On The Run

Looking Back at My First 5K Race!

I started running in January 2017. At 36, I wasn’t comfortable with how unfit I was. Although I was overweight, losing weight wasn’t my main goal – just getting fit was. To keep motivated, I set a goal of running 17 races in 2017. I’m shocked that I took on such a huge goal. But in December that year, I ran my 17th race. To keep accountable, I decided to blog about the journey. My first blog was about my first race, the Jack’s Gym 5K Trail, which was SIX years ago, TODAY! So, in celebration of that first race AND blog, I’m looking back at that day and what I wrote!

FIVE Thoughts from My First Race!

1/ I Could Only Run 3km. In January 2017, I started a walk-run programme and Pilates classes twice a week. Can you believe I ran on the treadmill more than on the road?! I haven’t run on a treadmill in years, but this post reminded me that at one point, the only way I could run with small kids (aged 3 and 5) was to use the treadmill! A couple of days before the race, I managed to run 3km without walking for the first time. I’m close to tears just thinking about this. And at that time, I had no clue that six years later, I’d be training for my TENTH Half Marathon!

2/ Trail Running Is Hard. I jogged for the first 2.5km but I struggled with the uneven surface, feeling exhausted way sooner than I had expected to. But even as I struggled, I was aware of the beauty around me. The overnight rain had given a refreshing feel, and the green trees and grass around us looked happy and healthy. We spotted several cattle and donkeys along the way, and on one section of the trail, we caught a gorgeous glimpse of the Gaborone Dam.

3/ I Got Lost! Alone on the course, I missed the 5km turn that would have taken me home. I panicked when I realised that something was wrong but then decided to backtrack as far as I could until I saw the turn-off for the finish. By then, I had lost so much time and when I finished the race, I had actually covered 6.11 km in 53:53 minutes. Quite an adventurous first race!

4/ I Huffed and Puffed My Way Round. I struggled to breathe. I was already panting during the first km, and I felt like I was huffing and puffing for 6km. This race made me realise just how unfit I was. It wasn’t a comfortable run, and it dawned on me just how much work I had to do.

5/ I Was So Hard On Myself. Looking back, I’m so proud that I started this journey with such an ambitious goal and that I ran over 6km on trail, completely out of my comfort zone. So, I’m really surprised at how extremely disappointed I was back then. I felt I had done so poorly, and I was disappointed at getting lost. But I had just been running for a month so why was I so hard on myself? I guess hindsight is 20/20. However, what comforts me is that even though I was disappointed, it fuelled me to keep going, I wrote then – “I keep telling myself that at least I did it; plus, I did an extra km and survived”. And, I also said, I would try the 12km race next time round!

I loved looking back at my first race and blog and I realise again that this hasn’t just been a journey about running. It has also been a journey about friendships, old and new. The girls pictured here have been with me since the beginning of this journey – three of them are from High School – Elisa, Polelo and Tapiwa (who is also my cousin!), and one of them, Malaney is someone I met because of running – in fact, I think this was the first time meeting her! Even though, at the time, it seems I didn’t feel as proud of what I had done as I should have been, today, I feel so proud of that girl – the journey she bravely embarked on and the determination she showed to keep going even after the disappointment she initially felt. If you are just starting on your journey, know this: it is hard, but it does get better, and running will change your life.

Do you remember your first race? If you’re a blogger, what was your first blog? How many years have you been running? How many years have you been blogging?

I’m joining two fabulous runners, Kim from Running on the Fly and Deborah from Confessions from a Mother Runner for their link up – the “Weekly Run Down”.

28 thoughts on “Looking Back at My First 5K Race!

  1. I stayed my blog the day I decided to run. My goal was to run a 5k. I had only gotten up to a mile but decided to see what a 5k was like.

    The rest is history. I still blog. I still race.

    The friends I started running with don’t run anymore. The bloggers that I followed back then except for Marcia don’t blog anymore.

    I have new friends and follow new blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s been fun following your journey over the past 6! years. You’ve come a long way and so has your confidence! I don’t remember my first 5k–I’ve been running so long, it’s hard to keep track! Plus back then, we didn’t have the online community to keep us accountable.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love all the progress you’ve made, and am so glad I have been able to witness most of it. Believe it or not, my first year of running was done mostly on the treadmill also, LOL (I didn’t know any better).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Isn’t it funny how hard we are on ourselves? In retrospect, you did an amazing thing! You picked a trail race for your first 5K, after training primarily on the treadmill and only being able to run 3K. It was actually very brave of you to show up to that race, and you completed it. There’s a lesson here- don’t wait until you think you’re 100% “ready” to tackle hard things. Just jump in and do it, and like you said- running will change your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have captured the lesson perfectly! YES, YES! Don’t wait until you’re 100% ready because you may never actually feel ready enough. We are too hard on ourselves. When I read the first blog I was so shocked that disappointment was ever a feeling I felt on that day!


