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Posted on Sep 26, 2011 in Dear Diary, Working Out | 71 comments

Navy 5 Miler 2011

Yesterday, I ran 5 miles. And I only threw up in my mouth a tiny bit afterward! Aren’t you proud of me?!

I did it!
I did it! And the ludicrous amount of sweat on my body proves it!

I am so proud of myself for doing it: no excuses, no injuries, and tons of complaining. So proud, in fact, I don’t even care that I have approximately 6.3 chins in the above picture! I was so nervous about the Navy 5 Miler that I actually dreamt about the race the night before (second-worst dream ever. #1 is a story for another time, hahaha.) You may have even tuned into my pre-run freaking out on Twitter or Facebook, haha.

Doomsday Cometh

Due to my extreme lack of actual training, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish the distance within the allotted time (90 minutes, or a 15 min/mile average pace.) Which to those of you who have run or are training for 10 milers, half-marathons, or marathons, probably sounds ridiculous. But for those of us with a, er, rather tumultuous relationship with running (or exercise in general), it felt like a pretty realistic fear!

What am I doing here?

That sentiment didn’t change a whole lot when we got there, but I tried to rally. After all, in for a penny, in for a pound, right? (What an apt saying for this blog, haha.)


Unfortunately seeing all of crazy buff ex-military personnel (it was the Navy 5 miler, after all!) didn’t do too much to quell my fears. These runners be CRAZY: the male winner finished the race in 26:23. THAT IS RIDICULOUS.


It was a good thing I had these two kiddos there to help me maintain the modicum of sanity I have:

The Happy CoupleSmile!

My sister very generously offered to run the race with me, as she has for my previous races, but I let her run with her hubs. They obviously smoked me, but then circled back after they had finished to run with me to the end. Talk about motivation! I couldn’t exactly complain about having to run the last half mile when they were tacking on extra mileage themselves just for me!

Sisterly Motivation

I managed to find myself a couple of running buddies anyway. We bumped into my sister’s boss at the starting line, and she kept me company and at a really good pace (11:30 – 12:00) for the first mile or so. Unfortunately, as we looped back past the starting area (where the portapotties were) I realized that I had to, you know, “go”. And if I didn’t go now, it’d be another 4 miles before I could (no bueno.) So I had to bid her adieu and make a little pitstop. Lucky for me, it wasn’t long before I met Jill on the road, who actually asked me about the Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen! shirt I was wearing! We ran/speedwalked the entire rest of the race together, setting personal distance records for both of us! Whoooo!

Hi Jill!

Please ignore the deranged look on my face in the photo above. I’m just amazed I’m still standing, haha. I finished strong and sweaty, full-out sprinting the last tenth of a mile at a pace so fast, I was really sure I would trip over my feet and break my face. Luckily, the only thing that broke was my gag reflex. At least it got the attention of the MC – he called out my name as I crossed the finish line!

Jump Shot Fail
Though I clearly didn’t have quite the energy leftover necessary for a successful jump shot, haha.

After proving that I would not, in fact, pass out, I quickly hightailed it (well, as quickly as I was physically able at this point) to the food stands. NOURISH ME!

Nourish me!

One apple and peanut butter cookie later (not to mention an entire bottle of water – half for rinsing the salty sweat out of my eyes, hahaha), we were on our way home. A pre-packaged, processed cookie has never tasted so good! I also may or may not have pilfered a couple of extra apples, bananas, and muffins for later… shhh.

SistersPeace, Love, and Running.

After expelling all of my energy on the road (holy crap I was so tired!), the only true way to refuel was with… brunch! Off the whole family went to the 4 P’s for their brunch buffet. It was the first time I had ever been there for brunch, and it was pretty rockin’! Everything from smoked salmon (my loooove!) to shepherd’s pie. Nom nommity nom.


Don’t worry, my second plate had some fruit on it. πŸ˜‰

I gotta say, in spite of all my moaning and groaning about the race, running, and exercise in general, I feel really accomplished having done this. I completed 5 miles with an official time of 1:09:53 (in my mind I’m cutting off a few minutes for my bathroom detour though, hahaha) and an average pace of in the high 13s, which is actually faster than my first 5K that I jogged completely! Racing is a very addictive thing. Not that I’m really “racing” per se, but you know, the crowd, the excitement, the cheering – it’s fun! I was swearing up and down just yesterday that I’ll never sign up for another race again but… I’m definitely going to have to think about it. With a quote I picked up from my good friend Lara:

Why do I keep hitting myself with a hammer? Because it feels so good when it stops.

