Nine weeks ago, I went to brunch with friends and they challenged me to run the Bronx Zoo Run For the Wild 5K because I was considering taking up running but wavering because of the predicted poor weather. After 9 weeks of running and a month of “detoxing,” I finally ran the race. And I am aware there are a few days left of April, but I thought it best to recap it with the race results.
I arrived and checked in to the Bronx Zoo with fifteen minutes to spare, but couldn’t find any of my friends I was running the race with. I moved about a third to a quarter away from the front of the mass of people at the starting line. With moments to spare, I bumped into my friends Andrew and Traci, but both were walking the 3.1 miles, so we parted ways until after the race. At 8:30am, we were off and running. A sea of people surging forwards, anxious to start moving, but the narrow beginning of the race forced us all to walk slowly forward until we could attempt to pick up the pace.
Once we were into the race, the narrow roadway hindered those of us who wanted to run, as much slower people clogged the path. Jumping, running and dodging through the crowds added to the adventure, but interfered with the actual running and slowed down everyone’s pace. The road finally opened up after a bit of running and it became easier to move with the delaying populace firmly behind us. Steadily moving through the pathways around the zoo, up and down the hills, winding around the service roads and dodging a water fountain or two that were put on the path for the runners, the 3.1 miles were an exhilarating adventure amongst the animals.
Adrenaline surged as I came around the corner after the three mile mark and I ran for the final line with everything I had. And with that, I completed the first race of my life. iPhone pumping music in my ears, people cheering all around for the successful runners, and the amazing feeling of achieving my first of the two goals. As for the second goal, I was wearing my Nike+ and according to it, I ran 3.37 miles 25 minutes and 54 seconds and ran the 3.1 miles in 23 minutes and 56 seconds. I don’t know if the race didn’t count the first piece at the start or the Nike+ was off by a little bit, but I am content to split the difference and say I ran the race in about 25 minutes. 25 minutes. I couldn’t do a ten minutes mile when I started Couch to 5K, and I did three of them in about 8 minutes each. I definitely cleared the second goal of doing the race in under 30 minutes. I also was the first of my friends to clear the finish line, so to go from nothing to being the first of us across the finish line was exhilarating.
As for my other endeavor, the April Detox, it was tough at the beginning. My body took a week or so to adjust to my new diet. Reduced calories, simpler foods, and initially no snacks were what my dietary intake was comprised of. Conveniently, as I was returning from a run the first Monday of my Detox, I saw a Fresh Direct delivery guy in my building lobby who informed me that they began delivery in my area that very morning. That afternoon, I placed my first order with them and it made it easy to eat heathy and watch calories. I ordered predominantly chicken and fish from Fresh Direct, and when I was ready to add a snack to my diet, I was able to add in organic baby carrots, and other healthy snacks as the month continued.
Eating healthy became easy when I was home, but going out became an issue on occasion, usually an attempt to find a healthy salad (and so many I saw on menus definitely were not), grilled or roasted chicken, or a plain fish dish. Going out to drink to celebrate a friend’s birthday or stop into a bar with friends were the other issue, since I was only drinking water. As the month has progressed, I’ve become happy with the decision to do this, even if it has been inconvenient at times. I may have “slipped” once or twice off the diet due to situation, like going to Five Guys Burgers with friends, but even then I had a cheeseburger with no condiments nor fries and that fell just a little outside my usual lunch caloric intake. Even with several days left, I’ve lost about 10 pounds according to the scale as of Thursday and am two belt sizes down from where I was when I started.
So now that the race is over and the Detox is almost over, what happens next? I plan to keep running, but don’t know how the hot summer weather will affect my runs. I may just have to shift them to early mornings and evenings when it’s cooler out. At the post race barbecue, we decided our next race should be the Yankee Stadium 5k, and as a Yankee fan, I can’t imagine any place I’d rather run. I may upgrade my Couch to 5K to Couch to 10K, since I’d like to get the additional benefits of the longer runs, but don’t know if I’ll ever actually run a 10K. I also like the benefits of the April Detox so far, and who wouldn’t want to look their best for summer, but may give myself an occasional meal outside the diet I set for myself, since I know I want to go to Shake Shack some time in the near future.