I want to confess that I can be one of those people that refers to "just" 5k! But I've realised I'm wrong!
I remember my first 5k - it was a Race for Life maybe 12 years ago. I turned up feeling slightly apprehensive but not too concerned as it was "just" 5k. I had done precisely zero running (well any type of exercise really!) as I didn't see it as a big deal as "it's not that far".
Well I was wrong! Massively wrong!
Even all these years later I can still remember the feeling of horror and despair when I got to the 1k marker - I honestly thought I was at least half way round! I had no idea how I was going to do another 4, and I don't really know how I did (but I do know it was very slow)! Added to that, my legs had chaffed and I could hardly walk up the stairs the next day! However, I didn't learn my lesson and did exactly the same thing the following year!
Although I now do more running, I am not a marathon runner, ultra runner or even a half marathon runner but I can generally quite comfortably plod along for a few miles. But absolutely nobody starts off that way (unless you just have natural ability to keep going like a Duracell bunny!) Everybody has to start somewhere and build up from there.
I think the issue comes in as for most running events, 5k is the shortest route and this translates as the shortest distance you should be able to run. I know I previously was of the opinion that if I couldn’t run 5k then it wasn’t worth trying. Which I think is why despite my 2 Race for Life experiences, I never took up running back then. I felt that as I couldn't "even" do this distance, I wasn't good enough and so there was no point in trying to become a "runner". And so I didn't run.
But I’ve been selling myself short! If anyone came up to me and said they’d just ran their first 5k I would be absolutely over the moon for them! So why is it that if I go for a 5k run I refer to it as "just 5k"?! Why do we allow ourselves to talk to ourselves in a way that we wouldn't dream of saying to others?!
What I think I'd forgotten until now is that when I got into running this time round, my first ParkRun was just as hard as the first Race for Life, but I didn't allow myself to give up. I remember running around the block, which was about a mile, and thinking I was going to throw up! But I kept going out and kept trying to the point where now 5k is not a big deal to me. But that took hard work and effort to get here - so why aren't I celebrating my successes?! Why is it "just" 5k?!
So I'm going to immediately stop doing this because 1) I'm selling myself short; and 2) I am continuing the trend that 5k is not an achievement worth celebrating - no putting your trainers on and putting one foot in front of the other regardless of the distance is always worthy of celebration!
So next time I do 5k I am going to congratulate myself and give myself a pat on the back! Because the me a few years ago would have been so bloody proud of herself and I should be too!