  5. Wow, doing a trail race first is brave for sure! And it does feel harder. Getting lost must have been so scary!

    Everyone said that first 5k would change my life. Seriously, I didn’t think it had at the time. But obviously it actually did!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had no idea how many races were typically held in Gaborone, so I just signed up for anything that came my way, LOL, even if it was a trail. But to be honest 6 years on and I still don’t enjoy trails – I love them for walking but I still don’t enjoy running them!

      I’m so glad that first 5k changed your life too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. oh, this is wonderful! Thanks for taking back to learn more about your journey, I don’t think I was reading your blog back then, but I’m so glad I do now! You were SO brave to take on such a big challenge and look at you now! What an inspiration 🙂

    I started the Right Fits with my younger sister and it was going to be more about running fashion/apparel, but she lost interest and I kept it going and never changed the name. And its been A LONG time of documenting my life on the internet but I still love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we connected the following year – around the time you broke your leg and/or you were training for Antarctica! Those are the first blogs I remember reading from your journey!

      Thanks for sharing how you started your blog – I didn’t know that! I love that you came from a fashion angle to all things running!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I LOVE this post. I love your ambitious goal in 2017, and as a beginner runner it was so inspiring to read about your first steps of becoming a runner, and about your first race. Did I read correctly that you joined a race after running for only a month? That’s really impressive. And thank you, thank you, thank you, for the last sentence in your post. I’ll copy that and put in a note somewhere to read when I need some pep talk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Susanne – it was so fun to look back and to see how I started! And I’m glad the last line struck a chord with you – write it down with lots of fun colours and highlighters! 🙂

      Yes, so I knew the only way I’d stick to running would be having the pressure to do 17 races. So whether I felt ready or not, I kept signing up for races and lining up. This is why I also know what it’s like to finish last in a race – I’ve had my fair share of those, especially in that first year.


  8. I didn’t start out as a runner either. In fact, I remember hating running. It’s funny to me now. I also have gotten lost on a course before. I also have had another blog (actually more than one) before. I hate running on the treadmill now, except in the dead of winter, but only because I hate running in the cold more. Look at you though and sticking with all those positive changes. You should be very proud.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Teresa! We have so many similarities! I hated running too – in fact it took me a while to like it. I’d say for the first couple of years I knew it was good for me, I felt the benefits, but I didn’t like it, LOL. My treadmill died a few years ago and I’ve vowed not to replace it. But it served me well in those early months!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. And look at where you are now! I started out as a “mommy blogger”, but then shifted to running when my kiddo was about four or five. At that point, I was uncomfortable sharing details of his life that he might want to keep private, and that was that. I’ve been running for about 10 years, and blogging about running for slightly longer than that.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Congrats on your 6-year anniversary of your first race and blogging! To answer your questions… I don’t really remember my first “race” because I was in high school and it was at a track meet. My first road race was an 8K on Independence Day in 1980. I started running in 8th grade and I’m 65 now so it’s been a year or two that I’ve been running. 😉 I celebrated 10 years of blogging last week and my first post was a plea to stay tuned because setting up my blog was taking longer than I though. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This was a fun trip down memory lane! My first 5k was back in 1999, although by the time I summoned the courage to do it, I’d been running (on the treadmill!) for over a year. I made my sister run it with me. Ha! You’ve come a long way!


    1. Thank you, Marcia! So funny how many of us started on the treadmill – it’s not my favourite but it scores great points for convenience, it helps young mums get it done with kids, and it’s a great way to build confidence before we hit the road! I’m glad your sister agreed to run it, too!


  12. My first race was a half marathon when I was 38.
    I had been “running” for about two months at that time. But my buddy told me I needed to run a race before I ran The Boston Marathon! Boston was why I started running and was my second race.
    My first blog was pretty much an “about me” and why I was doing this.
    Just like running, a colleague encouraged me to start blogging about running. That was 10 years ago? Oh my!
    Running is such an awesome sport/hobby. Where would we be without it?
    Probably heavier and spending too much time alone.


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