I’m looking at you, Hot Chocolate 5K.

What are you proud of for accomplishing lately? Let’s try to collectively lift our spirits on this drab Monday!


  1. Congrats!! Sounds like you had a great race and a great time doing it! Watch out though…like you said…they’re a little addicting! πŸ™‚

  2. Congratulations! You totally kicked butt — way to go! The look on your face says it all… πŸ™‚

  3. Gretchen – you were awesome yesterday…well done!

    • Thank you for making that first mile no problem!!

  4. I knew you could do it! Great job!

  5. You had a gorgeous running morning, you brim with inspiration, and you kick some serious road butt. What’s not to be whippin’ proud of? (And we ALL have potty stops. The question is how civilized you want to be when you address Mom Nature.)

  6. congratulations, darling! awww, and thanks for the shoutout! run the hotchocolate 5k! i’m doing the 15k, and jenny too (i think)!

    • Both Dan and I are!

  7. I am SO proud of you! And I have lots of stuff to stay:

    1: My 5K PR was a race where I did run/walk intervals. I have yet to be able to beat it even when I run the whole time.

    2: Cookies after a race are the BEST THING EVER. After my half, they had apples, bananas, cookies and chocolate milk. I ANNIHILATED the cookies and chocolate milk. And then felt like I was going to hurl. πŸ˜›

    3: The MC totally called out my name at the end of my race this weekend too as I picked off all these people at the finish line. It was awesome.

    4: Racing is SO addictive. During the race, I’m always thinking, “WHY am I doing this to myself!? I hate it!” and then afterward I’m ready to sign up for my next one.

    5: Smoked salmon is MY favorite.

    6: I like you.

    • I was kind of hoping they would have chocolate milk at the finish, to see if all this “refuel with chocolate milk” biz-nazz is real, haha! Oh well, I refueled with bacon and waffles instead. WIN. <3

  8. Your smile is contagious! Congrats on a great race. Xo

  9. Yay! Congrats! So proud of you! I need to get myself geared up for a 5K. That would be awesome. I mean, I would most likely be walking it cause I’m not bada** yet, but we all gotta start somewhere right?

    ps. I was totally going to ask about your shirt, but you ended up linking it! It’s like you read my mind before I could even think it! That is legit yo. πŸ˜‰

    • Hahaha, I gotta self-promote, right? πŸ˜› And you can TOTALLY do a 5K!

  10. Yay! Congratulations, Gretchen!

    It always feels good to run a race, whether you train enough or not. There’s something so exhilarating about running with lots of other people, and to have something to look forward to. πŸ™‚

  11. Congrats congrats congrats!!!! Awesome race, awesome brunch, awesome recap. Racing is addictive – my wallet hates it though!

    I think I’m doing Hot Chocolate too – meetup, yes?

    • Yesyesyes! We HAVE to meet up!

  12. So excited for you!

    As someone with similar weight loss goals, a similar pace, and similar love-hate relationship with running, I’m incredibly moved by your story! I’m always on the brink of quitting or resuming running and after reading this I’m thinking about being ON again for a little bit.

    I’m realizing as I get older that I’m a perfectionist and I resist the experiences I know will showcase my humanity. With running, I don’t want to lace up unless I know I can hit a 10min mile or easily keep up with my friends. I often discount running for running’s sake and feel like I should be training for something BIG. I need to accept that I’m a runner at any pace and that every run is a victory in itself.

    I know you were nervous, so congratulations for running this race anyway. You didn’t have to win it for it to be a major victory for all of us!


    • Thank you so, so much. I agree with you, especially because always being immersed in the healthy living blogging community can really skew your perspective on what is admirable in terms of fitness and running, when the real answer is that ANY OF IT is worth celebrating!

  13. Awesome!! You. Are. Incredible.

    I can’t even imagine running 1 mile right now… let alone 5 miles. The C25K program has been on my mind for quite a while now, and I just need to take the plunge. I occasionally run for a minute on the dreadmill while walking, but that’s it.

    You are such an inspiration.


    • You SO can do it. Everything I hear about C25K says that it really works! And if you’re already doing a minute of running with walking, that’s pretty much what the program is. πŸ™‚

  14. Congrats!

  15. Go Gretchen Go! You= thebomb.com. I did a 5k on Sunday and you’re right, totally addicting! That chocolate race you mentioned sounds pretty tempting…haha.

