Knoxville Hot To Trot 5K 2014

Back in August I announced that I was going to run my first 5k before my 30th birthday. On the back of being told by my doctor that I was in the very early stages of diabetes I suppose it was an ambitious goal but attainable nonetheless. I spent 9 weeks training using the popular Couch-To-5K app for the iPhone and after completion maintained my running schedule for the following weeks.

My bro Alli and I settled on the Knoxville Hot To Trot 5K for our race of choice and set our sights on the Thanksgiving day race date. And if anyone out there is keeping up with their calendars you’ll know that’s today.

As previously stated, I’ve been keeping my exercise and diet in check, losing 30 pounds, bringing my glucose level down to a normal level, leveling off my blood pressure, normalizing my cholesterol levels and lowering my liver enzyme count all at the same time, mostly “curing” everything that was physically wrong with me. I’m in shape to run a 5k, no problem, but when we went to Fleet Feet in Farragut to pick up our bibs and sweet race shirts, the nervousness I was already feeling was beginning to get much, much worse.

I’ve spent most of the last week anxious about the event and after I was holding my bib and shirt I started having serious doubts about everything – the decision to run a race to begin with, the decision to better my health, my ability to even run a quarter of a mile, let alone 3.1 of them. Either way, the day was coming whether or not I wanted it to so I laid out my running tights, shorts, socks, shoes, one of my long-sleeved technical shirts and my blue Superdrag shirt and was passed out asleep just after 10pm.

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We started the big day early this morning as the race started at 7:30am. Initially impressed that it was a comfortable 60 degrees out I was quickly disappointed when I realized my computer’s weather app was still set to Cupertino, CA. Once I corrected it I was sad to see it was a cool 30something instead. Erin, my biggest fan, photographer and cheering section would be acting as spectator for the event so we bundled her up expecting a cool but not freezing morning and when we left the house it felt like all was under control. When we got to Turkey Creek, though, the wind was a jerk. It was freezing out. We walked around a little, mostly just moving to stay warm until they announced for the runners to get in their spots. “Let’s go back with all the slow people” I told Alli and so that’s what we did.

A few minutes later – *BANG* – we were off. I’d say it was about half and half, people running, people walking. I started off with a brisk jog and began passing people, started being passed by people. It was comfortable. I wish there were some great epiphanies I had while on the road, or sights that I saw that made the running experience earth-shattering in some way but there wasn’t. A few people in costumes, some people pushing strollers, and just the usual Turkey Creek scenery: chain restaurants and department stores as far as the eye could see. When I passed the 1 mile mark I was thrilled to feel that I wasn’t even close to tired yet. 1/3 down, 2.1 miles to go.

My first “I’m getting tired” moment happened just before hitting the 2 mile mark. I remembered my breathing that I’d been practicing and slowed my pace a bit. Before I knew it I could see the finish. As I approached the final u-turn I saw my lovely Erin taking photos / video of us running by – seeing her was a great motivator to stay strong through the last quarter mile or so. As I came around the last corner and was directed toward the finish line for the 5k runners I realized that I had done it – I did what I had set out to do: I killed off my diabetes, I lost weight and I’m in well enough shape to run a 5k before my 30th birthday. And I ran it all. I had done it.

I crossed the line with an official finish time of 00:35:08 and met up with my lovely wife. Let me just take a minute to say that as silly as it sounds, it meant so much to have Erin there at the finish line when I completed my first-ever 5k. When I say I’m the luckiest man on the planet, I truly mean it.

We celebrated my completion by having pancakes, eggs, turkey sausage, milk and coffee at Cracker Barrel and I don’t think I’ve ever had tastier, more well deserved pancakes in all of my life. Thanksgiving can now go on – two horror movies are on deck, the turkey thighs are in the slow cooker and my eggnog pumpkin pie is in the oven. It’s been a lovely day and it’s going to keep getting more lovely.

Next step, 10k? Maybe, but for now I’m looking to maybe go for another 5k – maybe around New Years time. Either way the goal is to not ruin what I’ve been able to accomplish. Jam on.

JTF and @alvtine on that #5k biz – #knoxville #hottotrot #farragut

A post shared by justintfirefly (@justintfirefly) on

Upcoming posts: Take Your Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner and Stuff It 2014, an overdue Birchbox review, a less overdue Mantry review, a new Birchbox unboxing, a new Mantry unboxing and a new tattoo. Dig it!

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