, everyone else around you working hard to finish that race. It was so motivating! And experiencing it for the first time was wonderful.
      Oh and the Adventure Races – I Want to get into those so bad! I’m doing a Mud RUn in 2 months! So pumped! Thanks for the link resource I really appreciate it! 🙂
      – Lauren

  • What a kick-ass picture “Fitness” picture Lauren, especially the VHS tag 🙂

    Congrats to getting your 5k, that’s quite an accomplishment. What I sucked at yesterday? Well, yesterday is the last year for me, and I sucked at CODING – BIG time. But I jumped into the html and css mess and taught myself how to swim.
    Now it’s time to level up 😉

    • Hey Mars!!!!

      haha yea Ithought you guys would like my “fitness” pic. Sexy right? hehe. Yea the guys definitely weren’t checking me out on the beach that day haha.

      And as for CODING – I KNOW exactly what you’re talking about! I do a lot of web design but I a more about the visual. THe bakend coding is really hard for me. I SUCK at it! But I, like you, am determined to level up and be great at it! THe other day I spent 5 hours teaching myself CSS Sprites! For some, that’s as easy as 1 – 2 -3 , but for some reason the concept doesn’t drive home to me with all this coding jazz. We can do it!!!!
      Also, got your Twitter DM – let’s definitely skype!!! I’ve been loving your work on your blog since i’ve come across it and would absolutely love to connect!
      – Lauren 🙂

  • Congrats Lauren!

    I’ve been running since I was 27 and quite smoking. My 4 daughters were 9, 7, and twins 5. It gave me freedom to be alone. Today 2 of those girls work for an athletic co. and I get free sample running shoes!
    I was injured for 6 months last year cuz I was sitting on my foot all the time. How dumb is that. I’m raring to go now and signed up for the Rock n Roll 1/2 marathon in Seattle in June! woot woot!

    On my way to daughter no. 3’s in Atlanta for a long weekend. Keep runnin’.

    • Hey Tess!
      Wow I can’t believe you got an injury from that! That’s insane! Honestly, I think it’s a sign that you told me that today b/c i’ve been having some big knee problems lately from the way I sit. I’ll be at my computer for hours and I fold my knees up to my chest. And now, they really hurt! I just can’t seem to sit normallY! haha

      Anyway, wow how fabulous it is that you get some free running shoes! IT must be really fun to get new ones in and compare and such!

      And as for running goes – I know exactly what you mean…that feeling of freedom of just being alone in your mind…i love it. That’s why I run really. Yea, I want to by physically fit, but it does wonders for my mental fitness as well 🙂
      No more sitting on your foot and Rock that Rock n Roll marathon!!!
      – Laur 🙂

  • Tim

    Haha…I just ran my first competitive 5K on St. Patty’s Day.

    OH THE SUCK.

    I feel the pain of the finish line being so close, and yet sooooooofaaarrraaaawwaaayyyyy.

    I didn’t finish too bad, but my friend who I went with got third on a “bad day of running” I truly considered strangling him, or round kicking his knees.

    Running. The thing you hate to love.

    • Hey Tim!!

      hahhaha I SO know how you feel! THose last 50 strides were KILLER!!! But hell yea for completing it! Next time trip your friend haha ;-P

  • For a minute there I thought that was you in spandex, that is indeed “not” you in spandex.

  • ROTFLMBO @ “my one leg flings far out to the right at every stride,”!!!!

    (it hurts so good…)

    (wiping tears, gathering self together.)

    ahem.

    What I meant to say was:

    Congratulations on fixing your gait… I mean running your race. 😀 😀 😀

    Goodness – I suck at WAY more things than I’m good at.

    But if you read any of Marcus Buckingham’s work, you’ll be reminded of the importance of being SHARP, not WELL-ROUNDED. Societal norms insist we be well-rounded. But all the masters of industry suck at the stuff they don’t specialize in. It just frees up that much more time for them to master their passions.

    I don’t have aspirations of winning any 5Ks, half, or full marathons.
    But I would like to run them regularly.

    My wife and I are doing a 5k obstacle course at Disney next week! #excited

    And one my most proud accomplishments in life is completing the 12K obstacle course race in Chicago, two winters ago. The Urbanathlon was HAAAAARD. (The stadiums stairs almost made me give up the ghost!) It didn’t help that white-haired senior citizens kept running past me, too. #egocheck!

    Fun post… and good for you for keeping the momentum. I suppose I’ll blog about my Disney experience. It will be my wife’s first 5K!