    • I just read your recap! Sounds muddy but SO fun!

  16. Gretchen you did great!! Running is RUNNING no matter what your pace is!! There is no better feeling in the world than crossing the finish line πŸ™‚

  17. Congratulations!! What an awesome thing – I’ve been tempted by the 5 milers but haven’t pushed myself to do one yet. I AM doing the Hot Chocolate 5K though – maybe I’ll see you there? I feel like everyone should do that race. Chocolate…c’mon!

    • Haha, it’s true, there’s not much more motivating than chocolate waiting for you at the finish line!

  18. Great job Gretchen! You rock! πŸ™‚

  19. Well done, G! Five miles is a long way! I ran five yesterday with my sister and nephew here in Chicago, part of our training for the Hot Chocolate 15K. The HoCho 5K last year was my first race ever, and it was so much fun I’m still running.

    Well, not non-stop.

    Anyway, the company that organizes Hot Chocolate, RAM Racing, is a Chicago group and they are AWESOME. (No, I don’t work for them.) You will not regret participating in one of their races. You will definitely not regret the chocolate. Melty goodness … come to mama.

    • Man, you certainly put a very convincing spin on it… and I have found that if I don’t have a race coming up then my already lacking fitness motivation plummets even further, haha. And I’ll admit that the idea of running 3.1 definitely seems much more pleasant having conquered 5!

      • It definitely helps to have a race you’re training for, no matter the length. Let me throw out a challenge to you that I’m doing with my circle of friends; maybe it’ll catch on with your blog? I’m calling it “12 in ’12” … 12 events/races/whatever in 2012, or an average of one each month. That way, we’re always training! So far on my schedule is a snowshoe 5K in January (it’s Chicago; we have to be inventive in the winter); the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February; and a St. Patrick’s Day 5K in March. A bunch of us did the challenge in 2011 (although “12 in ’11” doesn’t have the same groovy ring to it) and it has been fabulous. Here we are, coming into October and feeling accomplished. It’s a great way to stay motivated!

  20. I’m so proud of you for doing the race and not quitting! Watching you sprint across the finish line was amazing. YAY! The after-run eats were pretty awesome too πŸ™‚

    • The funnest (yep, not a real word and I don’t care) part is the sprint to the finish! Even if you feel like your chest is going to implode at the end, hahaha.

  21. Congratulations, Gretchen!! Awesome work, and I love the way you describe everything happening.

  22. Gretchen! I am so proud of you! I wish I had the motivation and drive that you do! Congratulations on those 5 miles! =]

    • Haaaaaahahaha, well I’m not sure that’s true, since my motivation is pretty lacking most of the time, but thank you!

  23. Yay! There I am – had so much fun! Love the blog – I am going to become an avid follower! Tell your sister I say thank you for pushing me to sprint the finish!

    • Yayyyy! Didn’t rushing across that last 10th of a mile feel great? I’m so glad we met on the course!

    • Hehe. Would you loop back around to find me after you finish and I’m only halfway done too? πŸ˜›

  24. Ohhhh I’m liking this Hot Chocolate 5K – I am definitely looking in to that! Congratulations on completing the 5 miles Gretchen – completing races is such an emotional pick-me-up. Love them!

    I am particularly proud of the informal “Septathalon” I participated in last weekend – biked 11 miles and ran 4. It was for my boyfriend’s brother’s 30th birthday – pretty neat way to celebrate a bday I thought – there were 7 total events (2 of which included eating and boozing… no problem achieving that)

  25. You looked awesome! The sweatier, the better! I hear ya on the whole addictive thing. I’ve been running about 2 years now,worked my up through 5ks, and 10ks, then did my first 1/2 marathon last March. Towards the end of my 1/2 marathon training last year, I was so sick of running, and I swore I was going to run it, and be done… of course, the minute I crossed that finish line…it was all about my next 1/2 marathon. : ) I’m training now for a 1/2 on Thanksgiving Day and I’m almost to the poopy point where I just want to be done… but I keep reminding myself how great it feels to cross that finish line!

    PS not so sure about chocolate milk at the finish line… i feel like there could be some opportunity for major stomach malfunction : 0

    • That’s what I’d think too, but people keep swearing by this whole refuel with chocolate milk thing! Still don’t know if a half is ever going to really happen for me, but like I keep saying… crossing the finish line keeps making me sign up for another and another!

  26. so proud of you!!!!!!!!!!
    I knew you would rock it! You look amazing in those pics, you can definitely tell how happy you were πŸ™‚
    Love the shirt. And the quote is good πŸ˜‰

  27. Yay Gretchen! I knew you’d do great!
    I’m doing the Hot Chocolate 5K too. I’m so excited for the finish line goodies πŸ™‚

    • Sounds like YOU’RE the one who did great this weekend! Your 5K time is soooo envied by me. Go you!

    • BAHAHAHAHA. Maybe the Cherry Blossom. If I, or someone else I know, gets in via the lottery. MAYBE. But only because I’m Whasian, so I feel like I have to like cherry blossoms.

      Good thing that won’t be until April, haha.

  28. I loved looking at your pictures because you look so happy in each and every one of them. You can tell that you are really proud of your run! Doesn’t running make you feel so accomplished??

    Congrats on the race!!

    oh, and I like the sounds of that Hot Chocolate 5K :d

    • Mental process:

      Before the start: Ahhhh, there are so many people this is so exciting omgogmomgomgomg oh wait did it start?

      10 seconds after starting: Why the eff do I keep doing this to myself, arrrrrgh I have to keep going for the next 3, 5, whatever miles otherwise all these other people will judge me.

      2 miles into the race: I hate myself.

      4 miles into the race: I hate everyone.

      At the finish line: WHEEEEEE!! *vom* LET’S GO AGAINNN!!

  29. Congratulations on your 5 miler (or in my world, approximately 8km)! That’s definitely more than I’ve ever run.

    Accomplishments lately, a small one was being able to drag my ass for a run this morning before work; my first one in almost 2 months (THE SHAME!). It felt great!

    In terms of a bigger accomplishment, I’m hoping to have one finished by mid-October. You’ll know it when you see it.

    • Whoo-hoo! We’ll have to go on an Ottawanian run when I’m up (1 month from tomorrow!!)

  30. ConΒ΄grats on the 5 miler! I am so proud of you! Looks like you had a great time. πŸ™‚

  31. Major congratulations! It was a tough course; hilly and crowded, but the energy was great. I wasn’t a big fan of all the humidity, but what can you do? I’m glad you finished strong and had a great time. The Hot Chocolate race is going to be a blast; I’m signed up for the 15K but some of my neighbors are doing the 5K. Racing IS addictive!

    • It sounds like I need to do this Hot Choco one just because I’ll get to run into so many awesome people! My sister is doing the 15K… I considered it for about a hot second but… yeah. Haahahha πŸ™‚

  32. Congratulations Gretchen!!! That’s a really huge accomplishment!!! πŸ™‚

  33. Congratulations! It looks like a lot of fun. πŸ™‚

  34. Racing for you makes you feel so good! Congrats! I saw Theodora commented with a link to the Jingle Jog – I should be running that too!

  35. Congratulations, Gretchen! What a MEGA ACCOMPLISHMENT! I’m so proud of you!

    Tell me, what is that building in the background? SAIC in Reston, the Pentagon? What? It’s been a few years since we’ve been back to Virginia and even though Ron and I worked for the Navy in Crystal City and the Under Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon, some of the buildings are starting to look all alike.

    Keep up the good work, Girl!


    • Oh gosh, thanks so much. It’s the Pentagon! This race course had us running all around the Pentagon and past the Arlington National Cemetery. Good eye though!

  36. Whooo hoo congrats on an awesome five miler!!!!! You are awesome!!!

  37. Congratulations! I just ran my very first 5k race two weeks ago. I was last in my age group (out of 11), but I did it!!

    • That’s awesome! It’s a great feeling to finish, isn’t it?!

  38. WOOOO! You did it!! How cool that Jen and hubbie (Dan?) doubled back to run with you. That’s some real sister love.


  39. Awesome! Just found your blog and I ran the same race! Neat to find a local blogging too. I’m doing the hot chocolate 5k to! Good luck!

    • Sweet! Maybe I’ll see you there! πŸ™‚

      • Congrats on the race! I’m in the same boat as Allison in that I just found your blog and also live in DC. AND I’m planning on doing the hot chocolate run! Nothing gets me to run in the winter like the promise of chocolate… πŸ™‚


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